Metal desktop for attaching press?

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darkwater67

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Aug 7, 2009
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I am getting a Lee turret press for reloading soon, and am looking around for a suitable workbench/table to mount it on. There's a metal desk, possibly military surplus, that a friend is giving away, the top of which appears to have a thin laminate surface over a thin layer of steel, about the thickness of a decent filing cabinet, 14 gauge steel at best. There's about a 1 inch lip around the edge of the desk where the sheet metal is bent back on itself, so there would be a little more strength on the edge compared to the middle. If I mount the press onto the desk, will this metal stand up to the repetitive action of the lever or would the bolts eventually stress the metal and pop out of their holes? Would it hold up better if I also ran the bolts thru a wood block or metal plate underneath the desktop?
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
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I have some presses mounted on an old metal office desk but it sounds like it's heavier than yours. I'd go with a piece of wood underneath to spread the load.

Dennis.
 

bearing01

Bearcat
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Sep 15, 2009
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My concern would be if the table top would bend or wobble while working the press. There is quite a bit of twisting force on the edge of the table trying to keep the press still while you operate the ram. If the table top is flimsy then it could cause the table top to bend up/down in the middle as you operate the press. A metal top would be nice. But if the metal is thin I'd consider running a long sheet of plywood from the table edge to the opposite side of the table and mount the wood underneath the table top. Then mount the press to the table and through the wood.
 

rugerjunkie

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To fix the problem of the table edge flexing (and you can break the table) I used a 1/4'' steel plate under the press and reinforced the bottom with 2'' angle iron that sandwiches the table frame and is bolted together to the top plate. Locks everything in solid...I will tip the table over now before anything gives.
 

darkwater67

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Aug 7, 2009
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141
Thanks for the input, everyone! I think I'll keep my eyes open for something a bit sturdier that won't flex as much. Even a thicker metal or wood tabletop sounds like it could use additional bracing around the press where most of the stress originates.
 

Rick Courtright

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Mar 10, 2002
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darkwater67":1s21s0q2 said:
Thanks for the input, everyone! I think I'll keep my eyes open for something a bit sturdier that won't flex as much. Even a thicker metal or wood tabletop sounds like it could use additional bracing around the press where most of the stress originates.

Hi,

Yes, there's a lot of "flex" in many bench mounts! I'm not real sure a lot of what's reported as flex in a particular press isn't actually the mounting surface giving a little. I can just start to lift the back edge of mine w/ a Lee Challenger, which is hardly a beefy press.

Anyway, I didn't want to drill holes thru the metal top of my bench, so I mounted all my presses on wooden bases drilled w/ a common pattern. Then I got two sheets of 3/4" particle board, spread a little glue between 'em and drilled them w/ the same pattern. The press base is bolted to them, and they're C-clamped to the top. (The particle board top has enough overhang over the metal top I can swap presses quickly w/o having to disturb it.)

That way, if I want to use just the metal top, I can take the other stuff off and it's undamaged...

Rick C
 

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