Workbench

I am almost finished building a workbench in my garage. This is my first wood working project and I am very surpised at how it turned out. But I need help to finish it. Does anyone know of something I could cover it with to protect it. Maybe some kind of rubber matting or a paint that would keep it from soaking up anything or getting nics and cuts. Thanks
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On May 29, 6:48 pm, ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I'd use shellac to seal the wood (couple coats) and then use hardboard to protect the top of the bench... that way you could replace it after a couple years of abuse.
al
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ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote: | I am almost finished building a workbench in my garage. This is my | first wood working project and I am very surpised at how it turned | out. But I need help to finish it. Does anyone know of something I | could cover it with to protect it. Maybe some kind of rubber | matting or a paint that would keep it from soaking up anything or | getting nics and cuts. Thanks
I have a piece of soft indoor/outdoor carpet the same size as my benchtop that protects the stuff I work on at the bench. Coincidentally, it offers a bit of protection to the bench - but that isn't its primary function.
I also have a roll of rubber matting (made from recycled tires, AFAICT) that started out under huge rolls of paper shipped in semi-trailers. A trucker friend gifted me with about 80' after he delivered the paper. It's pretty good for cushioning a working surface (as well as the concrete floor in front of my bench and frequently-used tools).
Tempered hardboard works well when you want a hard, slick working surface. Just tack it in place and replace it when it becomes too worn or scarred.
I've become partial to the indoor/outdoor carpet surface.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
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Keep it from getting nics and cuts?? You did say this was a "Workbench", right??

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"Stoutman" asked

That comment brings back memories of my "first nick" of my shiny new maple workbench. I found a small maple workbench that was a retail model of a much larger bench. It was missing a couple parts and wasn't as big as the real deal, but it was maple and solid as a rock. I offered a low price and it was accepted. I replaced the missing parts, made me some bench dogs and was quite happy with my new find.
I did a variety of projects, always making sure I never disturbed the shiny finish on the pretty maple bench top. I used hardboard, carpet and whatever was handy to protect that surface of any kind of indignity.
One day, I was making some signs out of lexan (polycarbonate). I had a little dremel rotary tool mounted in a baby router base. I put the lettering underneath the plastic and foloowed it to cut groove with the baby router. I would go over it later to deepen and widen the the groove.
I was tired and made a mistake. I set the depth to deep on the baby router. I ended up routing a number of shapes into my bench top. I was devastated. My pretty new bench now had an injury! I came out the next day to plan some kind of repair when I had a revelation as to how ridiculous this whole thing was.
The bench was sturdy and heavy. It did not matter how pretty the top was. Besides, if you stand back and look at it it was still pretty. I was embarrassed that I made such a big deal out of it. But it was the prettiest bench I ever owned.
I would like to think I am more mature and rational now. But I will settle for more pragmatic and cynical.
Lee Michaels
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On Tue, 29 May 2007 16:48:27 -0700, ophelia_immortal1 wrote:

So, you want your workbench and shop to look like a museum piece, never touched and always in mint condition? Silly. A workbench is a workbench, another convenience on the way to getting some work done. So what if it gets nicked or distressed.
A good epoxy paint or several layers of polyurethane will make it look good, but even these will wear in time. You didn't mention the wood. Have you considered oil such as Watco? Protects and looks good. Simple to apply.
If you want to protect the top while you work, keep several materials on hand to protect the wood: carpet, vinyl, laminate. Just about anything will work.
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*snip*
Workbench? I have one of those? Maybe if I get some of these tools off it... :-)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Hardboard aka Masonite... cheap and replaceable. I also use carpet pad on mine, more to protect the project than the workbench since mine all have osb tops.
One thing you'll learn about this group, you can ask a simple question and get a dozen replies that don't answer your question. :-) But that's what makes it unique.
Welcome to the Wunnerful World of Woodworkin'
Will
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I keep a spare piece or two of 1/4 masonite to lay over my bench top when I'm servicing the chain saw or some other nasty task. Keeps the top a lot nicer that way.
Old Guy

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ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote: : I am almost finished building a workbench in my garage. This is my : first wood working project and I am very surpised at how it turned : out. But I need help to finish it. Does anyone know of something I : could cover it with to protect it. Maybe some kind of rubber matting : or a paint that would keep it from soaking up anything or getting nics : and cuts. Thanks
Try a mix of equal parts linseed or tung oil; wax; and turpentine (the real stuff). It's renewable; will repell other finsihes and spills; and looks nice.
When the bench gets the occasional ding, think of it as adding character. Keep the bulletproof finishes for the dining table.
    -- Andy Barss
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then buffed untily my arms fall off. Paint, glue blobs, oil etc either wipe off or come of with a swipe of a plastic scraper aka ex credit card things. Periodically, no more than once a year, only when necessary I have at it with white spirit and a webrax pad and put some more wax on. Dings look good, an undinged bench says this guy is a poser who simply collects tools and never uses them.
Peter
--
Add my middle initial to email me. It has become attached to a country
www.the-brights.net
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On 29 May 2007 16:48:27 -0700, ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Honestly, a bench is supposed to get banged up, it's a work surface, not a piece of fine furniture. Pretty much no matter what you do, it's going to end up scratched, scraped, painted and dented, otherwise it's not being used very well.
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On 29 May 2007 16:48:27 -0700, ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I finished mine with a bit of shellac, a few coats of thinned polyurethane, then I rubbed in soya bean oil for a few days. The old tale applies here:
Once a day for a week Once a week for a month Once a month for a year Once a year forever.
Though now I put it on at perhaps 2-3 times a year.
Nics and cuts ? That's what workbenches put up with!! There's no point in having one without a few battle scars. The top on mine is "butcher block" style 4x2 so nics and cuts will take several lifetimes to weaken it.
Barry
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ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I sympathise with your feelings but I'd chime in with the others who take the line "It's a bench, for working on; live with it". So here's a compromise, which I propose to implement when I build my new bench (which will be Real Soon Now).
I intend to make a hardboard (aka Masonite) top for it, cut to size and possibly with some pegs or something to hold it down. That'll be when I'm using it for scruffy things that don't need a "proper" bench (e.g. mixing paint, degunking bike chains, plumbing with a blowlamp, etc).
But when I'm using it for proper woodwork - needing bench stops and end vices and holdfasts and dogs and cats and all that sort of thing, off will come the cover and it will be a real bench!
--

Henry Law Manchester, England

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Henry Law wrote:
> I intend to make a hardboard (aka Masonite) top for it, cut to size and > possibly with some pegs or something to hold it down. That'll be when > I'm using it for scruffy things that don't need a "proper" bench (e.g. > mixing paint, degunking bike chains, plumbing with a blowlamp, etc). > > But when I'm using it for proper woodwork - needing bench stops and end > vices and holdfasts and dogs and cats and all that sort of thing, off > will come the cover and it will be a real bench!
My money says it will never happen.
About the 2nd, maybe 3rd time you put the hardboard back, it will stay on or else it will come off and somehow, never get put back.
Why not just put some fiddles on the bench to keep the hardboard in place and when it gets mucked up, replace it?
Lew
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If you want to avoid the nics and cuts on this work bench you just made, I would recomend going on Craigs List and finding a used one that you can store in the shed when not in use. Then just pull in out when needed, that way you won't nick or damage the one you just made.
good luck
Keith
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On 29 May 2007 16:48:27 -0700, ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

A Danish oil finish works well. Cover it with newspaper if you are using your workbench for finishing a project or for a glue up. The newspaper makes cleanup fast and easy.
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ophelia snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Nicks and cuts are badges of honor to a bench. When necessary, simply scrape or plane them out.
As for protecting from glue drips and finish spills, which can mar future work with dents and scratches, I have a roll of rosin paper hanging on a ceiling mounted pipe rack next to the bench.
The paper is cheap, reusable, very durable, and will prevent all but a major oil spill from penetrating. My bench is also protected from grimy bicycle or power tool parts, which often have substances on them that I don't want on my work. I can usually get many hours of use from each paper cover, and there's no ink to rub off like newsprint.
The rack is a simple section of 1" black iron pipe with caps on the pre-threaded ends, like a toilet paper or horizontal paper towel holder. The pipe is suspended from the ceiling with threaded rod, hangers, and flanges. A strip of paper can be unfurled nearly to the floor, which nicely matches my bench length, and sliced off with my ever-present utility knife. To change the paper, I simply unscrew the cap on one end, slide the pipe partially out, and replace the roll. Usually, as I do this, my wife asks why I can't do the same with toilet paper, as I always leave it on the counter.
The rack parts are all in the plumbing dept. of any home center, and the paper is near the hardwood flooring.
Bicycle and appliance boxes, also make good, free protection. I often cover finished flooring and counter tops with bicycle box sides to protect them during installs. Large cardboard slabs and rosin paper can also be shrink wrapped to finished work for delivery protection.
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