Problem with leaving it unfinished

I have just completed building myself a "real" bench for doing hand-tool work. 3x laminated MDF core with Red Oak skirting, side and end vise jaws - the works. Turned out quite well if I do say so myself.
My question is, will the bench suffer any ill effects if I leave the wood "natural" - that is, unfinished? I am not asking if I SHOULD finish it - I already know the answer to that one. I was going to finish it with a few coats of tung oil varnish but my shop is - temporarily - in the basement of a townhouse AND my wife is 8 months pregnant and I am concerned about the fumes. I read the MSDS sheet on the Waterlox Original Sealer / Finish I was intending to use and there are some spooky sounding chemical names on there and I am not going to take the chance and expose the wife to them at this delicate stage (IMO, just not worth the risk).
Thoughts?
Thanks in advance for your time . . .
L
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Reading MSDS sheets is scary stuff.
I'd wait a month or two. When she takes the baby to visit her mother for the day, put a coat of the Waterlox on and ventilate it for a few hours.
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A coat or two of 1 pound cut shellac will protect the wood from grunge and dirty hand prints. Wipe on and it's dry in 5+ minutes.
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Will also keep the MDF from outgassing, if you're paranoid.
Sure as he doesn't protect it with some shellac and perhaps a touch of wax, he'll get glue drips that go unnoticed until they lift a bunch of wood dust out of the top when he tries to scrape it off..

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

If you are reluctant, understandably, to apply a finish at least put three or four coats of wax on the top. It'll help keep things from sticking to the top.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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On 23 Sep 2004 19:46:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Larry Fox) wrote:

I researched "traditional" benches for a long time before ignoring all the info and building mine.. *g*
Most folks said that you don't want a finish on the bench top, as it could transfer to the wood that you're working on.. I tried a few coats of paste wax, power buffed, but still noticed a bit of wax here and there on a project that I was staining...
If/when I do it again, I'll probably soak it in linseed oil or something....
IMHO, wife and baby come way, way before the bench... the worst case is that down the road, you have to sand or resurface the bench and apply the finish of choice.. which I'd prefer to risking my wife or kid's health.. YMMV
Mac
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     snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Larry Fox) writes:

I made a bench roughly 10 years ago with a hard maple top. I never put a finish on it. I put an old hollow core door on top whenever I do any gluing on the bench. I have no regrets about not "finishing" the bench at all.
For those with voyeuristic inclinations, you can see said bench in the background of this picture:
http://www.math.niu.edu/~jthunder/PDRM0020.JPG
As you can see, I've protected the bench with a thick layer of clutter. :} (You can also see the hollow core door doubling as a cover for the saw when painting.)
--
Jeff Thunder
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
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Larry Fox wrote:

Larry, I would consider at least a Danish Oil such as Watco Natural. It does smell a bit when wet but dries over a few day's time and at least offers some protection for the red oak. You can put wax, varnish, or poly over it once it has fully dried. The driers in the Watco evaporate and leave a non-toxic finish. Leaving bare wood invites a few problems. Dirt and grime will get into the pores of the oak. The wood will be continually moving with humidity changes - a finish will help minimalize this movement. Glue drips, and possibly finish spills will enter the wood's pores and leave a pretty permanent mark on yer nice workbench.
So put a finish on it. Put it on in a well ventilated space.
Philski
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Why not wait a couple of months until the little one has arrived, then finish it? At that point, your concerns should be alleviated, any fume concentrations that cause the child harm you should not be breathing either (ie, provide adequate ventilation while it dries).
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