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Thread: Best sealer/protection for Workbench top

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,603
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Sure, but I use pretty much my whole bench frequently. I wouldn't be able to tell much.
    So for you, since you use the whole surface of your bench a lot, a simultaneous test of all three methods would work well in my mind! But Professor Dr. SWMBO would likely worry about what's in my mind... LOL
    --

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

  2. #32
    I use a 3:2:1 mix of turpentine/mineral spirits, boiled linseed oil and oil-based varnish (a classic hobbyist finish option back in the 80s). Having some kind of finish makes it easier to keep the bench clean and this one's super easy--plus I have a bunch of left-over old BLO and varnish to somehow use up now that I don't put this stuff on actual furniture due to the proliferation of other options.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Itapevi, SP - Brazil
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    660
    I use boiled linseed oil on my bench.

    I do not share the idea to use anything that make the surface slippery, so, wax is completely out of my own considerations.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
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    A bit late, have been keeping an eye on this thread. I agree it depends on what you are doing, and what you are using for workholding. I only have one bench, I use it for power tools, hand tool joinery and glue ups and finishing.

    I originally did the entire bench with two coats of 1-1-1 BLO-paint thinner- varnish. It is enough to keep the cat from using the legs as a scratching post. The first time I had to flatten the top I left it bare wood and find it works well for me. For glue and finishing I put down a sacrificial layer like parchment paper. Holdfasts work much better (for me) when the top is unfinished (mine is all Doug Fir, mostly edge grain). When I have room for a separate assembly table I will probably go with formica as has already been mentioned or perhaps a clear film finish like varnish or urethane, or perhaps a masonite type hardboard.

    Try something. If you don't like it, plane it off. I have concluded I will never ever ever be completely satisfied with my shop. There will always be something that could be improved I think. I have lowered my expectations from having a perfect shop to having an adequate shop to do the work I want to do and it has been quite freeing.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    I agree Scott, since I use single point stops a good part of the time having no finish on it is great. I even like it if the grain's raised a bit from wiping off glue.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  6. #36
    id have no interest in hardboard on a cabinet bench. For a work bench car parts and other things maybe, I have an old oak door for that. I havent put finishes on the cabinet benches so far but one that sits near a wood stove like to put danish oil on it, Its had to be hand be hand planed a few times. Name brand not made right.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
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    2,413
    Back in high school wood shop they had us wax the benches so glue drips wouldn't stick to them. They were like skating rinks. I used BLO on mine. It has protected well and isn't slippery.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #38
    work bench is not for glue ups, likely done it enough times but its the wrong thing.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    In a High School wood shop, the benches were for everything but spraying finish.

    In my tiny shop, the bench is for glue ups out of necessity. I protect it with sheet cardboard or wax paper. A dried glue booger can tear the hell out of a project that gets slid over it or clamped on top of it.

    DAMHIKT
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,603
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    work bench is not for glue ups, likely done it enough times but its the wrong thing.
    For many folks, it's necessarily so, however. In some cases, a simple cover can protect it, but sometimes the bench itself has to be used for clamping, etc., so...you deal with the aftermath.
    --

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

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    647
    I use cut-to-length clear vinyl runners. My bench is 30x72 and found a 30" wide runner and bought 6 feet. Works perfect.
    Distraction could lead to dismemberment!

  12. #42
    I clamp on horses.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Okotoks AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    work bench is not for glue ups, likely done it enough times but its the wrong thing.
    Not the wrong thing at all. A workbench is for glue ups, and is a great platform for it because it is a flat, rigid surface. Just have a strategy for dealing with the glue. A single coating of penetrating oil finish works well.

  14. #44
    A single sheet of poly (Visqueen) works perfectly well to protect the benchtop during glue-ups.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    268
    I recycle the shrink wrap that they use to cover boats for the winter. I cut it up into tarps, drop cloths and bench sized pieces. It is tough stuff and ideal for my purposes.

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