Finishing Workbench, what would you do?

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Forum topic by tpcolson posted 11-19-2019 07:31 PM 385 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2325 days

11-19-2019 07:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: butcher block bench top finish

Finishing up a laminated 2 by bench that came out better than I expected in terms of straight and flat. Finishing planing it flat this week, and have a 3 day weekend to get a finish on it. The wood is typical BORG dimensional lumber, I’m using it as an outfeed/assembly/project table. I WANT the top to be a little slippery, as I’m not doing woodworking on this bench, as an outfeed table, I want my workpieces to slide smoothly off the saw or router table onto the outfeed table. Right now I’m using plywood on sawhorses and sometimes I fight to get the workpiece to slide off the cast iron table. And I want to easily scrape up dried glue with a putty knife.

My choices are BLO, Tung, Danish, Teak, or Butcher Block oil, with no preference for any other than those are the 5 choices that I could see on the shelf at the BORG while I finished my beer. Since it’s a project bench that’s going to get very roughly abused, I want to put something on it, but not a poly. Not putting anything on it has already been discarded, this is my first wood project I’ve ever finished and didn’t fall apart over night. Don’t really care about what it looks like, I’m just looking for the best combination of oil, and maybe a paste wax? That I can reapply once a year and keep those workpieces sliding off the saw table.

12 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5682 posts in 3027 days

#1 posted 11-19-2019 07:49 PM

Poly then wax.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 2924 days

#2 posted 11-19-2019 08:35 PM

Why not poly? That’s about the only finish I would put on it. Smear on some Varathane triple thick and be done with it. Wax it periodically.
I apply the finish on my outfeed table with a staple gun. I use 1/8” tempered hardboard.


View LittleShaver's profile


638 posts in 1295 days

#3 posted 11-19-2019 08:57 PM

Shellac and maybe wax. Cheap, easy to apply, and easy to repair. Good place to use up leftovers.

-- Sawdust Maker

View OSU55's profile


2600 posts in 2665 days

#4 posted 11-19-2019 09:41 PM

#3 – shellac then wax #2 – poly then wax #1 – formica countertop material, very slippery and tough, its a tool so function over form

View Madmark2's profile (online now)


1002 posts in 1264 days

#5 posted 11-19-2019 09:57 PM

Just wax.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Be58pilot's profile


3 posts in 791 days

#6 posted 11-20-2019 12:38 AM

I used polyurethane on my outfeed/assembly table, and I have been quite happy with it. Glue clean up is a snap.

View jonah's profile


2092 posts in 3974 days

#7 posted 11-20-2019 02:16 AM

Just use whatever you have around. Water based poly or varnish would be my choice. Shellac is fine too.

View JackDuren's profile


993 posts in 1635 days

#8 posted 11-20-2019 02:18 AM

Just wax.


- Madmark2


View Aj2's profile


2775 posts in 2473 days

#9 posted 11-20-2019 02:22 AM

On my work bench I use what ever leftover finishes that I have. I’ve even mixed up tung oil with linseed oil throw in a little turpentine. Because I like the smell.
I handplane my bench flat twice a year.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View SMP's profile


1880 posts in 581 days

#10 posted 11-20-2019 05:27 AM

My go to is Arm R Seal, and usually have some on hand. But if I had to go buy some I would probably just get the Minwax wipe on poly from the Borg for half the cost, then wax with whatever wax i can find in the garage. Even car wax.

View therealSteveN's profile


5158 posts in 1250 days

#11 posted 11-20-2019 07:29 AM

Poly, then wax, and reapply the wax every 6 months or so. All my cast tops, and worktables, benches get it, and stuff slides pretty good. By the end of 6 months it’s getting ploughed through, so I use some MS to clean them. let them dry off, and back on with the wax.

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2652 posts in 2170 days

#12 posted 11-20-2019 07:55 AM

I tried to use T&T linseed oil & wax finish on TS extension lamination and was disappointed, as it did not have any slip at all. Sanded it down, and used Arm-R-Seal Poly and was much happier. It slides perfect and takes abuse well enough. Wax it occasionally and glue residue pops right off.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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