Da Bitsa Bench - starting on top

Refer ABPW,
Legs dry fit, levelled up perfectly, couple of trim items to cleanup first, but very pleased with what was a large (for me) expenditure in time, set-up and skill to get this far without (touched head) any major disaster.
Just started prepping the wood for top of the bench, I envisage making three strips of laminated 3x2's (dressed down) using some all thread to clamp very tightly while gluing up, then clean up glue lines and pass lightly thri planer. Then pull 3 strips together to make full bench width with allthread concealed later by cover strip, leaving me with as close to level as possible and minimise hand planing.
Wonder what dominant opinion here is regards leaving top as natural (albeit oiled/waxed) vs a cover of some hardboard or similar?
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