Chip Sawdust

Reloading bench and utility desk

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So I'm setting up an office, but I have no place for reloading, and have done that for years but the hiatus has been over a decade. Time to revisit my old hobby. 

I thought about this bench for quite a while, and it has features I've never built into anything before. So here goes the story :) 

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I wanted it heavy, so used 4x4 pine for the legs, and ripped 2x4s for the aprons/stretchers. I decided half lap joints would be great for this assembly as they're strong yet simple. And speed of assembly was important to me at this stage. 

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That said, being at least a pseudo-woodworker, I figured the lower stretcher joints would be pleasing if they were fat dovetails. So I set about doing just that. 

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They aren't the prettiest dovetails but they are  1 1/2" thick so I think they'll hold. 

This is re-purposed lumber in many places, stuff I had left over. I bought the 4x4s and 2x4s, and some alder, but the rest is stuff I had laying around. The back is some T1-11 from when I insulated the shop walls and tossed the siding up there. Good way to use up the old scraps. 

Here's the backing and bottom shelf, then I sized the top using a piece of poplar plywood (I hate this plywood but it's what I had). 

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Any bench should have drawers. I happened to have three sets of full extension drawer slides from a couple years ago, so I boxed in a spot for some drawers. They're about 11" wide and 5" tall, while being just ove two feet deep. Nice. 

 

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I was going to do dovetails but ended up usn finger joints for the drawers. I built a 1/2" finger joint jig years ago, for 1/2 x 1/2 joints, but these were 3/8 tall joints so I made a new index finger for it that was 3/8" tall yet still 1/2" wide. 

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Now for the part I hadn't tried before. The idea was to have a sort of dovetail slider from the edge of the bench which I could remove, as a blank, and slide in one with the reloading press mounted. That way I could easily remove the press without bolting and unbolting stuff. It seemed Li,e a good idea and I still think it'll work well. 

But précision cutting devices in my shop for something like this boiled down to an old jigsaw. So I marked my lines and cut to 45 degrees in the three sides, coming in from the edge. 

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Finish the cuts with a pull saw...

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And voilà, you have two slots. Why two? I want to use the other side for mounting the case trimmer and other accessories. So I'll make more slide-in blanks as I grow this process.

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Add some oak trim to the edges,and make the angled cuts for the inserts as well. 

Here you can see I had the top on the floor, as I had to hold it between my legs and use a rasp to clean up the angled cuts where the not-so-precise cuts from the jigsaw needed cleaning up. No power tools to do this job :( 

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The bench was too heavy to take downstairs for finishing, so my beautiful and understanding wife didn't complain when I decided to finish the bench in my office. As long as I had the drop cloth in place, of course :) 

This is the "plain" configuration. 

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So the top was screwed to th 4x4s with some lag bolts, the heads recessed with a forstner bit cut. The front by the inserts needed a bit more strength so I added found #8 screws 2 1/2" long to hold things tight.

The cutouts in the top I lined with oak, but the inserts aren't lined. I figured I can always add new inserts, but didn't want the top to wear out over the years and oak ain't gonna wear out. Those were cut to near size then planed flush by hand. Lots of hand work on this project.

I have plans to build a hutch for storage above. This top is 60x32 and the hutch will be about 60x12 and a couple feet tall. I'll post that later, probably in this thread, as it'll take a lot more time and care to build. 

If you have questions about this build, fire away. It was a quick build and I wanted it done so I can start organizing my office. I'll build a writing desk later :) 

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5 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

That’s sweet and man, you work fast! What are you reloading? Apparently not shotgun? 

Au contraire, mon frère ! The left hand side is for my Mec 600 for 12 GA. :) I just didn't illustrate it. 

I have dies for 44, 300, 357 and 220 Swift :) 

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It's my second bench, or third if you count the ad hoc bench I used to have in my garage. But this is the first one I built for use inside the house. The hutch will come later, after I make the next honey-do project (two end tables). 

I haven't ever hunted much, just like the physics of shooting and the camaraderie of fellow shooters. And reloading is kind of like a science project for each caliber and type of weapon, whether pistol or rifle or shotgun. I keep records and study results, it's the way I think :) 

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1 minute ago, K Cooper said:

No help whatsoever. Mine are all 9’s, 45’s, & 12 And 20 ga. 

I'm not patient enough for ACP type ammo. Too much chasing around to find where they jumped off to after firing. But hey, we have 12GA in common :) 

I think for ACP I'd want a progressive too, and I have all I'll ever buy for loading (so I say today).

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