Orkan's New Reloading Bench



  • Seems like every few years I find a reason to build a new reloading bench. Each time I build one, it gets better. Each time I wonder what my reloading bench will look like after 5 more revisions, trying to plan ahead... but seemingly no matter how forward thinking I am, I come up with a better way to do things immediately after finishing. I shoot very frequently, so whenever this is done it disrupts my ability to load for a while... which usually leads to me being rushed and compromises being made. This time was no different. I'm pretty happy with how most of it turned out, and I made sure to document the process as well as time would allow this time around.

    This entire project was completed with a circular saw, drill, and belt sander. You don't have to be a professional woodworker to get a nice reloading area setup!

    Rigidity is extremely important when reloading. I've always made it a point to anchor in heavily. First thing we did here was run some heavy deck screws through two 2x4's into each stud along the wall.

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    Next up is the bench top itself. Here we used 4 layers of 3/4" plywood which was glued together with Gorilla wood glue. I've been using insert systems in my reloading benches for the last ten years or so, and really appreciate the space savings and convenience it allows. The inserts themselves are basically disposable, so you can drill through them and mount whatever equipment you want without leaving your reloading bench looking like a 6yr old got turned loose on it with a drill. You can always make new inserts!

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    As you can see, the tabs on the inserts consist of 2 layers of 3/4" plywood, with one layer on top and bottom. This would handle resizing small cartridges, but definitely would degrade over time once some larger brass was being worked with. To ensure the inserts stay solid when in the bench, I use 3 retention bolts that clamp the insert in place. More on that hardware later. The holes on top are counter-sunk to allow for some washers to sit flush.

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    I decided to go with a nice dark finish this time around. It's amazing how some good stain can take an otherwise ugly piece of wood and really bring it to life!

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    A die rack is always a great space saver, and having your dies all organized saves a lot of time if you load for multiple cartridges frequently.

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    A good clear coat helps keep the surface protected and make the space a lot less fragile. It's also nice to have something to bury any little splinters and keep them from ending up in your hands/arms. We laid down a nice thick coat on the loading bench as well as the other benches. Good stuff. It goes on pretty thick, but shrinks back a lot when it sets up. In hindsight, I think I'll use a thick bar glaze on the next bench. This stuff went on a milky-white, and then was a nice clear satin after it dried. We didn't take the time to sand the benches as good as they could be. I think this stuff would be plenty thick if a guy sanded a nice flat surface before applying it.

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    While that stuff was drying, I figured we better make a rifle rack. The main geometry was created with a hole saw, and then I attacked it for a couple hours with a belt sander. Worked out good. Of course we had to stick under-counter LED lighting everywhere. Definitely a nice touch and beats digging around in the dark for things.

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    I am a huge advocate of power conditioning and uninterruptable power supplies for fine electronics, so we made sure the Furman got mounted nearby and plugged into the UPS. All sensitive electronics on the bench run through that. This ensures a steady supply of clean power!

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    **Starting to come together! **

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    Next up was to go after the hardware for the inserts. I jumped on mcmaster and ordered some 303 stainless thumb nuts and locating studs. I measured out the correct protrusion I wanted, and used some red permatex to secure the studs into the thumb nuts. For the bottom, I wanted a way to ensure non-rotation but easy placement, so I designed some grommets which would allow me to screw a thumb nut securely to the bottom of the bench. Then I pressed the thumb nuts into the grommets with a bench vise.

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    When installed, the hardware provides an ultra-strong clamping force and rigidity which basically makes the inserts one with the bench. I don't know what you'd have to do to tear those inserts out of there, but you'd need to be applying more force than any human could apply with a 6ft bar. As it stands, I could easily resize 30mm apache rounds on there if I could find a press big enough!

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    The inserts hang off the side of the rifle rack with a couple backup presses mounted. The RCBS Ammomaster II for the cheytac and larger, and you never know when you're going to need a rock chucker for... something. ;)

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    A gigabyte brick was a great choice for some space saving computing power. This drives a couple of 24" asus monitors, giving me access to quickload, gunhive, and various other things I like to have access to in my reloading room. I screwed a couple of small speakers up above the monitors to keep them out of the way as well. Wall mounts are a huge space saver when you are working with computer hardware.

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    I definitely have a lot more to do on this thing, but it's at least ready to start cranking out rounds again. I'll be sure to update this thread as I get more little projects finished up. It's been fun so far! Maybe this will spur some ideas for you guys, and as always, I'm here if you have any questions!



  • Ironically I was working on a new bench for my reloading room today. I ordered a bench source today and don't have bench space for it...so something had to be done.

    I am very limited on room, so this bench will nest under the existing bench I have and will be pulled out when used. When not in use the benchsource can sit on the shelf under the bench.

    It will also have my wet tumbler built into the bottom shelf of the bench.

    It is not nearly as refined as Orkan's, but will get the job done.



  • That certainly is an awesome reloading bench and workspace.

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    You guys are filling my mind with ideas for future projects.



  • @dddoo7 said:

    Ironically I was working on a new bench for my reloading room today. I ordered a bench source today and don't have bench space for it...so something had to be done.

    I am very limited on room, so this bench will nest under the existing bench I have and will be pulled out when used. When not in use the benchsource can sit on the shelf under the bench.

    It will also have my wet tumbler built into the bottom shelf of the bench.

    It is not nearly as refined as Orkan's, but will get the job done.

    The annealer under the bench on a pull-out is a good idea. I was kicking around doing something similar. However I would caution you against the tumbler under there. They make a lot of vibrations when running, and while you won't be actively loading when annealing... you just might when you are tumbling! That's why you see the separation in my two benches there. I didn't want those nasty vibrations to carry over to the bench where my scales were sitting.



  • I'll try to post pics tomorrow. The new bench is not attached to existing bench where the chargemaster sits. My lab scale is on a bookshelf to isolate it even more. I guess it is hard to explain, but the tumbler is isolated from the bench where the scale sits.

    New bench is only for annealing, cleaning, and tumbling. Not for loading.



  • Looks great Greg. Thanks for using my product to finish your bench lol. If you want some table top resin or some other epoxy finish let me know and I'll take care of you.



  • @norcal_in_az said:

    Looks great Greg. Thanks for using my product to finish your bench lol. If you want some table top resin or some other epoxy finish let me know and I'll take care of you.

    I'll keep that in mind! Thanks much!



  • Very nice! My workbench is my favorite thing in our home. I love the die rack and the power conditioner.



  • Here is what I have been working on. Not nearly as refined as Orkan's...but just another idea to utilize space more efficiently. Please ignore the mess as I took the pictures before cleaning everything up...and before painting the new bench.

    This is with the new bench slid under the old one

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    This is with the new bench slid out

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    The new bench has the tumbler permanently mounted to it and can work with the bench in or out...and in either position there is enough clearance that the benches don't have to touch. The annealer will sit next to the tumbler when not in use and on the bench when it is being used. I didn't want to get rid of my bookshelf because the top half is full of books and the bottom half is ammo cans of components...so this option lets me get at the book shelf when I need it and have an extra bench when I don't.

    I debated putting wheels on the bottom of the bench...but decided I wanted it more stable than wheels would allow. Instead it has HDPE (hard plastic) feet on it so it will slide easily.



  • Excellent work Greg.



  • Tackled some more problems yesterday.

    Problem:

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    Solution:

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    Same problem with shell holders.

    Solution:

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    More to follow. :)



  • Those are awesome, did you design and print them?



  • @mamalukino said:

    Those are awesome, did you design and print them?

    Yes. :)



  • If anyone wants one of these little widgets I'm creating... I'm sure we can work out a reasonable price. I don't think there will be any real demand, but I can pop them out a few at a time. Make an offer!



  • It would be something nice to have, but maybe some other day.



  • Thanks Greg, but I only reload for 3 calibers and 2 use the same shell holder. I can see the utility of both of those watchamacallitz, but don't really have the need.



  • I couldn't let my RCBS shell holders be without a nice place to hang...

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  • That machine is so cool, dang, you can dream up all kinds of stuff to make.



  • Some nice little pull out shelves for all my neck turning/expander mandrels:

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    Made a few more for the hornady modified OAL cases too:

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  • Got a couple things mounted.

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  • Got the annealing setup all squared away today. We finally found the right hardware to go from a couple hoses into a single one pound bottle. I like this a LOT more than having a 20lb'er setup in the house. I'd really like to find someone that could do a custom torch setup for me. The tips themselves just screw on, and the pipe behind the tips could be any length, I would imagine. The angle that the tips are in relation to each other really wouldn't change, just the height of them. I'll have to see if I can find someone handy with such things and see what could be done. Having those rigid hoses splayed out each side is a real pain in the neck. Even some 90 degree elbows that I could hook up in between the hoses and the torch valves would go a long way to getting things more space efficient.

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  • Putting the tumbler up on some foam like this almost completely isolates the nasty vibrations that come from having 15lbs of rotating mass on the bench!

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    Put 100pcs of 17rem through the forster FL sizer tonight and dropped them in that tumbler. :) Feels good to finally have production happening again.

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  • You really do some neat work with the 3d printer.
    What software do you design in?
    I like the holder you made for the different case size holders for the RCBS.



  • @hypo said:

    You really do some neat work with the 3d printer.
    What software do you design in?
    I like the holder you made for the different case size holders for the RCBS.

    Thanks. :) I run autodesk.



  • ...aaaand out of the tumbler they come. A pass through the giraud and the CPS and they'll be ready to go.

    They need to dry first though. :( -

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  • You need one of those hand dryers like they have in public restrooms; be dry in a flash.



  • @mamalukino said:

    You need one of those hand dryers like they have in public restrooms; be dry in a flash.

    I wouldn't trust it. I've done a few of the "quick dry" methods before, and it just doesn't work. You'd be amazed at how resilient water is when it gets into a corner. I aim a fan at them, and within about 12hrs they are dry to the bone.



  • @orkan said:

    @mamalukino said:

    You need one of those hand dryers like they have in public restrooms; be dry in a flash.

    I wouldn't trust it. I've done a few of the "quick dry" methods before, and it just doesn't work. You'd be amazed at how resilient water is when it gets into a corner. I aim a fan at them, and within about 12hrs they are dry to the bone.

    I load them upside down in the plastic trays for handgun bullets and stick the trays in front of a fan overnight. I rest the trays so the end facing the fan is angled upward and catches the fan breeze. You are so correct in the water being resilient, especially in the primer pocket and flash hole. I blow the water out of the flash holes before setting the trays.



  • Well the brass was still wet, and now my trimmer is wet. :grin:

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  • Dehydrator works well for drying brass off. One at Walmart will run you 20 bucks. Put it on for a hour and they will be done.



  • @djstorm100 said:

    Dehydrator works well for drying brass off. One at Walmart will run you 20 bucks. Put it on for a hour and they will be done.

    Do you get any nasty spots from where the brass is touching the trays or each other... or anything like that?



  • @orkan While I haven't personally done it, I've seen lots of reports of guys that have no problem with it.



  • @orkan I use a dehydrator and do not notice anything. And I have pretty shitty water.



  • I have this one for dehydrating food...bet it would be pretty slick for drying brass

    www.amazon.com/Excalibur-3900B-Deluxe-Dehydrator-Black/dp/B004Z915M4/

    No dear you can't steal mine, get your own ;)



  • @orkan

    no sir, no water spots. I still roll them in a towl like shining a bowling ball. Slowly though to not damage the necks (I tumble for 5-10 minutes to wash lube off)
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  • @orkan I have to ask, any chance of getting a copy of the cad files? I have access to a 3D printer, would love to be able to print them out. It would be for personal use not to resell. Thanks!
    By the way, you have some great ideas on your bench. I am just redoing mine, will use a couple of your ideas on it. Alan



  • @orkan please provide info on the Hornaday case measure draw and the other draw for the Sinclair tubes. How much would you want for 1 each? Thank you. Alan



  • Just a quick update. It seems that with longer term usage, a 1lb bottle is not enough to run two torches effectively. Some liquid propane found its way into the lines and clogged up my torches. I certainly wouldn't recommend that setup to anyone after encountering that here the other day. The torches had to be moved closer as a result of lack of flame with the 1lb'er in the beginning, but it still worked quite well.

    I went back to a 20lb bottle, set the torches back further, and have had no more issues. If you're going to run 1lb bottles, you'll want to run one per torch, and you'll want to disconnect the bottle each time and let the propane burn out of the lines if using hoses.



  • @orkan said:

    Just a quick update. It seems that with longer term usage, a 1lb bottle is not enough to run two torches effectively. Some liquid propane found its way into the lines and clogged up my torches. I certainly wouldn't recommend that setup to anyone after encountering that here the other day. The torches had to be moved closer as a result of lack of flame with the 1lb'er in the beginning, but it still worked quite well.

    I went back to a 20lb bottle, set the torches back further, and have had no more issues. If you're going to run 1lb bottles, you'll want to run one per torch, and you'll want to disconnect the bottle each time and let the propane burn out of the lines if using hoses.

    I am running a 20lb bottle and have close to 10,000 pieces through on this tank. I don't know how long it will last, but I am guessing at least 30,000.



  • Have you looked at "inline fabrication"'s system? It would give you the interchange features and can be mounted flush. I have the elevated mount for my co-ax and p-7 and can add any other I need.



  • Finally got my bullet comparitor/headspace gauge rack mounted. Nice pull out drawer up and out of the way. I still need to rig up a handle for the front.

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  • You got a head for each of your case gauges? Nice.



  • Yup, one for each caliber I use most frequently, then another one I use for headspace inserts, .33cal, and .37cal. :)


 

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