Finishing an "outdoor" workbench

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Joseph Cataldie posted 11-21-2011 11:10 PM 3739 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Joseph Cataldie's profile

Joseph Cataldie

71 posts in 3239 days

11-21-2011 11:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing workbench outdoor

I’ve been building a new workbench and am in the process of deciding which finish I should use on it.

Normally, I would not bother with a finish and would leave it bare wood, but this particluar bench is for use in my unenclosed carport. The workbench will spend most of its time under the protection of the carport roof, but I live in South Louisiana, so heavy, sideways rain and extreme humidity/fog are issues that I will be faced with. I anticiipate it will get wet that at least 5 or 6 times per year. UV is not an issue.

The top is made from a birch sheathed, solid core door with a red oak edge band. I’ve already put a couple of light coats of Minwax stain on it.

I don’t necessarily want a thick, poly type finish. I’ve thought about using TWP and just really wiping away the excess. The idea of wax doesn’t sit well with me, because I don’t want any wax to transfer to my workpieces and cause problems when I go to stain them. Something with the same feel and grip of bare wood, but water resistant, would be ideal.



-- Joey C., Baton Rouge, LA,

4 replies so far

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 3989 days

#1 posted 11-22-2011 12:16 AM

You might look at a product from Howard Products called SunWax. Yes it does have UV protection but also beeswax,carnauba, and orange oil. Sunwax as needed to help preserve the original color in teak and other tropical hardwoods and help keep the wood from turning gray. Enhances the natural beauty and depth of grain in outdoor wood furniture and provides extra protectioon from the sun and weather. If you would like any more information I would be happy to send it to youl

-- DeputyDawg

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3055 days

#2 posted 11-22-2011 12:25 AM

Joey, I’m in much the same situation you are, sans rain(I’m in deep south Texas). Open carport, etc. I’ll be watching this thread. Care to share a few pictures of your build. I’m stilll in the planning stages, and planning isn’t my strong suit.

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3984 days

#3 posted 11-22-2011 01:11 AM

Hate to tell ya, but you’re screwed. There may be some temporary fixes, but that much water on a bench with a laminatd top is deadly for the bench. Is there no way to protect your worktop (as in a cover)? MinWax stain is no protection whatsoever. Stay away from that crap. It is color only. See a marine boat shop in your area. There may be some help with an exterior spar varnish. You’ll have to refresh the finish frequently. Keep the legs off the concrete to diminish absorption. Maybe some vinyl leg levelers?


View Joseph Cataldie's profile

Joseph Cataldie

71 posts in 3239 days

#4 posted 11-22-2011 03:24 AM

Dawg: Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it. I’ve used the Feed-n-wax on your website with nice results on interior furniture. I’m still a bit weary about wax transfer from the bench to my work pieces though.

Mickey: Not much to show yet- just the top. I don’t anticipate it being anything too fancy, but I’ll post a few pics when I get further on it. I have to work on it in between my other projects, so it may take a while.

Bill: Come on, buddy! I’m more optimistic than that! I’m aware of the pitfalls of the laminated top outdoors and have no problem reapplying a finish every so often… Nothing’s forever, right? I’m even ok with adding a 1/8 luan or hardboard top down the road, if need be. The Minwax was just to add a little color, with no expectation of sealing anything. Let me clarify by reiterating that it won’t be out in the direct weather and rain, but as you know (being from Mississippi) when it rains down here, it’s for real. I get moisture in my concrete about 5 feet into my carport during a good storm and the fog just this morning was enough to put a thin layer of moisture on everything. Good call on keeping the bench off the concrete. I don’t get standing water, but the moisture alone could eventually become a problem.

Does anyone see a problem with something like TWP or Thompson’s Water Sealer?

-- Joey C., Baton Rouge, LA,

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics