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Old 07-29-2020, 01:41 PM
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Default Black & Decker Workmate For A Reloading Bench

Hello everyone. I have a Lee single stage press. I reload 38/357 ammo. I have been clamping my press that is secured to wood on jy plastic folding table. There is a lot of flex in that setup. I do not have a lot of room 12x12 hobby room. I want something strong but could also put it away. Do any of you use a B&D Workmate? If so, which model? The Lee reloading stand is $145 and I think the workmate could be more versatile and provide more uses than just a reloading table.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:57 PM
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I don't think a Workmate is heavy enough to sustain decapping and especially priming anywhere near the edge of the top. It will tend to tip and move around the floor. Build yourself a ~2' x 3' (or whatever x-y dimension works for your needs and space) bench with a 3.5" thick top (2 x 4's sideways clamped and glued) with a shelf below about 4-6" off the ground. Stack your loaded ammo and bullets on the shelf and it will sit there like big rock while you rock 'n roll on the top with your loading levers.

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Old 07-29-2020, 02:27 PM
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Someone from SC on another forum has been using the WM, but I don't recall which machine he mounted.
After seeing his, I've been considering the same setup for my neglected WM.

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Old 07-29-2020, 02:37 PM
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I have 2 older model 85 Workmates, 1 relativity new Model 100, & 2 of another brand that are similar!

Loading 38-357 on a single stage will not have the stresses of loading rifle cartridges and should be fine! (with either steel dies w/lube or carbide wo/lube)

What you run out of quickly is space, so a second workmate, card table or plank between two chairs will come in handy (BUT ISN'T REQUIRED) I usually sit at the #1 workmate in a normal folding chair (a kitchen chair is good too) but you will be "off center", so experiment with how you set everything up. Being right handed, I set workmate #2 off to my right usually.

I set up my shotgun reloaders on a workmate and have a second workmate with a "kitchen sink cut out" as my second table. Some home center stores sell these for a few dollars, you attach a 2x4 down the center and clamp it in workmate #2 (DO NOT RESIZE AMMO ON THIS TABLE!) It can tip over if unevenly stressed.

The auxiliary table is so portable and handy I often take it camping in my truck when picnic tables aren't available and has dozens of other handy uses! it can be taken apart and store in a small coat closet.

Good luck, and great reloading!

Ivan
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:47 PM
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I just Googled "workmate reloading bench" and got photos and websites of Workmates in use with presses. The bench I built 45 years ago isn't much larger. Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:54 PM
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My wife bought me one at an auction for 5 bucks. I clamp the board with a strong mount on it to the WM...the press on the strong mount is a Redding T7...works fine. I have a folding TV food stand I put next to it for odds and ends I may need. I just finished doing about 400 222 Rem loads on it. I may try the 550C on it soon. I size the 223 first to trim etc with the Giraud trimmer. Makes it quick and easier to load on the 550 with the cases already sized and deprimed
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Old 07-29-2020, 04:00 PM
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Default Which Model Do I Need?

I am trying to figure out which model I should get. I am learning that the Workmate has many uses and therefor it would be used for a reloading bench and as the years go by....who knows what else. They make a 125 pound, 225 pound, 450 pound, and 550 pound version. All with price tags from $30-$140. Thank you for the help.
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Old 07-29-2020, 04:05 PM
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If I had limited space I would build my own loading “ bench” . I have two of the B&D workmates and consider them flimsy. Never considered loading off them. Wife uses them for crafts. Might get away with small and straight cases. I tore up all kind of benches until I built my present bench, it don’t move.
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:40 PM
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Using 2x4 lumber for legs, bracing, top frame and shelf supports plus 3/4 inch plywood sanded on one side for top and shelf. Anchor it to your wall.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:10 PM
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I used a WM for a few years to load shotshells. It worked great. I don't sit to load and the height seemed close to right.
I would imagine that it will hold up well for small pistol caliber loading. while some may think that it's 'flimsy' it is not. You can load the bottom up with weights to aid in stabilizing, but I never needed that.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:16 PM
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Years ago, I bought a set of steel work bench legs from Grizzly Tools (Griz is out of business now, but Harbor Freight sells them too, I believe). You complete the bench with your own lumber, and can make it as long or short as you like. Mine is very solid and stable, and was easy to build. No flex or movement, even when forming rifle brass. Anchoring to studs in the wall is a good idea for stability. I use it in my reloading room for reloading, and gun cleaning / repair.

I have reloaded in the past on flimsy and flexible benches and tables, and it really can be a chore compared to a solid bench.

The thought of being able to take down and store a bench is appealing, and in some circumstances necessary depending on needs. But, in a room designated as craft or work room, I would much rather have a permanent solid bench, even if on the small side. You will probably find a lot of uses for one besides just reloading.

I should add that my only experience with a "Work Mate" bench is one a friend had that I wasn't too impressed with, but I don't know the model or weight rating.

Larry

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Old 07-29-2020, 06:24 PM
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My Workmate is about 30 years old. It handled a Lee Progressive 1000 and a Lee Turrent press for many thousands of rounds of .45 ACP, a couple thousand .44 Special, and hundreds of .308 Win. I used it when living in the BOQ of two different military bases during my career. Had to be able to pack everyting away when done, and it worked well. I bolted the presses to 3/4"plywood and then C-clamped the plywood to the Workmate.

Of course a regular workbench is much better, but we work with what we've got, right?
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:28 PM
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My first Dillon 550 was mounted on a board held by a B&D Workmate (1982 IIRC). That 550, a second one and an RCBS Rockchucker has been mounted to that same board (2"x8or10"X5') on that same workmate to this day.

Have two later model Workmates with Dillon SDBs mounted on 2x8or10s the same width as the workmate deck.

All presses are mounted on boards and the boards are attached to the Workmates with the Workmate deck vise and C clamps.

Don't know what model they are but my workmates look like this https://www.homedepot.com/p/BLACK-DE...M225/202516379

Paul

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Old 07-29-2020, 06:31 PM
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I have a workmate 400, it gets used for a multitude of things and anemic it's not. There's a well known British Woodworker, Paul Sellers, that does videos on YouTube, he sits on his Workmate while hand planning boards he has clamped to the top, and he's not exactly a lightweight.

But that just shows the difference between the workmate models in capability, some are whimpier than others. When I am out at a friends property, I bring that workmate, a single stage press, RCBS powder scale, Lee Powder dippers and do load development/testing.

My Workmate 400 is turning 30, the only thing that's needed replacement is the work surfaces, and I've replaced them with solid wood, instead of the particle board stuff that they came with.

If I was going to be buying one specifically for a portable reloading station, that is something that I would do straight away, using thicker boards to give the top more rigidity and strength.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:33 PM
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I just like more room
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfool View Post
Years ago, I bought a set of steel work bench legs from Grizzly Tools (Griz is out of business now, but Harbor Freight sells them too, I believe). You complete the bench with your own lumber, and can make it as long or short as you like. Mine is very solid and stable, and was easy to build. No flex or movement, even when forming rifle brass. Anchoring to studs in the wall is a good idea for stability. I use it in my reloading room for reloading, and gun cleaning / repair.

I have reloaded in the past on flimsy and flexible benches and tables, and it really can be a chore compared to a solid bench.

The thought of being able to take down and store a bench is appealing, and in some circumstances necessary depending on needs. But, in a room designated as craft or work room, I would much rather have a permanent solid bench, even if on the small side. You will probably find a lot of uses for one besides just reloading.

Larry
Grizzly Tools out of business??? Their website is still going strong.... and no mention of any difficulties.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:39 PM
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Thank you very much for the help. I see where some people in videos have added strength to the top of a Workmate by adding 3/4 plywood. Then they use the holes that are already drilled in the wood of the Workmate. They bolt the plywood on top and start reloading. I think I am going to end up with a Workmate as it is very versatile and has many uses geyond a reloading bench.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunhacker View Post
Grizzly Tools out of business??? Their website is still going strong.... and no mention of any difficulties.
I may very well be wrong about that. The one I used to frequent, in Muncy, PA, closed down years ago. I was like a kid in a candy store in that place.

Larry
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:46 PM
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I have an old WM that my dad bought probably 40 years ago. I have a Dillon SDB mounted rock a desk but for 44 mag and 357 that I load limited amounts I load them with an ancient Rock Chucker mounted on a piece of 2x4 and clamped to the WM. I’ve loaded using it for about 30 years with no problems. I rarely load rifle cartridges but when I do it’s with the RC on that bench. I have loaded up to 30-06 and 308 with no problems.

The nice thing it’s so easy to store.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:47 PM
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I've used a WM a time or two and it worked fine doing pistol cartridges. I could also see a small bench top hinged solidly to the wall that would fold up or down. I don't have a specific plan in mind but it shouldn't be too hard to dream up some kind of fold away or detachable legs.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:46 PM
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If you want to buy something stout and foldable try looking at Dewalt Jaw Horse. Cost more but worth having and handy for many things beyond hobby weight stuff.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:51 PM
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Workmate 400
2 Rockchuckers
1 RC Jr

Works just fine and dandy.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:56 PM
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My WM is the lightest weight version, but it works well for my MEC 600 Jr which is bolted to a piece of plywood the size of the WM top then clamped down with C-clamps.

Somebody designed an add-on top with a shelf to go on a WM. There is a picture below. I've had building one of these on the back burner for a long time.

Froggie
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:55 PM
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Back in the mid 90's, my folks retired to AZ. I had put up a 12' x 16' barn on their property to house my camping and gun gear and my reloading set ups. So I then had to come up with something to use in my apt. to use my reloaders.

Since I lived in an apt. space was important. I bought a Work Make and mounted my Dillon 550 on thick plywood. Glued and screwed a 1x6 under the plywood, that I had cut the edges to 45* on a table saw. That way, when the Work Make table top vise was closed, it bit into the 45* bevels and held the press tight. Used this for a couple of years until I got a permanent place.

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Old 07-30-2020, 12:41 PM
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BTDT for a few years before I got a dedicated reloading "place"...
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Old 07-30-2020, 01:30 PM
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My Lee Classic turret press and older Lee C-press are bolted to a 1" (not nominal) thick piece of white oak. For many years I would C-clamp it to the Workmate or other surface. In the past year I have drilled holes in the oak and then used 1/2" carriage bolts to bolt it to the Workmate. Rock solid now, even though it really wasn't a problem before.
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Old 07-30-2020, 03:05 PM
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I used a Workmate for multiple years and it was great. More than sturdy enough.

I used it in two different versions:

1. When I started I made a "T" from 2x6 lumber. The short part of the T was not exactly at the top of the "T".....more like a 't'. The short arm of the T was on top of the long arm. So when the long arm was clamped in the WM the short arm was wide enough to go to the edges of the WM top. I then mounted my press to one end of the short side of the T. On the other end of that short part of the T I mounted my case trimmer. When I wanted to trim I'd unscrew the WM jaws, flip the T 180 degrees so the trimmer was in front.

2. When I wanted a little larger work surface I took two pieces of plywood and screwed them together. Then I screwed onto the bottom a piece that the WM jaws could grab onto. I then mounted my press to this "topper".

The largest case I sized on this setup was a .30-06. More than sturdy enough.

OR

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Old 07-30-2020, 03:38 PM
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Put a thick piece of plywood or something similar on top and load them up.
Carbide dies, a bit of lube and that will make it easy.
I have a bench for my presses and do my priming/powdering on a different bench/table. I scoop and weigh with the Lee dippers, a 505 and hand prime.

Cases that fall on the ground are cleaned/dried before sizing and decapping... just a rinse in soapy water.
A universal decapping die is useful.
We use an ultrasonic to clean the brass but not often.

Anchoring the WM to the floor or a wall can't hurt.
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