I think I may have over smoothed

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Forum topic by spclPatrolGroup posted 08-21-2014 05:51 AM 1377 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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233 posts in 2921 days

08-21-2014 05:51 AM

Building a workbench out of SYP, I went over the top with my #4 and it has a shiny smooth surface, but it may be too slippery, I am now thinking that I should sand it down with 120 grit or something to keep things from sliding around like its made of ice. I plan to finish it with some homemade Danish oil. It seems such an odd thing to do, intentionally roughing the surface prior to finishing, am I crazy?

11 replies so far

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233 posts in 2921 days

#1 posted 08-21-2014 06:03 AM

Phytessence Wakame – This sea kelp from Japan is very effective at rejuvenating the skin. You want to look for an all-natural product that has ingredients that are good enough to eat. Do you publish videos of your Anti Aging Cream online for the amusement of mates? I reckon that they were riding on my coattails.
Pets wrinkles can also be an indication that you are getting old or you are not getting the nutrients you need. To top it off it also protects the skin from the damage caused by Best Anti-Aging Serums the UV rays of the sun.
- KenBien

So I should rub sea kelp from japan on my workbench? I checked and Rockler, Woodcraft and Lee Valley are all out of sea kelp, any lumber jocks in Japan that can help?

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Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#2 posted 08-21-2014 10:16 AM

This subject has come up before. I think it was Schwartz that recommended taking a toothing plane to it. Many disagreed, including myself.

I’d try it. Pine scuffs up pretty quickly and you can always rough it up if you need to. I don’t think you will.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2645 days

#3 posted 08-21-2014 10:17 AM

Can’t imagine no readily available kelp in ND, but I digress.

Dave, I took a toothing iron to my benchtop and love the result… So yeah, I’d say you’re okay thinking it may be too smooth.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#4 posted 08-21-2014 11:00 AM

But I think Smitty rubbed his bench with sea kelp. That’s probably why it was so smooth.

I forgot Smitty did his bench (with the toothing iron, not the sea kelp).

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1678 days

#5 posted 08-21-2014 11:50 AM

I don’t think it would take you more than a minute or two to scuff it up. The Danish oil is going to add some grip, too. Might want to check it after a coat of finish and then decide.

-- -Dan

View JayT's profile


5678 posts in 2237 days

#6 posted 08-21-2014 01:00 PM

Finish it first. I smoothed the top of my pine bench and then put a coat of finish on and it gave just enough texture to work well. Don’t go overboard on the finish, too many coats will build up and you will be back to glass.

If that doesn’t give enough texture, you can take some coarse sandpaper or a toothing plane to it. If it’s good enough for Smitty and for Patrick Edwards then I don’t see a problem. The whole linked video is good, but if you just want the discourse on toothing the bench, it starts about the 2:30 mark.

Doesn’t look like Mr Edwards uses sea kelp, either. Of course, he is from the French school of woodworking, not Japanese.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1603 days

#7 posted 08-21-2014 01:33 PM

Chris Schwartz uses a toothed cutter in his plane to texture his bench top.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1961 days

#8 posted 08-21-2014 02:03 PM

Guys, I have to get in this conversation and let you know that the SEA KELP is the way to go!!! I have put Phytessence Wakame on all of my workbenches to really give them a great texture. The only issue is that it makes my hands so soft that I get cuts and bruises all the time.

I suppose if you can’t find the kelp, I would sand. I don’t have a toothing blade, so I would just reach for the sandpaper. No shame in roughing up a smooth surface if need be.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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233 posts in 2921 days

#9 posted 08-21-2014 02:48 PM

Thanks guys, due to lack of sea kelp, I think I will roughen the surface a bit, first I will apply the finish to the bottom as is and see how it goes, maybe it will raise the grain enough, before I try it on the top.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2403 days

#10 posted 08-21-2014 02:56 PM

Sandpaper can leave grit imbedded in the bench top, which it turn could mess up your irons….If it is flat, I’d just go to work on it,

SYP is soft enough in a week or two of working on it you will not have to worry about slickness unless you used a slick finish. I’ve used SYP benches for a long time, slickness ain’t a problem for long. Just a little BLO if you like, some glue dribbles, maybe a few “Tried and True” spills, a couple whacks of a mallet, a chisel cut or two and it will be as if you have worked on it for years.

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2411 days

#11 posted 08-21-2014 03:05 PM

Also remember that the first coat of any finish is going to raise the grain a little, thereby making it less smooth…that may be enough. I just finished my SYP workbench last winter, flattened it with a Jointer plane (didn’t smooth it, that might make it less flat)....then put a few coats of Tung oil on it. Slipery-ness is not a problem.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

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