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Poly on worktable how to roughen

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Forum topic by unclearthur posted 01-27-2018 04:03 AM 333 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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unclearthur

174 posts in 1750 days


01-27-2018 04:03 AM

So I’m finishing a small workbench, which I’d like to use for, amongst other things, hand tools.

However, the bench is made out of Spruce – a softwood (cost considerations) and for esthetic reasons I don’t want to put a layer of hardboard or anything on top.

I’m going to finish it in polyurethane, because I want the protection for the wood – otherwise the wood is so soft that it becomes a tragic surface over time, with things embedded in the fibre which then can scratch work-pieces etc.

However, many have said that poly on a workbench is too slippery – not good esp. for hand tools.

Any suggestions for making the final poly surface rough enough to provide adequate grip? Maybe only sanding to 40 grit before finishing? Or sanding the surface after putting on the poly?

Thanks for any suggestions


9 replies so far

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jmos

823 posts in 2332 days


#1 posted 01-27-2018 02:21 PM

Keep in mind it is a work bench, it’s a tool, and it will get banged up. You can always resurface down the road if it gets too bad.

If you really want to go the poly route, I’d just wipe on a couple of thin coats and not try to build a film finish. Get enough on there to seal the pores, and give a little protection. At least for the top; the base isn’t a problem to go with a thicker finish.

Leaving the top surface rougher is probably a good idea. I’m not sure scuff sanding a final thick film (if you go that route) finish would give you a lot of bite, but it couldn’t hurt.

I also avoid doing any work on my bench that may leave dust or chips that could damage projects; like metal work. You can always vacuum it good, but I don’t want to take the risk.

-- John

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LittleShaver

305 posts in 582 days


#2 posted 01-27-2018 03:44 PM

Might I suggest shellac? Easy to apply, easy to renew, easy to remove the glue drips that happen. I have an old patternmakers bench and that’s what they used. If it was good enough for a pattern maker, it’s good enough for me. When it starts looking bad, a few passes with a card scraper evens things up and I hit it with a quick coat of shellac (usually the bottom of a can from another project).

-- Sawdust Maker

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bondogaposis

4680 posts in 2313 days


#3 posted 01-27-2018 05:27 PM

Make a mixture of poly/ BLO/ minerals spirits in equal amounts. Not as durable as poly but not as slippery either. Easy to reapply when it needs refurbishing, you won’t have to strip it off.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Woodknack

11475 posts in 2342 days


#4 posted 01-27-2018 05:46 PM

None of my workbenches have a finish, and they look a little worse for wear. But they can be planed at any time but as long as they stay flat I’ll leave them alone.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rick

9415 posts in 2995 days


#5 posted 01-27-2018 08:20 PM


None of my workbenches have a finish, and they look a little worse for wear. But they can be planed at any time but as long as they stay flat I ll leave them alone.

- Rick_M

Same as mine Rick. I expect it to get all marked up. No big deal. I scrape it back to an acceptable finish. usually throw on a fast coat of Water Based Poly or leftover Paint just to seal it up.

This “Quick Build Auxiliary Bench”, Totally Portable. (3/4 Hours Max.! to build) It got the Plush Treatment! Some leftover Stain and and 2 coats of Poly. Also some much needed Storage on the lower shelf.

Spruce is soft? Not up here in Canada it’s not. All our houses are framed in Spruce. (I did a few Dozen.) It’s hard and is not easy to work with for anything that you want a nice finish on. In fact you can’t get a nice finish on it.

Rick #2 …lol…

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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BurlyBob

5395 posts in 2228 days


#6 posted 01-27-2018 08:25 PM

Art just slap on 3-4 coats and don’t worry about it. It’ll get scuffed, dinged up and glue smeared in no time. Mine did!

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unclearthur

174 posts in 1750 days


#7 posted 01-27-2018 11:01 PM


Spruce is soft? Not up here in Canada it s not. All our houses are framed in Spruce. (I did a few Dozen.) It s hard and is not easy to work with for anything that you want a nice finish on. In fact you can t get a nice finish on it.

Rick #2 …lol…

- Rick

I’m “up here” in Canada too, for sure Spruce (I think its spruce anyways, Home Depot SPF Spruce-Pine-Fir stuff) is strong, great for framing, but its pretty soft, just try digging your fingernail into it. With a little carelessness its easy to get stuff embedded in it which can scratch workpieces. As I’m putting a vice and an inset vice on the bench, it’ll be some hassle to redo the top very often…...

Anyways I like the idea of thin coats of thinned poly on top of a roughly sanded surface. (Dont have any shellac).

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jimintx

760 posts in 1547 days


#8 posted 01-27-2018 11:24 PM

I heartedly second using shellac spray.

I often pick up a can or two when I am in Home Depot. They carry the Zinsser Bulls Eye spray shellac cans. It gets used for a large fraction of things I build, and essentially everything I build for the shop. I spray it on shelves, tables, cabinets, tool hanging brackets, you name it.

I have a sacrificial sheet of tempered hardboard on one work surface. It is 3/16” think. A full 4×8 sheet is less than $15 at the big DIY-lumber stores. My main bench is covered with unfinished plywood that can be replaced if ever needed.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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Rick

9415 posts in 2995 days


#9 posted 01-28-2018 12:02 AM

Spruce is soft? Not up here in Canada it s not. All our houses are framed in Spruce. (I did a few Dozen.) It s hard and is not easy to work with for anything that you want a nice finish on. In fact you can t get a nice finish on it.

Rick #2 …lol…

- Rick

I m “up here” in Canada too, for sure Spruce (I think its spruce anyways, Home Depot SPF Spruce-Pine-Fir stuff) is strong, great for framing, but its pretty soft, just try digging your fingernail into it. With a little carelessness its easy to get stuff embedded in it which can scratch workpieces. As I m putting a vice and an inset vice on the bench, it ll be some hassle to redo the top very often…...

Anyways I like the idea of thin coats of thinned poly on top of a roughly sanded surface. (Dont have any shellac).

- unclearthur

Spruce, Pine and Fir are 3 totally different types of wood. I’ve built my 3 Living Room Tables from PINE. I could NOT have done it with SPRUCE! You: (“I think its spruce anyways,”) You don’t know the difference between Spruce and Pine? Spruce is also NOT Soft. Pine IS Soft. Good luck digging your Fingernail into Spruce..

I don’t know what part of Canada You live in but in Ontario they would never use PINE for Framing a House! Pine would cost at least twice as much to frame a house, compared to Spruce. Yes! I know what I’m talking about I still do some consulting and ran a General Contracting Company building Custom Homes for many years.

Good luck on your Workbench.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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