Workbench finish

Hopefully you read this far before replying; yes, I DAGS, but still have questions.
I am building my first classic woodworking bench, and am retaining my current bench (solid core door on construction lumber base) for assembly and finishing. The current bench is finished with shellac, and waxed. Works great for keeping glue from sticking, and has the advantage that if it gets off of level by more than a few thousandths per foot, I know it because things slide off the low side! <g> Seriously, I love shellac, but this bench is way too slick for working on with hand tools, IMHO.
I like shellac for its working qualities and results. I have been tentatively planning to use it for the traditional bench for those reasons and because of ease of repair when I level or resurface the top. But will the film, even if unwaxed, be too slick? Is that why oil finishes seem to be recommended so much for this application?
BTW, if it affects your answer, this first (not ultimate<g>) bench is of southern yellow pine.
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Alex
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alexy wrote:

I thought about shellac, but decided to go with a finish that more closely approaches the one used for many decades. I used a first coat of BLO, flooded the surface and wiped it in thoroughly. For the second coat I used roughly equal parts of turps and BLO and gradually increased the proportion of BLO to turps until the last coat was just BLO. (I think I did 5 coats all in all, once a day.)
Finally, I topped it off with a couple of coats of Tried & True's oil/wax mix. That gave it just enough wax to keep glue from sticking, but didn't make it so slick that I wound up chasing boards as they slid off the bench. :-)
It looks good, and is extremely easy to touch up.
Chuck Vance
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BLO? Basic liquid ooze?
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Howdy Chuck,
My bench is almost done and I think I'll follow your finishing method. Can you estimate how much BLO you used per coat? I don't really have a feel for how much to buy and I don't want to run out in the middle of the process. Also, is there a 'preferred' brand or is it all pretty much the same? TIA.
Cheers, Mike

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half snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike) wrote in message

I honestly don't recall exactly how much I used. I buy BLO in gallon cans (Parks brand, because that's what I can get easily around here), because I use it a lot. Let's see: The first coat was just BLO and may have used up 8-10 oz. (You can warm the BLO to get better penetration, but all disclaimers apply about avoiding combustible materials and open flames. Also use caution with rags; spread them out flat to let them dry.) Then I mixed up about 8 oz. of BLO to the same amount of turps. After applying that, I added about 4 oz. of BLO to what left of the 50/50 mix.
I did the same (adding ~4 oz. of BLO) for a couple more coats and then just finished off with straight BLO followed by the T&T wax/oil mix.
So all in all, I'd guess I used up about a little more than a quart of BLO. Obviously, YMMV depending on the size of your bench and your method of application. But it's not important to be exact. Just start with BLO, then go with a 50/50 mix and taper it down until you're back to straight BLO. Apply one coat per day, rub it down well between coats, and you'll be fine.
Chuck Vance
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snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) wrote in message

<mucho snipped>

Thanks Chuck,
I just wanted to have a rough idea of how much BLO to have on hand before starting so your estimates are good enough. Gee, after I get the bench ready I'm gonna have to actually take on a real* project. :-)
Cheers, Mike
*real = something not related to cleaning up old tools, tuning and sharpening old tools, building old tool storage, etc.
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Look in Tage Frid's book. He has a bullet proof bench finish.
Grant
alexy wrote:

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Thanks. Which book? In his TF Teaches Woodworking, Book 2 on shaping and finishing, he has an oil finish that he does not associate with benches in that book.
1) Raw LO + turps 2) BLO 3) BLO + Japan Drier.
Is that the one you mean?
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Alex
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That is the one. He says to use burlap to rub it in across the grain. The book is at home, but my feeble mind recalls that it takes about 4 days. I used this technique to finish some hard maple clamps that I made. It looks nice, glue doesn't stick (I do wax them occasionally) and they are really holding up well. I plan to build a Frid style bench next spring and I will use this finish.
Grant
alexy wrote:

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He used Kevlar?
dave
Grant P. Beagles wrote:

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