Author Topic: Workbench finish  (Read 4868 times)

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Offline JJ Wavra

  • Posts: 247
Workbench finish
« on: June 24, 2008, 11:05 AM »
Hello all,

I am currently building myself a carving bench.  I baught the sides but have made the top.  I made the top like kitchen counter tops but "beefier".  It is strips of maple about 2" thick  laminated together and is about 2' by 4'.  My question is what would a good finish for it be.  I am considering just polishing the wood and not putting any finish on it but I am looking for ideas.  I just don't want there to be much warping and I am not sure if just polishing it would take care of that.


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Offline Rom Lee

  • Posts: 47
Re: Workbench finish
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 04:02 PM »
Try a Danish oil/varnish finish.  General Finish and Watco are two widely available brands.  After drying, Danish oil does not leave a slick or shiny finish.  It's extremely easy to apply as well as strip when you need to refinish.  When I refinish my bench (too many errant glue drips, dings, abrasions, and etc.), I plane the top flat or just sand the top and then apply a first coat of finish (a brush works all right but I wipe it on instead since I've got rows of dog holes to avoid getting finish into), let it dry overnight and then apply a final coat.  Let the last coat dry a couple of days if you can.  I don't try to build a lot of film on the top.  The two coats seem to provide all the protection it needs for the kind of work I do (mainly planing edges and ends, shaping with rasps and files and assembly).  I have two MFT800's for just about everything else.

General Finish has several tints available in its Danish oil finish.  I use "natural".

For more info, Christopher Swartz (Popular Woodworking) has written extensively about bench design, construction and finishing.  I don't think you can go wrong using his work as a reference.

Good luck.


Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2727
Re: Workbench finish
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 02:38 PM »
I have used polymerizing tung oil on my maple bench.  Several coats lightly applied and then go over it with paste wax once the finish has dried.  I got the buffing pad for the Rotex to polish it out.  Glue doesn't stick and water beads up.  Been a great finish for 10 years.  Easy to sand down with a Rotex when it needs refinishing and then repeat. 


Offline JJ Wavra

  • Posts: 247
Re: Workbench finish
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2008, 05:20 PM »
thanks guys for the tips.  I am going to look into an oil and wax finish I think.  I also ordered the schwarz book so I will give that  a read also.


Offline Grinding One

  • Posts: 40
Re: Workbench finish
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 06:46 PM »
Buy yourself a router mat,it comes in the size you made your table.During glue ups I spread mine over my top and any glue drips are on router mat  not the top.And it tends to hold things kinda stable too comes in handy for sanding too ,things stay put...I used a paste wax on my table and its holding up fine
How many tools are enough