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Posted: 7/4/2012 2:21:00 PM EDT
I'm finding myself cramped with my 24" X 48" bench.  With a progressive press mounted at the end, it is hard to do anything else on the bench.  I did not build this bench with the thought of being able to un-mount the press, so that is a problem, since I only have one bench for doing everything from building and maintaining rifles to reloading.

So my new bench will be 6' long, and have some system for mounting AND un-mounting presses, a vise, and whatever else I need to have on the bench.  My bench top will be (as of now) built up quality plywood, at least 1 1/2" thick and sanded smooth, then probably finished with a clear poly varnish for neatness and cleanability.  With that given, I'm looking at various systems for this.

One system has a set of cut-outs of standard sizes, and one mounts tools to plywood blanks cut to these standard-sizes, with the cut-out in the bench having a bevel or rabbet that matches and retains the plywood blanks.  There are variations on this with metal angles substituting for the rabbet in the bench top.  This seems to have good qualities, but it requires what amounts to time and motion studies to determine where to put what size cut-outs.

Another system uses pre-drilled holes in a standardized pattern that matches the equipment mounting holes you're using, or matches standardized plywood blanks that your equipment is mounted to.  This system seems to be flexible, but it also seems to require a lot of construction work as well as robbing you of a smooth work surface.

A while back, someone posted about using Incra Track instead.  Incra Track is extruded aluminum, it is sized to fit standard 1/4"-20 nuts, and only requires a 1/2" deep by 3/4" wide groove for mounting into a work surface.  A pair of straight grooves that traverse the length of the bench is a lot easier to cut than a bunch of holes in a pattern, and whatver you use to mount your tools can be "the right size" for the tool instead of some set size based on a hole pattern.  While the open grooves in the track are potentially a place for crap to collect, it would be easy to vacuum out on a regular basis.  I'm seriously thinking about using this system on my new bench.

Questions for anyone who uses any of these systems:  do you see the same pros and cons I mentioned?  Any I didn't mention?  Any "recommended practices" for any of these systems?

I will be mounting a Hornady L-n-L AP press that sits on top of a Dillon Strong Mount, a 4 1/2" bench vise, an older RCBS Rock Chucker press, and an RCBS pistol Bullet Feeder on the bench (probably only the L-n-L APand the bullet feeder at the same time), along with whatever else comes along that I "need" to have solidly mounted. With all of that, I have no real feel for what sort of footprint a mounting system for each of these things will need to be, thus the strong draw of the track system.  But I still don't know how wide apart the tracks would need to be, nor how close to the front of the bench the front track would need to be.

I can over-engineer the base of the bench once I know what I'm going to be doing with the top, so any first hand experience will be greatly appreciated.

Finally, I'd appreciate it if anyone with experience with track systems like Incra, Woodpecker, and Kreg would chime in on how the tracks hold up, and what sorts of loads they can handle.
Link Posted: 7/4/2012 2:39:14 PM EDT
[#1]
I've been googling DIY workbenches for last two hours.

24" x 48" bench I can't see being enough room with Hornady Classic, Hornady AP, Dillon 550 and 650 mounted.

36" x 96" table would fit my needs with electric dropped from ceiling.

Table situated middle of room.

Now all I need to figure out is constructing heavy duty shelves on 3 walls.
Link Posted: 7/4/2012 2:58:35 PM EDT
[#2]
GHPorter:  I just re did my bench.  It's 10'x28".  I use the Lee plates for a turret and single stage which can be removed.  Unfortunately, I think they are specific to Lee presses.  I added Incra (SP?) trrack; 3 sections of one foot track spaced one foot on center.  The bench itself is three layers of 1/2" plywood, glued, screwed, sanded, primed and painted with a semi gloss black Rustoleum Ultra Color (it's pretty resilient to chemicals).  I use outdoor carpeting cut to fit around fixtures.  The majority sits on cabinets and is screwed to the wall.  The right end sits on a 2 x 4 bench and screwed to the wall.  I am making open front, black cabinets/shelves for the end above the presses.

For the Incra track,I think it will handle light to medium work.  I have it screwed into dado's.  Through bolted may be stronger, but it is still only going to be as strong as the aluminum track will take.

I put semi circle cutouts on the rear of the bench top which makes cord management much easier.

Here are some pictures of the progression over the last month.  (I re made it from a six foot one I had to add the extra end for reloading presses.)

 
Link Posted: 7/4/2012 6:40:09 PM EDT
[#3]
Link Posted: 7/4/2012 8:21:55 PM EDT
[#4]
def include drawers! its the only thing i regret about my bench (other than not having a bigger room)  i also made it deep 4 ft so i could mount shelves to the bench.

Storage is a big must especially if it will be a "hobby" bench. mine spends its time with triple duty not just reloading.

I use the Lee bench plate and it works very well only thing i "modified" is i got some of the stick on orbital sand paper pads and stuck it to the steel plate now the press will not loosen up when resizeing rifle cases.



I have since added a double cabinet above the wooden shelf in this picture.
Link Posted: 7/5/2012 4:20:26 AM EDT
[#5]
Forget the plywood top and just buy a section of countertop.  It won't cost much more than built up cabinet grade plywood and will already be finished with a chemical resistant surface.
Link Posted: 7/5/2012 4:32:55 PM EDT
[#6]
Quoted:
Forget the plywood top and just buy a section of countertop.  It won't cost much more than built up cabinet grade plywood and will already be finished with a chemical resistant surface.


That would be easier except that countertop is made with MDF, which is significantly inferior to plywood in terms of stiffness and sturdiness.  I might throw some Formica on it instead of sand/seal/varnish...
Link Posted: 7/6/2012 4:17:41 AM EDT
[#7]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Forget the plywood top and just buy a section of countertop.  It won't cost much more than built up cabinet grade plywood and will already be finished with a chemical resistant surface.


That would be easier except that countertop is made with MDF, which is significantly inferior to plywood in terms of stiffness and sturdiness.  I might throw some Formica on it instead of sand/seal/varnish...


I prefer the density of MDF to plywood for workbenches and reloading benches.  The weight and density really make for a solid surface.  As long as your framework is strong, MDF laminated with formica (i.e. countertop material) is extremely strong.
Link Posted: 7/6/2012 4:44:19 AM EDT
[#8]
Link Posted: 7/6/2012 7:48:20 AM EDT
[#9]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Forget the plywood top and just buy a section of countertop.  It won't cost much more than built up cabinet grade plywood and will already be finished with a chemical resistant surface.


That would be easier except that countertop is made with MDF, which is significantly inferior to plywood in terms of stiffness and sturdiness.  I might throw some Formica on it instead of sand/seal/varnish...


11/2 plyboard with laminate covering surface.

Home Depot and Lowes carry laminate.



Link Posted: 7/6/2012 11:12:45 AM EDT
[#10]
I'd use the plywood, topped by 1/4" hardboard, with a solid wood edge around the sides and front. Looks nicer than ply alone. That's what I'll do when I build a new bench.
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