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Old 12-18-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
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Default Reloading bench setup question

I am having a bathroom remodel done, an insurance job and they buggered up the vanities getting them out.....so, since they are making me new one's I figured to repair the old one's and use them in the garage. As a work bench, reloading bench. We are also ditching the medicine cabinets that were surface mount......they stuck out (were not recessed) and we always disliked that....so we're going with decorative mirrors-flat on the walls. So I grabbed the medicine cabs as well and mounted those above the benches, to hold cleaning supplies, oils, gun scrub etc etc maybe primers, bullets etc. It is coming out nicely, I'm excited and eager to get everything set up and running.

They are two independent 4' L X 2' D cabinets mounted side by each for 8 foot of overall length.

Thing is, those old vanities were only about 32" high. This puts the RCBS Rockchucker pretty low for me if I mount directly to the bench top. I see myself having to bend too much to see what is going on at the shell being worked on.

My question is........is there a specific height that most people like to have the press set at? Should the area where the die fits, be at eye level as one is seated, or just above eye level?

I reckon I will have to build a riser....... a cube I will attach to the bench surface and then bolt the press to that. I'm 6'3" and hate stooping or bending to see what I am doing. Plus, I have had 4 major spine surgeries between 2007 and the end of 2010.....a single level lower lumbar fusion and a two level cervical fusion.......all courtesy of getting hurt on the show "24" where I worked for about 7 years, until the end of the series. Because of all the spine fusions, I don't fold in half as well as I used to.

So any advice will be helpful as to the most ergonomic way to do this.

Also, would you put the press in the middle of the work bench, to one or the other side of center or all the way on one or the other edge? I also have the powder measure to mount as well......any tips on how best to set up the entire bench will be much appreciated. I would hate to drill mounting holes only to have to relocate the press etc and have gnarly holes in the wood.

I also have a vice but it's much too large....heavy duty, as well as a bench grinder. I'd like to get a smaller vice and mount that and the grinder as well.

Thank you.

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Old 12-18-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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I am 6'06 and have my press set so the tops of the dies are at eye level. I do not have back issues from loading.

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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fumbles, those vanities are probably too flismy for mounting a reloading press on as they were made for holding a sink and storage. you would have to reinforce the so much, that it would be easier and cheaper in the long run to just build one from scratch to begin with. they would make good storage areas as this is one thing that a reloader never seems to have enough of. google reloading benches and look at some ideas for what would work for you.

now i am 5' 11" so my comfort zone is about 38" in heigth, but for you that would be too low. general rule of thumb for comfort is about waist level or a little above that. without knowing the layout of your garage and how much space that you will devote to reloading, i wouldn't suggest an actual size of bench. make the bench as long as possible and at a comfortable level for you, but only make it about 24-26" deep, as any deeper will just end up with an area that collects clutter. make it out of 2x6's or 2x4's, and if possible, mount it to the floor and wall and it will be plenty strong enough. good luck.

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Old 12-18-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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I would mount to center of bench...the press is the center of the work area.

I have powder measure, scale, components on the left, in order of function, then the press, then the finished ammo on the right..."work flow"

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Old 12-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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I always build any work bench that I work at 36" high.I have an adjustable height office chair that works great for setting while loading,or I can stand.
I also made an elevated stand for my beam scales,so it is at eye level while setting.It makes seeing the scale a lot easier while weighing powder charges.

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Old 12-18-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axxe55 View Post
fumbles, those vanities are probably too flismy for mounting a reloading press on.......
What I did on each "bench" was run a 2X4 across the back at the top, a 2X2 across the middle of the back and then the piece of decorative mahogany (?) across the front above the drawers/doors, that was held on with these lame quick mount devices, got 4 shots each side with the nail gun and everything was glued. I also glued the innards....the uprights holding the sliders where the drawers run. The tops are 3/4" birch ply. Also the hidden space I made got a 3/4" birch ply bottom that was nailed and screwed to the sides and the 2X2 at the back for added rigidity.

I see what you are saying about the sturdy 2X4 construction of many reloading benches. I am somewhat committed now though. When you say 38"......is that the height of your bench top?

How much force is generally applied to the press? I would imagine not much......is it just all the repetitive motions that might loosen the bench.

Thanks for all the great answers so far everyone. I truly appreciate it.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fumbles View Post
How much force is generally applied to the press? I would imagine not much......is it just all the repetitive motions that might loosen the bench.

Thanks for all the great answers so far everyone. I truly appreciate it.
Depends on what you're reloading. Some rifle rounds can take a considerable amount of force to full length size, where as most pistol rounds require very little pressure.
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:05 PM   #8
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I am 5'3". I don't understand your problem.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Depends on what you're reloading. Some rifle rounds can take a considerable amount of force to full length size, where as most pistol rounds require very little pressure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fumbles View Post
What I did on each "bench" was run a 2X4 across the back at the top, a 2X2 across the middle of the back and then the piece of decorative mahogany (?) across the front above the drawers/doors, that was held on with these lame quick mount devices, got 4 shots each side with the nail gun and everything was glued. I also glued the innards....the uprights holding the sliders where the drawers run. The tops are 3/4" birch ply. Also the hidden space I made got a 3/4" birch ply bottom that was nailed and screwed to the sides and the 2X2 at the back for added rigidity.

I see what you are saying about the sturdy 2X4 construction of many reloading benches. I am somewhat committed now though. When you say 38"......is that the height of your bench top?

How much force is generally applied to the press? I would imagine not much......is it just all the repetitive motions that might loosen the bench.

Thanks for all the great answers so far everyone. I truly appreciate it.
this is correct, some rifle cartridges can require much force to resize properly, so a sturdy bench is a must. what you could do is to make a new top to mount on top of the cabinets, then make a raised base to bring it up to a comfortable height for you. the top of mine is 38" because that's a comfortable height for me. you are quite a bit taller than me so, you may need to go a little taller for comfort. some people like to sit while reloading, but i prefer standing. if you are going to reload standing, then also consider one of those rubber work mats they use in garages, sa your feet will thank you.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:06 PM   #10
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Doesn't matter what height others use, put legs on your cabinets to raise the top to just below your standing elbows. Then block the press up so you can fully depress the lever without bending over. If you want to sit while working, get a thrift shop bar stool so you can sit at the same height as when standing.

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