Guys, I’d like some help and suggestions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ss7mm, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    In the next month or so I’m going to start to completely remodel my reloading area and I’d like to get some opinions and suggestions. I’ll list the given things and what’s available and ask that you think with an open mind and maybe come up with suggestions.

    Things that are given and exist:
    20’-30' of wall space available. The rest of the room will be safe, animals, bookcase etc.
    Will be built to reload sitting down but also have an area for standing up and cleaning guns etc.
    I have a full blown wood/cabinet shop just off my garage so anything is possible.
    Can use sheet goods or full custom glued up panels and components
    Have an unlimited supply of figured maple and beautiful walnut with various other woods also available.
    Am thinking shallow depth drawers on top of all base cabinets for small items. Small top drawers to be lined with felt or similar material and all drawers compartmentalized.
    I want everything to be readily available so all drawers will be solid wood, dovetailed construction, and have full extension slides. Drawers and base cabinets can be any dimension so I am not restricted by stock type cabinet dimensions.

    I’ve got some beautifully figured 8/4 maple and a lot of 12/4 oak and was thinking about gluing up one or the other for the part of the countertop that would be lowered for the sit down reloading area.
    Will have full under cabinet lighting for the countertop and plugins everywhere.


    Would you have all drawers on base cabinets or drawers and shelf combinations?
    Would you store items like Chargemaster etc. on countertop or have a special compartment for it?
    Would you want all items to be stored out of sight or to remain on counter top fully visible? Clean and neat or readily available?

    Anybody have any pictures that would help of cool things you’ve done with your reloading area?

    I guess what I’m asking is for you to suggest based on what you would do if you had a custom cabinet shop at your disposal and the construction and installation wasn’t going to cost you anything.

    Ideas or suggestions anyone?
     

  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Here are a few things to think about.

    Bullets and brass are heavy so be sure to reinforce the back of the cabinets where they will be attached to the studs.

    If you use the insert pegs in the cabinets you can adjust the shelves to different heights as needed.

    Install a vent fan for those days when the cat knocks the Butches’ off the counter and the bottle breaks and spills.

    Cleaning rods are kind of like fishing rods and need their own specially designed storage space.

    Hard and soft gun cases take up a lot of room and need some organized place to be.

    The floor should be easily cleanable for the inevitable powder spills and the dropped primer.

    The one thing you may or may not want to do is have a cabinet section where you can attach a vise or clamp. Sometimes the little stuff we wind up working on is better held in place mechanically.
     
  3. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought

    I've been reloading for over 30 years and I always liked the idea of reloading sitting down in a regular chair but found that I always needed to stand up or at least get into a position that I could exzert more preassure on the reloading handle. So over the years I have finally ended up with a reloading bench that is at waist level which makes it really hard to reload from a standard chair. What is does do is make it very easy to reload from a bar stool height. So now I have a swivel bar stool with a back on it so I can lean back if need be but still sit a bit more normal and able to reach things. I also set the front of the bench top out away from the base cabinet enough that bolts for the press can be accesable without going inside the cabinet. This I did by making a 12"W X 14" deep X 2" thick press base. It can be set out about 4"s from the base top and screwed right to the top and easily removed if needed. The reloader is mounted on top of that. Its easy to clean up around and keeps things away from the reloader and can handle the preassures of resizing even the largest cases. The rest of the bench actually looks like standard kitchen cabinet base and upper cabinets except that their built from 3/4" plywood and varnished. The base cabinet top is made from 2 layers of 3/4" plywood and its also varnished. There is also a 6"HX6"D shelf at the back of the top of the cabinet base. Great place to keep things like shell head holder boards and other small things a person needs and don't want to have rolling around in the clutter. The actual length of mine was 24' with room on either end for garbage can's, cleaning rod rack, and the back wall on each end had peg board. The bench also had two vises. One with leather covered wood jaws for holding stocks and the other a standard 6" vise. This was all made to fit my needs and I'm sure yours will be a bit different. So make it your own when finished.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Dick,

    Sheese, yur describing a palace not a reloading room.;)

    I found life got better when things were arranged so I could work off of a stool instead of a chair. BillR made a similar comment.

    The only problem is when your stool gets loose:D
     
  5. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Dick,
    Sounds like you are planning a great work room and want to do it right. I have a few suggestions to your questions that might be of interest.

    Would you have all drawers on base cabinets or drawers and shelf combinations?
    Both, there are advantages to having quick access to tools and components that are in regular use. Get vinyl or cloth dust covers for the presses, powder measures etc. permantly out. You will also need a fairly decent amount of storage space in closets. A place for everything and everything in its place is really a good objective. That means assigning locations for each type of reloading or gun-gear placed into the shelves. Also nice to have both lockable and unlocked shelving, some stuff is best kept locked up. You obviously have the great good fortune of being able to craft the shelving, I bought mine at office supplies etc. and had my primary bench custom made by a specialy supplier so it fits a particular wall. Cost was rediculous but it sure is worth every penny.

    Would you store items like Chargemaster etc. on countertop or have a special compartment for it? I do both, some of gear is laying on shelves behind cabinet doors, some is mounted on tables or benchtop. Suggest you consider the RCBS aluminum multi-purpose tray type bases that will accept all of their presses and other stands. They are great, have pre-threaded holes and appropriate bolts in the kit. I use several, they are very usefull.

    Would you want all items to be stored out of sight or to remain on counter top fully visible? Clean and neat or readily available?
    Both, nothing wrong with having your go-to gear on bench, but I definitely cover everything with fitted covers. Dillon, RCBS sell fitted dust covers, easy to make also.

    Essentials for the room you are describing:
    Heaviest 5 or 6 inch vice you can get your hands on, with padded jaws, either felt, leather or special rubber from Brownells - absolutely essential for working on guns
    Roy made excellent suggestion re cleaning rods. I have custom made alluminum tube holders for mine, they are great.
    You are into wood, I have a lot of metal cabinets. Found some excellent sets of trays that have very strong magnets in their bases, place them where you need them for holding small stuff. Great for cleaning goodies.
    I keep my chemicals in a separate area in enclosed metal cabinets on shelves. Like to keep them organized so I know when I need more solvent or whatever.
    Make your bench heavy, then double it. I have seen plywood benches simply break-up after a lot of use. My loading bench is laminated boards, over two inches thick and it is holding up well.
    Big consideration is lights and plug-ins. More the better. I have track lighting, can move the suckers around and add or remove easily.
    You will never have too much shelving.
    Regardless how neat it sounds to reload from sitting, standing is better. Various presses have differing swings to their handles, latest one I got has a huge 180 degree arc, no way it works from sitting.
    Segregate your presses from your scales and measures. Totally separate tables or benches. Then no movement on scales from the action of the press. Combine overhead and bench lighting, good lighting is essential.
    Prioritize your storage. High dollar stuff needs to be locked up, low value stuff in slide out bins, etc. Biggest thing, always put stuff back in its place. Wish I could say I do that, but it is a good idea.
    Good luck with your project.
     
  6. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Will do. They way I build them, there will be no worry about anything coming apart. All drawers will be full 3/4" maple with dovetailed construction using 100 #, full extension slides on all full sized drawers.:) All shelves will be fully adjustable 3/4" made of maple.


    Fan is already there and I will either buy or build units like Sinclair sells and hang them out of the way but readily available.


    All empty gun cases, chronograph case etc. are stored in their own closet area out in the garage so they won't take up any room inside.


    The plan now is to put in hardwood flooring.


    A vise is a necessity. I've been looking at small patternmaker type vises. I like the way they tilt and angle. I'd like to come up with a very solid way to make it removable.
     
  7. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    BillR:

    The current plan is for a 2 level bench. The lower level will be designed for sitting down and the upper level will be for stand up type working. I will have a fully adjustable chair for the lower level and a fully adjustable stool for the upper level.



    My current plan will be made similar to what I did for my wife when I built her sewing room. She has a small fortune tied up in sewing machines, electronic computerized embroidery machines, sergers etc. and she needed an area for them that would also allow her legs to go underneath. The countertop is 2 " thick, cantilevered and braced to the wall in a way that is strong enough that I can stand on it on the edge/corner and there is no deflection. The lower reloading area will be very similar, and as of now, will be 2" thick maple, or oak, built so there is no flex or deflection even though the underneath area will allow me to have my feet and legs underneath with no interference.


    I plan on a shelf for part of the length underneath the cabinets and above the countertop. All of the base cabinets will have one or two shallow drawers at the top of the cabinets for small items and the plan now is to have holders in compartmentalized areas for shell holders, micrometers, gages atc. etc. If that turns out to not work right then I will still have the shelf to use like you do. It's just that my initial concept is to have everything stored in it's own place, out of sight and clean, until needed.


    I'm trying to incorporate at least one, and hopefully two, base units with pull out garbage cans so they will be readily available but can be closed when not needed.


    I'm hoping for that, but you know about the best laid plans of mice and men.;)
     
  8. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Roy:

    Not hardly. Just a place for me and the dog to escape to.;)



    I have tried both ways and find that most of the time I prefer sitting down to do my reloading although I also plan on putting a plate in the raised section so I could also mount a press there for standing up. I like to have my cake and eat it too.:)


    I will see to it that my mechanical stool stays tight and I leave the other up to my doctor.;);)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  9. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Ian:

    I've already "charmed" my wife into making any covers I might need.:) I should have all of the closet storage space I need......I hope.:rolleyes:

    Some of the doors and drawers will be lockable for sure.


    I'm drawing it all up with AutoCad and am making all of the scales, trimmers, etc. etc. drawn to scale and I'm moving them around to see if they will work if left out or if they need to be put away. I'll probably be able to do either but initial plan is to have everything put away when not needed.


    See earlier comments in replies above.


    The plan is to have all chemicals at the extreme opposite end from where the reloading will take place and to have them in a secured cabinet.


    Scales, will be used on a separate area from where the press will be located. The press mounting area will not be tied into the other countertop.

    It'll be lit up in a way suitable to allowing old eyes to see no matter what.:rolleyes:
     
  10. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Dick,
    Now here is the important part. When you build this room, cut all the pieces for the cabinets etc. and DO NOT ASSEMBLE THEM. When you and your autocad program have everything cut and fitted, load it all into a large van. I will give you YAHOO directions to my house. You can spend a week or two installing it. I will be out at the range, to stay out of your way. Then when its done, I could ride back with you and you could teach me how to shoot those hand-cannons you like so much. Now not too many people would be kind enough to make this offer, but what the heck. This way you can make a few boo-boos and correct them when you go back and do your room!! Oh, yes. When you are up here installing the pre-fabbed reloading/gun room maybe if you want a break you could crank-off a couple of chapters on the book I am working on while I am out there slaving away shooting steel etc. In return I will show you how to work a five-inch bench vise. I have just about got it figured out. Don't get as many blood-blisters each time I use that big sucker as I used to. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Right!
     
  11. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Ian:

    I will tell you what I am going to do. If I can work it into my schedule, and if it looks like I am going to have a whole room of cabinets etc. to spare, then I will take you up on your very generous offer.;);)

    It would seem only fair that I should do every thing in my power to help you get some more range time. And..........the offer of help with the 5" vise almost brought a tear to my eye. You have no idea how long I have been looking for just that exact kind of help.:rolleyes::rolleyes:

    I will let you know how my schedule and supply of spare cabinets works out.:)
     
  12. Freebore

    Freebore Well-Known Member

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    Start by allowing the the wife to pick out a new set of kitchen cabinets and use your old ones for your project. This worked wonders for me. The old breakfast bar is behind me if I'm at the reloading bench with the rifle I'm loading for right there! My widest cabinet is directly over the reloading bench, (which was fabricated from 2x 3/4 plywood) holding powders and bullets. A small flouresent light under the cabinet lighting my press/scale area. There is a double tube flouresent over the rifle rest/vise area (brkfst bar). Cleaning rods hung on end of old brkfst bar. Brkfts bar is great as it has the three drawers for other stuff right at finger tips (pathches, brochures, scope covers, you know.. gunning stuff. Under the over hang side is my my range bag tucked out of the way w/ another stool for 'quests'. Under the brkfst bar (door area) is my shotgun reloading stuff w/the MEC on the end of the overhang.

    Shelving to the right and left of cabinets. Reloading manuals stored in another cabinet directly left of bullet/powder cabinet. A piece of the old counter top and cabinetry is next to the reloding bench for 'stuff' (range box, brass in working, you know... gunnin' stuff! underneath is all my scope/bino/press etc. boxes

    I am very happy w/this layout and it did wonders for my marriage!!
     
  13. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    That would normally be a great idea but I already built her a complete brand new kitchen. I just happened to do that right before I expanded my shop and built a new one.

    I also built her a completely remodeled and custom laid out sewing and tv room. I did that first and now I am going to do my reloading room.

    See the logic here? Momma gets hers first, whatever she wants, and then when it comes to mine...............no questions asked.:rolleyes::rolleyes: