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Just ordered a 550B, my first centerfire press - been loading 12 and 20 gauge on MEC's for 6 years.

I need some of you old timers out there to give me some ideas for building the bench. Remember all those things that made\make you say, 'If I did it again I would.....'. - Let me know what they are.

Dimensions, Lessons Learned, Best Practices, all that stuff is welcome.
 

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I'll play.

Doing mine over again I wouldn't make it quite so wide, it's 4 feet now, 3 feet would be much better, easier to reach stuff at the back.

I'd bolt it to the wall so it couldn't shake even the slightest.

Plywood/OSB top instead of dimensional lumber, too darn many grooves for stuff to get stuck in.

I have drilled small holes in the front right next to my press for all the little allen wrenches I need to make occasional adjustments, very handy.

Bolt or screw stuff together, nails may eventually work lose.

I keep swearing I'm going to put some heavy duty slide out drawers under the bench top for extra storage.
 

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Two things come to mind:

1. Give careful thought to adequate lighting levels and light placement.

2. Consider your headroom above the bench. I built a great bench I'm very happy with, except it under a steel support beam in my basement and when I went to install my 650 with casefeeder, the available headroom was not ideal. Luckily, it's workable, but I have to put the cases into the casefeeder by hand with only a couple of inches clearance.
 

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Save yourself some time and effort by getting a used office desk. I have had one for years. Either wood or metal will work. They can be bought for as little as $10. They have plenty of drawers and are the correct height.
 

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Sorry Rod. lol Also as some would say. "Bolt it to the earth." Can't be too stable.
 

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When I set p my shop (bullet casting and reloading) I went to several industrial used equipment shops looking for some heavy duty benches. I couldn't find any so I bought three sears work benches that have served me well for many years. They're not that heavy, but can be bolted to the floor and walls. I would definitely go with the Dillon Strong Mount. It places the machine at an ideal height.
 

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herd48 said:
Sorry Rod. lol Also as some would say. "Bolt it to the earth." Can't be too stable.
MY "Man Cave" in is one of my barns and since I live in foot massage state CA.
The barn will fall down before the reloading bench moves. One of my son's a building contractor built it for me. His instructions were "Make the bench strong
and unmoveable" Once he was finished he told me "Dad you can drive your Ford
4x4 diesel on top of the bench and it will not move".
Chief
 

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My shop is in the basement. I made sure the walls were sealed with Dryloc, and I put a dehumidifier down there to ensure that my powder wouldn't pick up moisture. Your equipment will also be prone to rust in a humid environment. In the winter isn't such a problem with basement shops as in summmertime. I don't leave powder in the charger hopper for long periods either. Put it back in the can and seal it good. For long term storage of an opened can of powder, I'll run some packing tape around the lid to make sure I have an air tight seal.

Oh yeah, a shop vac is nice too. A messy loading bench area can be dangerous. Take my word for it.
 

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Getting the press mounted at the right height will be key. I reload sitting on a stool, other guys stand. Since you are starting from the ground up now's the time to plan for the right height of the bench top. I also recomend the strong mount with the tool mount on the back.

Find a good place for your Dillon Calendar, that you can see while reloadng. You always need to know what day it is. :D
 

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Mine is my basement also.. bolted to the wall. 3/4 in ply with about 8 coates of poly on it so it is nice and smooth. I made mine about 3 feet deep also to keep plenty of room to put things against wall but not too deep that I can't reach. Built shelves out of same ply above.. lots of little cubbys and long shelves. I have mine in an "L" shape so I can just roll in my chair from one station to the next.

I do agree.. Good lighting is key!

Good luck and happy holidays!
 

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I've been getting some knee pain from standing on concrete too long while reloading. I just had knee surgery last week, and am thinking about a mat to cushion my bones a little. Anyone have such flooring?
 

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That's a good idea on the mat for the floor. I have some pads that I bought for the weight room, but have some extra that just might end up under the reloading bench now. You can buy sections at any sports store for pretty cheap.
 

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1. 3 layers of heavy MDF topped with a top layer of tempered masonite.
2. Anchor to wall and floor
3. Numerous electrical outlets above bench.
4. 26 inches deep by at least 6 feet wide. (Mine is 9' long but, I have 4 presses on the bench.)
5. Soft rubber mat to stand on in front of bench
6. Wall mounted cabinet 12 to 18 inches above bench (Like a kitchen cabinet.) Same length as bench but, no more that 8 inches deep. This allows you to have your balance beam powder scale and powder measure mounted at eye level and up off the bench. And, have storage for dies, bullets, etc.
7. Separate LOCKING powder chest and primer chests below bench. Made of wood at least 1 inch thick, i.e, two layer of 3/4" stock.
8. Radio to listen to Rush!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Would the plastic tubs purchased at Lowes or Home Depot be okay for powder storage? I've read a few times that people use wood because a safe can become a grenade, but wouldn't plastic be just as good?

I use a tub for my shotshell powders with a can of dehumidification silica inside.
 

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Plastic is bad for building up a static charge...KABOOM.
 

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Started off with an old desk. It worked fine fine for just the single stage. Build this before I got my 650.



Made with 3/4" 4x8 sheet of oak laminated plywood cut in half, then glue and screwed the two pieces together. I then made a frame with 1.5" angle iron and screwed that to the ply wood. The front legs are made out of pipe and the feet are 1" bolts for leveling adjustment. The bench is bolted to the shelving which also acts as the back legs.

I can stand in the middle of it (I weigh 220lbs) and it won't flex one bit.

The Hornady single stage is bolted to a piece of composite decking and is clamped to the bench so it can be moved as needed
 

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yep

herd48 said:
Sorry Rod. lol Also as some would say. "Bolt it to the earth." Can't be too stable.
but I add "directly"

my main bench has a carpeted surface, too

sitting height

bolt press to something; bolt THAT to bench
 

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This my bench for my little christmas present to myself.
I welded it up from an old bed frame. It is a lot more stable that it sounds. It will go out the the shop when spring arrives.




Like my ex-wife: fast, cheap and can take a hit...
 
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