Setting up my own mini gunsmith garage setup

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing & Repairs' started by 4Freedom, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I just moved into a house with a giant garage. I am alotting different areas of the garage for different purposes. One part is for car, other is for gym and one part will be where I work, clean and lube my guns. I wanted to get a setup with benches, one which I can install one of those heavyweight iron/steel type of vises that will allow you to clamp your guns in mid-air without any other suppport. I seen some gunsmiths with some heavy-duty bench setups. I was wondering what ideas and places I can purchase some good benches that would be practically for a workstation for where I handle my guns. I guess I am trying to imitate the workbench areas I see gunsmiths have, but I don't need anything quite so sophisticated. Eventually, I want to get into reloading and want a reloading station in this area as well.

    Any ideas of places and equipment that would be good to setup your own gun workstation in your garage. I have around 50-100 sq ft to work with here.
  2. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    There's so much left to the particular person, as to wants/needs, that I'm not sure that there will ever be one size fits all.

    I think you need to figure out what equipment you're going to have, going to get, and what you'll be doing. Specialized, or general 'smithing.

    Look at Ted Yost's set up here;

    http://www.heirloomprecision.com/photos/shop/

    Here's my set up;

    With the exception some track lighting added, to the wall up high on the left...

    [​IMG]
  3. OFADAN

    OFADAN Well-Known Member

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    Cool target in the center of your room! Where can I get one?
  4. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Hi Wichaka... Thanks for posting a pic of your workstation. Yeah, I remember from seeing it, that your setup was kind of the ideal of what I was looking for. I still had it in the back of my mind, but forgot what it looked like exactly. I am not too picky and I don't think I have the time to setup anything as extravagant as yours for now. However, I would say your little workshop is kinda what I am looking for in the long run. Did you say you built those work tables yourself? I like the wood work benches with the drawers, real nice. Looks like custom work. I might need to find something that can be constructed in less time. I also don't really have any great carpentry skills.

    Another question I have is where did you get your vise and how did you install it? I bought a Tipton gun vise, but I rather have one of those iron/steel gun vises I can attach to my bench.

    Oh yeah, I am in a rental, so I cannot leave any permanent damage to the place and would probably have to remove my workstation before I move out. :(

    I will take a look at the link you gave me as well.

    Thanks.
  5. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    My cousin is a cabinet maker, so he volunteered to make the bench to my specs.

    What I find is that too many commercial/production made benches are too low.

    I had him set mine at 40" height, keeps the back bending to a minimum.
    The vice is made by Wilton. Nothing fancy, just a good quality vice. As you can see in the pic, I sit it on top of a 1" block, and used 4 bolts to secure it to the bench. The jaw height is right at 48"

    As for a rental, my bench is attached to the wall studs using deck screws. The bench is in 2 pieces, screwed together at the corner. So in reality, one could take my benches out and move them if need be.
  6. Mutoman

    Mutoman Active Member

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    I have a section of my garage that I had set up as a recording studio when my oldest son was pursing his music career (hobby). Since, my youngest son has turned it into a studio apartment. Soon, it will be mine again!

    I can't wait to get my guns and workbench set up. Just waiting the kid out, don't want to rush him, but.....
  7. MountainBear

    MountainBear Well-Known Member

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    I'm jealous. I have no room to work in my current location...
  8. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    To rsmccsman,
    Do you think you can perhaps ask that question in another thread. I don't want it to get off topic and I am interested in hearing people's advice on building my own mini garage setup.

    THanks.


    To Wichaka,
    I was wondering if you can tell me the dimensions of each of your desks. That is, if you happen to know them off the top of your head. I like to know the dimensions (Height x Width x Depth) of the desk with the AR-15 on top of it and the desk with the vice. It looks like two desks merged into one L-shaped workstation, is that correct? Or, is it one solid piece? Today, I am going to home depot and I am going to attempt a basic free standing custom built desk, using 2x4s and plywood. It won't even come close to anything you have shown me.
  9. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    From right to left, the long bench along the back wall is 9'2". That's including the trim board on the edge.

    From the far wall forward to the vice is 6' 7", again including the trim board on the edge of the top. Depth is 25 1/2" including the trim board.

    It has a masonite top, with maple trim on the edge and backboard. The structure is made from 3/4" plywood, screwed and glued together.

    Its 2 benches that meet where the the drawers are. If you look close to the left of the last drawer, you'll see double vertical trim boards. So the bench that has the vice on it, was made in a slight L shape, then the part with the drawers is the other part.
  10. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for posting the specs.. Today, I will be going to Home Depot. Lowes, was my first pick, but their saw is broken. I will examine your specs and see what I can apply to the table I am going to build. How expensive and where can you find masonite? I suppose a solid 3/4" plywood top would be sufficient? I was examining some plans of some other workbenches and that is what they said to use. I suppose it would be the cheapest way to go.

    THe maple trim is real nice, but I don't think I can do anything so fancy.
    Your table is appealing to the eyes, but anything I build, will look like something I will want to hide from plain view. LOL.

    I see what you are talking about now with the L-shaped table connecting to the other shorter table. If I was going to go the L-shaped route, I think it be easier for me to just connect two straight desks together; I don't think I have the skill to cut wood into such a shape. One reason I cannot pull off the L-shaped desk is that the house vacuum system device is attached to the wall and is in the way; I wish I could tear that thing down and put it somewhere else :angry: . All other corners of the garage are not feasible, so I am stuck using a long stretch of wall extending from one corner of the garage.

    I was considering a depth of 30" and a height of 38".. Maybe, I will consider making the depth 26". I thought due to limited space, a bit more depth would give me a bit more work area, without having to do too much bending.
  11. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    The top is 3/4" plywood, with the masonite glued to it..to give a smooth top to work. If you do the same, use either liquid nails, or some kind of strong epoxy/adhesive...the type where you apply it, let it dry somewhat then attach.

    The maple was added as the trim as that's all he had. For trim you can use anything, but I would recommend a hardwood...alder, birch etc.

    Masonite isn't too expensive.
  12. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I took the easy way out for now... I bought an 8 foot folding table with fiberboard top that has a thin layer of vinyl type veneer. I am going to lift the table up using concrete blocks so the height is about 38 ".

    Maybe, this is a bad idea, but I think it may be a quick fix for now. If anyone thinks this would not work, let me know. I just decided I would like to avoid building a talbe for now, if I can.. I am really busy with work and other pressing issues that are preventing me from alloting time for a better workshop setup.

    I am hoping the folding table will be sturdy enough and stalbe onthe cement blocks. I bought some grips for the feet so they dont move.

    I think in a month or two I might try to put together a more elaborate setup. Some people suggested I buy used kitchen cabinets/counter setup and raise them up on a frame supported by plywood. That sounds real ideal, since I can get a work bench platform with already constructed cabinets.


    Wichaka, I had one more question about your setup. I was told that the vices by themselves can scratch up or damage guns. Is there a special type of pad and vice you use that would cushion the gun so that when ti is clamped the claws of the vice would not scratch the gun? I was not sure about this. I also have a Tipton Gun Vise, but I am thinking that it would not be as ideal as the iron/steel type of mounted vises, do you agree?
  13. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    If you can get ahold of some kitchen cabinets, that would be a good start. I would think there would be some used type somewhere out there, ones pulled out from a remodel job or something. Might try Craigs list.

    I have magnetic rubber cover vice jaw inserts that I put on my vice. Sears sells them, or about any well stocked tool place should have them as well.

    If you look close at the pic I posted of my shop, you'll see the pads of the vice jaws are red...that's them. And you'll also see another larger set sitting on the bench behind the vice.