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Thread: Best sealer/protection for Workbench top

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,993
    Nothing on my primary working bench. Formica on the one used for glue-ups and finishing. Not sure what advantage, if any, a finish on the working bench top would provide. I plane it every few years when it seems to be grungy. While the formica tops are badly stained at this point, glue drips still pop off easily and most excess finish comes off when scraped with a razor blade.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast virginia
    Posts
    25
    I finish mostly with shellac and save the remnants. When I plane the top every three or four years I use the leftover shellac and lightly sand the finish with 60 grit paper to reduce slips. This protects from water and oil. Old shellac works OK for this if not for your furniture.

  3. #18
    Another vote for nothing. Grip for hand tool work is more important than any benefits a finish offers, and it gets resurfaced every year or two, so no point in attempting to pretty it up.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    MT
    Posts
    506
    3-2-1 Finish is what I used on mine.

    3 parts: paint thinner or mineral spirits
    2 parts: oil based polyurethane
    1 part: oil (boiled linseed oil)
    Regards,

    Kris

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    The best protection is a sheet of 1/8" hardboard.
    Actually my favorite bench tops are 1/4" unfinished tempered Masonite. By far the most useful and nicest to use.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Ogden, UT
    Posts
    958
    I use brown paper on top of my bench when gluing up. I never glue or finish without some type of paper between the project and the workbench top... and I don't use anything to coat the top. Works great, no clean up, just roll the paper back up to use again.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,368
    Nothing other than the ring marks from a cold beverage after flattening.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    178
    Nothing. When it gets too beat up, or too much finish ends up on the top, I hit it with 80 grit on the ROS and it's good as new with a few quick passes. Glue drips get knocked off with a painters 5-in-1 that I keep next to my cans of finish.

    I should probably check if it's still flat, but I've taken to using my tablesaw as the flat surface (really just for checking that tables and chairs don't rock) since "flat enough" covers 95% of my workbench needs.

    Edit- also my workbench is SYP. Partially because I was cheap when I built it and ripped down 2x8s to end up with a nice thick 3" top slab, and partially because I want a workbench soft enough that when I inevitably smack a project board against it I damage the workbench and not the project. I've got numerous dents and dings to prove that a sacrificial workbench is a BIG benefit for me.
    Last edited by Myles Moran; 01-14-2022 at 7:42 AM.

  9. #24
    I use shellac. It works fine for my pine bench. YMMV
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    N Illinois
    Posts
    4,650
    Hmmmm. Several votes for nothing (leave it alone).....Many different approaches.....Like doing a thread on sharpening....Most of us have a personal favorite.
    One man's meat is another man's poison......Oh well...
    Jerry

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Posts
    1,222
    Well, you could easily try nothing, blo, and a film finish. You might just have to re-plane in the end.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,578
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Well, you could easily try nothing, blo, and a film finish. You might just have to re-plane in the end.
    Yea..divide the surface into thirds and use each method on a third. Work on the bench for six months and decide which is preferred..
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Posts
    1,222
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Yea..divide the surface into thirds and use each method on a third. Work on the bench for six months and decide which is preferred..
    Or each for a couple months. It's not difficult to just plane off a surface finish, if you decide you don't like it. A whole lot easier than flattening in the first place.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,578
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Or each for a couple months. It's not difficult to just plane off a surface finish, if you decide you don't like it. A whole lot easier than flattening in the first place.
    True, but one advantage to side by side, as long as one distributes work evenly is to be able to compare them directly. I'd actually consider doing the thirds lengthwise for that reason...may be easier to divide the work evenly.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Posts
    1,222
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    True, but one advantage to side by side, as long as one distributes work evenly is to be able to compare them directly. I'd actually consider doing the thirds lengthwise for that reason...may be easier to divide the work evenly.
    Sure, but I use pretty much my whole bench frequently. I wouldn't be able to tell much.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

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