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Thread: Reloading bench ergonomics!

  1. #1
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default Reloading bench ergonomics!

    I'm getting set to build my reloading bench, and have a couple questions that you guys might be able to help me with. I am 6'4" and generally find standard benches and tables too short. My reloading room has to double as a storage room for my hunting/fishing/camping gear, so I don't have a bunch of room, but I will have an area approx. 80"x80". I am thinking of making one narrow bench along my west wall that will be about 14" deep and 80" long. This will join, in the north west corner of the room, to a bench about 22" deep and 80" long running along the north wall. For now I will be using an RCBS Junior press, but will likely purchase some sort of turret press and/or a progressive in the somewhat near future, will that make a difference on how high I should build the bench?
    • How tall are you?
    • How tall do you like your reloading benches?
    • How deep are your benches?
    • Prefer to stand, sit on a stool, sit on a chair?
    • Any other ergonomic considerations?
    Please feel obliged to elaborate

    Brook
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  2. #2
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Taller

    Brook,

    I'm pretty new to reloading. It seems to me, though, that a taller bench is better. I have a standard folding table for my bench, and I'm not in love with it. I have to bend down to look at my balance on the level. I have to reach down to move the reloading press handle to the bottom of the stroke. I am not a tall guy.

  3. #3

    Default You

    I would venture a guess, since you may differ in proportion (long legs or short waisted). Try This, See if your kitchen counter top isn't about the right height.
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    I'm 5'10" and my bench is 42" off the floor. I found that I stand more often than I sit at the bench so higher is better. If I want to sit I use a tall bar stool. Its also easier to stay alert on my feet so a comfy chair or stool was not an option. I dont want to have problems in the field because I was too comfortable at the loading table!

  5. #5
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    Wink

    Second what 8x57said, you want your scale at eye level, maybe on a small shelf detached from the main bench, to eleminate any movement. Bill.
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  6. #6

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    I'm 6'4" too, but may or may not have as much leg between me and the floor as you do. I've built a bunch of reloading benches over the years and finally settled on the right height: Belt buckle high while standing. That puts the lever at just the right level for leverage when you are standing.

    I got a swivel seat stool just a little shorter than the bench, but the right height so that I'm just as tall seated as standing. Works great.

    I like my bench tops 36" deep (against the wall) so I can put stuff at the back and still have room to do stuff in front. I've got a rack for my scale to put it at eye level, but it's moveable.

    That's the key for me: Mobility. I don't want anything permanent anywhere on the bench so I can clear it and reconfigure it depending on what I'm doing. Everything from gunsmithing and reloading to fly tying and rod building.

  7. #7
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default 5'8"...Jist call me 'Stubby'!

    I build my benches at 40". Pretty close to 'standard' counter top height. I like my benches at least 24" deep, but I also do a lot of other things on there besides loading, like inletting, checkering, scope mounting....and the only thing that I have permanently mounted on the top is a Rock Chucker press. I have mounting holes for everything else that I can install and remove with wing nuts and bolts or clamps. Small shelf about a foot higher where it's easier to read the scale.
    I like to use a stool, one that I can just lean back onto and have it catch my butt. A padded one is nice but not necessary, as I'm packing my own padding on quite nicely in my advanced years.
    As important as that stool is, I keep at least one good swing arm lamp mounted, and the one I'm using now has one of the big magnifying glass' surrounded by a lamp. My eyes ain't getting any better than the rest of me, either, and I'm still too darned vain to wear the bifocals!
    I also built a foot rail that I can use that puts my foot about 8-10" above the floor level, and use a good floor mat to stand on.

  8. #8

    Default bench height

    I am 6' 3" and my bench is built high so I can stand up straight. Same as my fish cleaning table. As Brown Bear said, belt buckle height is about right. I have a Dillon 550 B and an old RCBS single stage on mine. It is a fun room for me and I have so much powder, primers, brass, dies and ammo in there that I can't even remember all of it. If I was a dog I would go roll in it everyday!

  9. #9

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    I just had one additional thought on how I picked my bench height, and it's probably the most important measure of all. My arms are long (38") and with the bench at buckle height that allows me to swing the arm on my Rockchucker all the way down without leaning over. If your arms aren't as long, check on how far down you have to reach when your reloader's arm is all the way down. You might end up with a bench that's a little higher than belt buckle high.

  10. #10

    Default

    I am 6'-2" and agree with the other tall guys' posts. I don't remember the height of the bench top, but I made it to use standing and experimented with heights until I got it the exact right height for me.

    My bench top is actually a 36" wide fire door that I bought surplus and then I glued formica on top for a smooth surface. Like Brownbear said, the 36" depth is nice for having things toward the back and yet plenty of work space up front. I have room at the back for my tumbler, and several plastic bins, etc.

    I built a seperate cabinet next to one end of the bench that is my powder magazine. I store my powder in the cabinet underneath and the top of the cabinet is flush with my bench. On top is where my scale goes and my powder loading is done here. This way it does not get jarred around since it is seperate from the main workbench. The powder is all close, but I only allow myself one can of powder out on top at a time for safety reasons.

    I recommend you give some thought to the merit of not having your scale or powder on the same bench as your press. This has worked out really well for me, from both a safety and efficiency stand point.

    With this setup I can stand, or sit on a stool, and work up loads without having to move because press is on the end of the bench next to the powder magazine.

    Above these benches I have overhead cabinets where bullets, brass, dies, etc. are kept.

    Important: Don't forget to put enough light in over the bench and have plenty of electrical outlets handy too. Keep your eye peeled for some good used rubber mats for standing on, because concrete fatigues you quick if that is what you are standing on.

  11. #11
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default table top material

    there is a guy on craiglist under general items selling bowling alley lanes from a remodel. It is a few pages back and in under the ad, used bowling alley lanes-lumber or something like that. sent him an email asking he is selling whole lanes or if he will sell chunks. they are 16' long and 42''wide by 500 pounds and 2.5'' thick. Real glossy on top. Thinking i would like a chunk but not a whole lane. But if all he will sell is the whole lane would a couple guys like to split the cost of a lane for some bench tops??

  12. #12
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default Reloading/Fly Tying bench, Camping/Fishing room.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I just had one additional thought on how I picked my bench height, and it's probably the most important measure of all. My arms are long (38") and with the bench at buckle height that allows me to swing the arm on my Rockchucker all the way down without leaning over. If your arms aren't as long, check on how far down you have to reach when your reloader's arm is all the way down. You might end up with a bench that's a little higher than belt buckle high.
    I set up my bench on this recommendation, and love it so far. I only have one press on it, so I dont know if it will always be the right height, but for my rockchucker press the belt height is great.

    On the rest of the ergonomics...
    I like the narrow 90* bench so far. At 19.5" total width, it seems just right as I can sit on a stool and still reach all the way to the back of the bench without straining or entering my "yellow or red zone". (slope workers might understand... sims) I built the shelf underneath just low enough to be the right height to put my feet on while sitting on a standard stool because most stool foot rests are hard on socked/non-shoed feet.

    I tore the carpet out of the room and installed cheap vinyl tile from home depot to ease clean up, and provide a more sturdy mounting surface to mount the bench legs to.

    Some pictures...


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  13. #13
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    I've made a few upgrades to the reloading room. I convinced the wife she could absorb all our camping gear into her sewing/guest room, and I put our fishing gear in our office.

    A great deal on a tool box, a couple cheap cabinets from home depot, and a few cheap tool boxes left over from a friends move to a new home and I actually have enough storage to allow for future acquisitions.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1030277.JPG   P1030279.JPG  
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  14. #14
    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    a couple more
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1030284.JPG   P1030287.JPG  
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

  15. #15

    Default Reloading bench ergonomics!

    Great area bgreen, I aspire to something like that when I am able to have my own place. For now we live in a two bedroom apt. and I am sharing a room with the wife and here gaming terrain projects. I 6' 3" and built a bench from one piece of 3/4 inch birch ply using a plan from a Cowboy Action shooting sight. It works great for me and I am using a kitchen chair for the moment (which is a little short). I have a small set of shelves next to it for the bullets, books etc... On the bench I have a Pro2000 on the right side and a LEE "O" press on the left for single stage, the scales and minor tools along the back edge with a long arm magnifying glass lamp that I can pull off and put on the wifes table (haven't had to fight for it yet . I am going to try and attach the file but being the first time it may not work. The only changes I made was to angle the bottom (under top support) backwards and I took the left over peice and glued/screwed to the underside of the front edge giving me an 1 1/2inch thick area to bolt the presses to. It fits perfect thru apartment doors (without presses attached).
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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default

    I am 6’1” and prefer to stand while re-loading. I have found that for me, A taller bench works best, about half way between my belly button and my boobs……… With the bench at this height I don’t need to bend down to observe the various aspects of the loading operation. I did not think far enough ahead in regards to scales, and wish that I had a shelf at about shoulder height for them.
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  17. #17

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    I am 6 foot, my bench is 60'' x 24'' and I sit on a stool. It really works great for me because I use reloading as a hobby to relax. I haven't been reloading but a few months but I forsee a bench upgrade soon.

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