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Building materials for loading bench surface?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Guest, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    rgreene501
    Member
    Posts: 3
    (4/3/02 9:55:24 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All Building materials for loading bench surface?
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    I'm building a new loading bench and am looking for the ideal surface.

    Laminated maple was my first choice because of durability and aesthetics. Polypropylene and nylon were also considered because of chemical resistance, but I haven't heard of anyone using these materials for reloading and the manufacturers refuse to comment on suitability if they know it will be used for manipulating flammable materials.

    Ideas, opinions....

    Moskovskyya
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 134
    (4/3/02 10:09:03 pm)
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    I used 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood glued together with construction adhesive, and 1 1/4" drywall screws on 8 x 8" centers from the bottom so that they didn't come all the way through. I finished with a few cats of shellac. Nothing will hurt it except maybe alcohol. Has worked fine for a long time.



    jeeper1
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 229
    (4/3/02 10:26:25 pm)
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    3/4 inch plywood, no finish.
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.

    Donny Henry
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 85
    (4/4/02 5:52:32 am)
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    I know it sounds too easy, but I just used an old, heavy duty, desk that I have had forever...I see nice desks pretty cheap at garage sales, and it's hard to beat all them drawers.

    Quote:
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    I finished with a few cats of shellac
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    How did you melt them little suckers down? LOL
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    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 2990
    (4/4/02 6:06:09 am)
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    I have carpet on mine. Course I do the shotgun thing quite a bit and the carpet is nice for catching shot when I have an oops.

    shooter45 us
    *TFF Chief Of Staff*
    Posts: 1415
    (4/4/02 6:38:59 am)
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    I built my bench top using 2X6's. Very sturdy.

    BlackGun
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 3640
    (4/4/02 9:12:41 am)
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    Indoor/Uotdoor carpet. Nothing rolls around and gets lost!
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    BlackGUN

    Hangfire
    Member
    Posts: 40
    (4/4/02 9:18:44 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Building materials for loading bench surface?
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    I have a 2 inch thick solid core door that I use for the top. The base is my old kitchen cabinets. I also use the old wall cabinets mounted above. Makes for a nice work area.

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 1690
    (4/4/02 9:42:49 am)
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    That sounds real cool, Hangfire.

    Over the past 40 years I've had a little bit of everything mentioned, and the best so far has been the steel government surplus office desk with their Formica wood grain tops. Bought two of them for $10.00 apiece. They are sturdy and offer storage drawers I can lock up. And over the top of them a nice tall hutch with shelves to store my bullets and brass and a multitude of other things for reloading.

    Gunguy

    Edited by: AGunguy at: 4/4/02 1:37:49 pm

    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2394
    (4/4/02 9:49:25 am)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: Building materials for loading bench surface?
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    I did the solid core door thing too. Even cheaper if you buy "seconds" from Home Depot.
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    Hangfire
    Member
    Posts: 41
    (4/4/02 10:44:48 am)
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    I scavenged mine off of a jobsite. It don't get no cheaper than that.

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1934
    (4/4/02 5:04:51 pm)
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    If you have any housewrecking or used building material companies nearby, see if you can pick up a used Formica kitchen countertop and cut it to size.

    Formica is great stuff for a loading bench.....tough, easy to clean, and if you're doing any bullet casting, you can lay a hot mold on it without worrying about burning it.

    jeeper1
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 230
    (4/4/02 8:52:50 pm)
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    i always did my bullet casting in the garage with both doors open for a flow thru breeze. I didn't want to make me any dumber than I am.
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 1694
    (4/4/02 11:15:19 pm)
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    Good advice, jeeper 1, a well ventilated area is best for casting lead bullets, avoid lead melting fumes at all cost. Very dangerous to your health.

    Gunguy

    nevada paul
    Member
    Posts: 5
    (4/5/02 1:07:19 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Loading bench surface
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    I you intend to do any gun cleaning at your reloading bench, you need a relatively impervious surface. Formica is an excellent choice.
    I have built several loading benches of different sizes for different needs, but the basic design is always laminated 3/4 inch particle board. I finish these by buying a 4'X8' sheet of Formica ( or other laminate) from a building supply house, a jar of contact cement and put the sheet on the surface. You can saw the sheet to rough size on a table saw, then you'll need a router with an edge trimming bit, (or a lot of patience with trim knives and sandpaper) to smooth and fit the edges. My latest creation, which is a double station loading/cleaning bench, is 8' by 24 inches and even has a formica capped backsplash to prevent cases and primers from rolling off the back edge.

    It's abit of work and expense, but if you're handy it makes a good woodworking project for a weekend.

    When you're done, all spills are easily cleaned up with windex or even stronger solvents.

    rayra
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 276
    (4/5/02 4:15:13 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Loading bench surface
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    similar to nevada paul's post, and even simpler -

    Home Depot sells 3/4" particle board with one face coated in melamine(?) - already solvent / liquid proof, and only ~50% more in cost for the sheet.

    My bench is framed with 2x4s, lag-bolted together and to the wall - sturdy enough for my massive sell to climb like a jungle-gym -



    Dave3
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 54
    (4/5/02 7:38:28 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Loading bench surface
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    Some darn good ideas. I have been thinking of a new bench myself, today I was thinking of what to use for a top, Low and behold tff is there for advice. Now that I'm a trim carpenter on a big job there are alot of extra materials cabnets,counter tops, melamene, shelf boards etcetera. I have access to massive amounts of free material (It's sad to see the stuff thrown away). I do shot gun and rifle and there is a big difference in working heights. Does anyone have any suggestions on overcoming this problem.

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 1702
    (4/5/02 8:07:25 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Loading bench surface
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    Dave3, you bring up a good question on table heights. My two formica top desk are strictly for setting down, and being an old foegy that ain't too shabby.

    However, it probably isn't too bad an idea to build a bench that you can operate standing up in front of your reloading press. And, if you get tired have an adjustable stool to set on for a change of pace. All this would be good for your back and posture.

    Also, wouldn't hurt to have one of those thick rubber mats in front of your loading bench if you do a lot of standing.

    That's my 2 cents on it.

    Gunguy

    a81492
    Member
    Posts: 20
    (4/6/02 2:44:06 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Loading bench surface
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    'nuther vote fer rolled-edge formica counters. Built 2 fer myself & cheap 'nuff to ferget about when movealong time rolls around. Also did a couple fer some pals who still abuse 'em after 12 yrs.

    nevada paul
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (4/8/02 10:30:15 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del bench height
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    I too, do shotshell as well as metallic loading at the bench. My bench is in the garage, so it also doubles as a work/hobby bench at times. My solution was to make it a comfortable height for standing, but then use a drafting type stool that is adjustable for height. This way I can sit for a while or stand as I choose, even vary the height for different chores.

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4461
    (4/8/02 12:09:52 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: bench height
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    Just my nickle, and it ain`t worth that much. All the above is darn good advice, so here`s some more.

    Do not use "poly/nylon" for the top, these type`s of materials can discharge static electricity, not a good thing around powders. LTS
    T.F.F.

    rgreene501
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (4/8/02 11:09:35 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: bench height
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    LIKTOSHOOT wrote:

    "Do not use "poly/nylon" for the top, these type`s of materials can discharge static electricity, not a good thing around powders."

    This was the kind of information I was hoping for from the material manufacturers. They got very tight lipped when I told them my intended use. I actually expected them to be professional and answer questions about application rather than ducking the issue.

    Anyway... We've decided on a 42" height so that we can work on stuff standing as well as sitting on bar stools. The surface dimension will be 32" x 96" so we can do multiple operations. The surface will likely end up being laminated maple because of it's aesthetic beauty. The base structure will be hardwood as well.

    FWIW: My brother and I just returned from Tulsa where we picked up his new safe from AG Edwards (nice guys). We scheduled the pickup so that we could attend the Tulsa gun show as well. Lots of walking for good deals & a few thousand $ later, we headed home anticipating the joy of moving a 1250 lb. steel box into his bedroom.
  2. tEN wOLVES

    tEN wOLVES New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Northridge, California
    I'm building a new bench right now, it's 96" long x 34" deep x 36" high, I'm using the 2x4 basics, kit for my legs, and for the two lower shelves I'm using 1/2" thick shop plywood, placed over the 2x4 with 3, 2x4 spacers in between, the top I chose to go with Oak hard wood plywood and 3/4" thick, I've found that a good hard wood top is hard to beat, I stained the top and the shelves with Min Wax stain & filler, then two coats of Varithane Polyurethane on the two shelves and 5 coats on the top, I made a bench like this 20 years ago and it's still in great shape, and the finish has held up great, the only reason I'm making another one is I've been sharing that bench with my leather work.

    tEN wOLVES
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