I believe that if it is currently working for you, and conditions are safe, it is functional for the time being. I usually use my coffee table at home. It is a great way for me to have my daughter(9 years old) involved. This way we can talk about any curiosity that she has, as well as learn how to clean and work on our firearms.
I understand the concern, with your kids being so young, that they may want to touch things. For all of my cleaning supplies, I use a dedicated range bag to store all of the supplies and my cleaning mat. This helps me to keep it organized and out of the way since I do not have a dedicated space for my gunsmithing at the moment.
Another option I utilize is a small folding, adjustable height table from Walmart. This allows me to be able to sit on my back porch and clean them whenever I just feel like being outdoors. My neighbors are not bothered by it, since they know I am the one who patrols my block at night for safety.
I do not have a special bench. Everything is packed in the “firearm” drawer in my basement.
When the cleaning time comes, I take everything to my kitchen and use my dining table which is close to patio door. A lot of space, bright daylight and good ventilation.
I bought a work bench that came with a vise and 4 drawers it’s 4 ft by 2 ft. It hold my reloading gear as well as room for my cleaning kit. It also has a shelf that is just about the size on the table top. Harbor Freight for about 80 dollars and it’s worth every penny. It may be more now and it fit in the perfect place in my garage.
I use an ikea coffee table. No idea how much it cost because it is ANCIENT.
@Scoutbob the one recommendation I have is to get some boxes/bins/tubs/shoeboxes to “contain” the mess (this works for ALL kinds of messes)
I have a small bin that holds rags (cleanish), patches, bore snakes, qtips. Another small bin holds cleaner, oil, grease, nitrile gloves, brushes, scrapers. I roll up the mats and lay them on top of the bins and the whole thing goes in a cubby of the coffee table. That way the coffee table itself is clean and unmessy, everything is contained in a single cubby of the coffee table.
This is what I need to do. I was planning on throwing the table out… but that didn’t happen. I actually bought a folding table to become my gun/ work bench in the garage, but when the Rona hit, I worked from home for a few months, and then the table became a permanent fixture in the house .
Some of my projects will go to the shop where there are more tools, “process” can be left out for a while, and toxic can be separated from food. But for routine cleaning and a lot of quicker projects I will schedule time at the kitchen counter — best natural light in the house, standing height, space to spread, fire, water, electric.
An organizational suggestion for using shared spaces or keeping all that toxic junk from the kids is second @Harvey: use a bin or box which will accommodate at least open inventory so you can see and access every item. Then it can be made secure and out of the every day spaces, but it only takes a minute to carry it to any available workspace and lay things out. Then another minute to pack it up and stow it until next session. Unless you’re daily building guns or cleaning for the entire militia, it may not be essential to have an exclusive dedicated gun bench. It’s swell if you can, but y’know, priorities.
I don’t have a bench myself either. I honestly work on my guns in my bed, and ALWAYS watch 13 hours. It’s my gun working/cleaning tradition.
One thing that may work to help keep your things organized is a fishing tackle box. It is what I use and I can fit all of my supplies in it, at a low cost. When I am going to clean or work on my guns, just grab that box.
Physical separation and cleanup are of serious importance — especially with kids around, but for any of us who think we still have brain cells to lose or an organ system without cancer.
But is it a bigger deal than what do you do with your hands and clothes and supplies after any shooting, maintenance, or cleanup activity wherever it occurs? Before you snack? When you change out of contaminated clothes? Do you clean up again after changing? Again after putting contaminated clothes in the laundry? Do your clothes contaminate other clothes or surfaces? As you move from any gun-related activity at any location to any food preparation or contact with others? Pump gas or change oil in your car? Clean up after a paint or refinishing project? Toxic wood dust? Blah-blah, etc, etc.
It’s all hazardous to some extent. It all takes diligent care to be safe. It all takes knowledge of the hazards and willingness to use the available abatements or mitigations.
Maybe gun stuff in the kitchen is a bigger deal, but I tend to think probably not much — be responsible to avoid and protect others from all the everyday hazards in life.