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Thread: Bench Evolution

  1. #1
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    Bench Evolution

    I finally finished my new bench project and have even produced my first reloads off the new set up.

    It all started shortly after I bought the house and put a workbench in a little nook in the corner of the garage:



    Off that simple bench, I built my first AR and even posted a thread here about the tools I used. A little while after that, I started my journey into reloading, which lead to a few changes in the bench as I made room for my press on an Inline Fabrications riser. I also added some excellent metal pegboard from Wall Control



    From there, I upgraded the bench to big-box-store, but sturdy, heavy duty workbench. I generally kept the same layout, though and this would see me through the next few years



    But as discussed when I hijacked Alamo's thread, the flow was off and I wanted something more finished, more refined, where I could enjoy my time spent pulling the press, but also easily reconfigure for other tasks. If my weapons can be modular, why can't my bench?

    I also needed a bench for my rural property, so I decided to move my heavy duty bench out to the farm, where I can shoot on my own property, and build in a custom bench at home. And by using Inline Fabrication's Quick Change system at both locations, it would be easy to take my Forster Co-Ax out to the property when needed.

    Inspired in part by some videos from Wranglestar on youtube, I decided to build a wall mount bench with dual flush-mount Quick Change plates. So off I went:



    and the old bench went out to the farm



    But at home, I didn't just want function. I wanted some style and a space I'd enjoy spending time in, so I wanted to give the area a facelift, too. What if HGTV met a reloader's bench? How about a nice stained butcher block counter top with hand rubbed tung oil?



    Now, about those flush mount quick change plates: I've never routered anything before, so I deployed Alamo-like internet research and over analysis, plus a few trial runs on scrap wood to determine that I needed to make some jigs. First for the outline:





    But, more importantly, for the full depth of the cutout. I took an old clip board, cut a hole, and then hot-glued 1x2 pieces to make this jig to uniformly route out the inset (note that math was involved - I measured the base plate, bit size, etc., and mocked it up on the dining room table using books to convince myself I had it right)



    With all the planning, preparation, and practice, I still made some mistakes. My router bit came loose and went too deep on one pass. And when making the cut for the outline for the second flush mount plate I didn't rotate my Router to keep a constant distance off the jig and ended up with an extra 1/8" cut off the back that you can see in the image below (the router base plate has a flat edge on the back of an otherwise round plate). Still, I was pretty pleased with the results from this novice woodworker.



    With the bench nearing completion, I then painted the area a dark gray (Rock Bottom, from Sherwin Williams), replaced my Wall Control panels with their "Signature Series" matte black panels (the gray panels were moved to a different part of the garage), used wood planks to cover the chimney (after using some concrete mix to smooth over the "shelf"), and added some Inline Fabrication Rail Wall Organizers





    I mounted the Inline Fabrication Quick Change storage docks up on the wood paneled chimney so I could keep the Co-Ax and Redding BR powder measure out of the way when not needed.



    I also had Inline Fabrications make a custom QC plate for my Wilton vise



    That vice is around 35 pounds, which is likely heavier than Inline Fabrications designed the system for. When I converted my Inline Fabrication riser to the quick change system, I ended up with an extra plate that I used to reinforce the bottom of the left QC plate to help strengthen it to handle the vise



    (note in the photo above you can also see where my router bit got loose and cut deeper than intended)

    I did get a roll of tool box lining to cover the bench when I'm working on projects and want to protect the bench



    To complete the project, I finally patched the drywall above the service panel and added a clock to the space. I also loaded up my Inline Fabrication Rail Wall organizer with my reloading dies. I also added a power strip and even changed out the light switch / outlets for black to better match the space





    The project is now complete and I turned out my first reloads this past weekend, after starting the project about 3 months ago. Note that I also added the Quick Change 7.5" elevating workbase to the system.



    I'm very happy with how it all came out!

  2. #2
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    Dude!!! That looks awesome!

    I purchased a piggyback from Inline. It hasn't shipped yet but it could solve a problem of small pieces being loose on my bench. If you look on the very last picture where the Forster press is at, behind it there are two holes. It bolts on those two holes and I can put my shell holders on there. Given the Forster doesn't require shell holders but they make other parts that piggy back in those same holes that could give you even more utility and flexibility.

    One thing I recently bought that I should have had 10 years ago was a Forster priming tool. It's by far the best thing I have ever used. It genuinely will save you a ton of time. With traditional 'tubes' they are round and have little plastic tips where you pick up the primers 1x1. With the Forster priming tool there 'tubes' are rectangle. There is a little plastic tray that you can buy separately and you just dump your primers in there, shake until they are anvil up, then put the rectangle tube in the slot on the side and dump them all in. Loading primer tubes is the most tedious part of the process, but with the Forster I can just literally dump the primers into the tube in a matter of seconds. It's way faster and way nicer. Definitely a must have.

  3. #3
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    Alamo, one step ahead of you. I have the Forster Co-Ax primer to include the primer tray. I love it except it can give some problems on tight primer pockets from crimped brass.

    I need to order a custom QC plate for it from Inline Fab.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerUp View Post
    Alamo, one step ahead of you. I have the Forster Co-Ax primer to include the primer tray. I love it except it can give some problems on tight primer pockets from crimped brass.

    I need to order a custom QC plate for it from Inline Fab.
    I have a Dillon Swage tool. That and some Ballistic Tools primer pocket guages and I am good to go. The Dillon tool is the best I have used for that purpose. I don't have to do that very often but when I do that thing saves time, fingers and other stuff. I have it mounted on an Inline plate

    That Forster priming tool is great. I haven't mounted mine up yet but that's on purpose. I kind of like it loose and on a flat surface. It's very portable so I can prime while watching baseball. Just get something like a cutting board or my laptop board and you are good to go. The laptop board has a cushion on the bottom but a flat surface on the top. It helps to insert the tubes and not spill primers if it's not bolted down. I used to dread picking up primers one by one. Now I am loving the new to me way.

    I always do my priming separately. I have 5 gallon buckets full of primed brass.

  5. #5
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    Great photo essay! Thatís one fine looking bench. Iím 100% on board with the value of work space aesthetics.
    ďWhat in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?" -Antonin Scalia

  6. #6
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    I really enjoyed reading through this, and looking at the photos. Very nicely done!
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  7. #7
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    Wow! Love the picture story and narrative, well done! I'm not a reloader, but your organization skills has me thinking about storage possibilities for my amateur gunsmithing bench. It's a mess right now!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    That looks amazing. Great job!

  9. #9
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    Big fan of the finish on that bench. Nicely done.

  10. #10
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    Thatís a damn nice setup. Beautiful work on the table. That layout is well thought out too.


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  11. #11
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    Great job on the bench. That cord was driving my ADD batshit from the first pic, so I'm glad you wired the light! Looks like a great workspace.
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  12. #12
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    Thank you, all, for the comments and compliments.

    I'm pretty happy with the results so far. It's giving me the versatility I was looking for. Works well for sharpening the chains, too!


  13. #13
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    wow, you've put in great effort to acheive this. Looks Great

  14. #14
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    Trying a right-to-left workflow this time:



    while making up some .260 Remington loads


  15. #15
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    Righty?

    My old house , I had a small limited space and liked my press about right in the middle..

    Living quarters now are Fíd and donít have room for anything now.. But gave up on acquiring powder/primers, at the price now itís no better then just buying new stuff, . Match ammo will always be cost effective to crank out, but not by much anymore.

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