Finish for workbench

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Forum topic by mjheck posted 04-03-2015 06:35 PM 898 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mjheck's profile


17 posts in 1176 days

04-03-2015 06:35 PM

I’m in the process of building another workbench for my shop(Can never have enough work space). I am putting together two salvaged pieces of bowling alley made of VG old growth Douglas Fir to make a 3’ x 8’ top. I have sanded it down to bare wood and am looking for some ideas on what finish to use. I’m leaning toward an oil but would like to hear from members to see what successes(and problems) you have had. Thanks in advance.
PS. I have used Lumberjocks in the past to research tool purchases and have finally signed up as a member. Your advice has been critical in my decisions.

5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4767 posts in 2378 days

#1 posted 04-03-2015 06:39 PM

My preference is for a 1/3 BLO 1/3 spar varnish 1/3 MS mix. It is readily renewable and not too slick and cheap.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3575 posts in 2278 days

#2 posted 04-03-2015 06:43 PM

+1 to Bondo’s comment. I left my bench without a finish—I was concerned that whatever I put on the top would make it too slick.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2825 days

#3 posted 04-03-2015 07:33 PM

My bench has a composite top so I finished it but if it were a solid one I think I would follow Patrick Edwards’ lead ….....leave it unfinished and scrub it down with a toothing plane occasionally as required. He has many years on his bench and it is a s good now as it was when new.

You can hear it from him here.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2520 days

#4 posted 04-03-2015 07:36 PM

I use beeswax/turpentine (can substuitute MS if needed)/BLO. Dissolve the beeswax into the solvent, then mix with BLO. This finish almost guarantees that glue will pop right off, is easy to maintain, and has no film to flake.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile


1701 posts in 2016 days

#5 posted 04-03-2015 10:00 PM

Depending on what someone uses a bench for, leaving the top unfinished may work well. With all of the glue, drinks, and all that gets spilled on mine, I’ve opted to finish it to keep liquids from soaking in. I use poly diluted 50%, let it soak in about 5 minutes, then wipe it off. Pretty much a Danish oil type treatment.

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