Organizing a Reloading bench will depend upon whether you are right or left handed. If you are Right handed, mount your Press on the Left Side, so that it is a natural reach for component items, during the process. If you are left handed, the reverse would be true. Sometimes mounting a press in the center is even handier, and that is where I have my Dillon XL650 on my bench. Have room on either side for what I need!
Also, your work flow may be from right to left, if your press is at all progressive or semi-progressive, as that is how most presses rotate. If your press does not rotate dies or shell holders, you can organize your work flow, side to side, by whatever is convenient for right or left handed orientation.
I have raised mini-shelves for my Powder Scales. I store components on shelves separate from the bench.
I may be the odd ball in this, but I'm a southpaw and have my Lee press mounted on the left front portion of my 3' x 6' bench and I have all of the other reloading equipment to the right of the press, it just seems more natural to me working the press with my left hand. I think before you drill any holes or bolt anything down, you should go sit at your bench and visualize what you will be doing, then select where you want things to be. You can put a ton of money into this hobby, check out the other posts on reloading, there is a lot of good information already posted. BTW I picked up my "bench" from a good will store for $10, in its previous life it was a very sturdy kitchen table that is all heavy duty wood. I've now made several modifications to meet my needs and if I tried to go out and buy something similar to it I would have to pay $150-$200.
I am also a southpaw and have and old desk with my Lee press mountedon the left with the powder measure mounted behind it and my mec 600 jr press in the middle set back some,i have
a peg board on the wall and2 shelves above that with 4 shelves to the left of the desk.i bolted the top of a wood tv tray to the desk and then bolted the presses to that,i keep my bullet pullers and other tools in the drawers,only wish it was a little bigger desk.Harbor freight has a bench for around $75 that im am looking into
Okay, if you're talking reloading BENCH, I have cheap copy of a Black and Decker work mate I bought at Harbor Freight. I mounted all my presses except my old Pacific C press on 1x10s and just clamp which one I wanna use in the work bench. That way, I'm not stuck in my hot arsed shop, can bring the thing inside in the AC. You worry about that sort of thing in Texas in summer. Of course, you know that.
I have a split bench. The reloading part is to use standing up while a lower work area is for the guns. Very basic flat surfaces made from stuff that was laying around but with very heavy legs and framing.
Also, more shelving now than in the pic. Besides the Lee 4 hole turret (pictured) I also have a Rock Chucker for loading 45/70. Holes for thru bolts are drilled for that press and other things that require bolting down.
I used a solid core door, mounted on six 4x4's. Added a shelf underneath for storage. You need a solid and stable bench, because your press will exert plenty of force. Mine doesn't move. Not pretty, but doesn't move.
I have a C clamp on back of mine to keep it down in the portable bench and support it with my off hand when sizing. Works for me. My bench out in the shop whas there when I bought the place, full length and part way around the wall. It's solid and I can still use it, but I need to clean the place up and it gets rather hot out there on these 100 degree days. Only time I really have a lot of force on the press that I might need to mount it back in the shop is when necking up .22e to 7mm TCU, but I have a good supply of brass and don't shoot the gun with that barrel much anymore since I quit shooting IHMSA.
I made me a bench today out of some scraps I had laying around. I found a 12ft 4x4, a cut up 2x4 and a piece of 3/4 MDF fiber board. I would have prefered 3/4 or 5/8 plywood, but I used what I had. I made a 36x25 table 36" tall. The 4 posts are connected in a ring with 4x4's and have to pieces of 2x4 in the middle for bracing on the table top. The top is a piece of that 3/4 MDF I found. If I had enough lumber, I would have made some braces for the legs out of 2x4's, but those were a litle scarce in my wood pile. All in all, I think it's plenty sturdy.
The press is anchored down by 3 1/4x3" lag bolts into the 4x4's. I wanted 5/16 but the holes in the press weren't quit big enough.
Sounds like a good functional solution Flyer. MDF is what I used for the top of my workbench area while the standup reloading section is some 3/4 plywood with formica that was laying around. I prefer mdf over plywood as it is perfectly smooth while plywood snags just about everything. Looking forward to the pics.
Our loading room is a work in progress, but we used landscaping timbers for the legs, 2x4's for the top frame, and split a sheet of OSB lengthways for a double thickness top. I then screwed the whole thing to the wall. An old end table with 2 drawers has the tumbler attached to the top and the drawers hold brass, media, and polish. Powder, bullets, and loaded rounds are all in the closet.
The swelling problem is why I didn't use MDF for the top. I have used a bunch of it in construction though, and if you paint it or use a clear sealer it isn't a problem.
If anyone does use MDF and seals it with paint or sealer, make sure you sand any cut edges really well. MDF will soak up a lot of sealer on those edges otherwise. What I found to work best is laquer sealer (dries fast and you can get it tinted if you want a color) brushed or sprayed on in a moderate to light coat. While the edges are wet, the fiber will stand up a little. Lightly run your finger (or something) down that edge just to lay the fibers down and let dry. When it does you will be able to tell if you sanded the edges good enough because if not it will look like you haven't put any sealer on it (Will have soaked it all up). If all is well, sand the whole thing with a sanding sponge and apply a second coat to finish it up.
You'd be surprised how many kitchen and bath cabinet doors, molding, etc. in new houses is MDF. If done right it lasts a long time.