I know there have been *lots* of theads about workbench finishes. But
from my searches all I see is talk about a woodworking workbench. I
have a bench I will use for working on car and motorcycle parts. I
just want something that will keep dirt and grease from getting worked
into the wood and looking bad.
The last wood bench I had I just put Thompsons Waterseal on, but I
imagine there is something better I could use. Thought about just
painting it too. Any ideas? I'd like something simple, that I can
just buy a can of somewhere, not something I have to mix up.
Thanks for any help.
I had an auto shop once upon a time. I used sheets of thin galvanized
metal that I placed on top of two pieces of 3/4 mdf and then bent it
over the edges. Worked great! Impervious to everything but acid. I
could take a heavy chunk of metal like a starter and toss it onto the
bench without damage. Wood products is just too soft for heavy
mechanical work. The next best thing would be 1/4" tempered Masonite,
but NOTHING is gonna last like a sheet of metal on top of a thick
substrate. You can weld on or near the bench without fear of starting a
Thanks for the replies. Many people suggested using a metal top.
Well this actually is a metal bench that I got from the back room area
of a store that went out of business. It had a wood top attached to
the metal top, but the wood was in horrible shape. When I removed it,
the metal underneath was very very rusted.
When I bought the bench I got them to throw in a piece of 1/2" (could
be 3/4") plywood that fit the bench. I've already installed it. And
I prefer working on a wood surface rather than metal. Also the bench
will not see much grease or oil, it's just a possibility and I'd like
to take some measure to protect it. It will see more dirt than
anything else, and dirt tends to get 'worked' into wood, so I'd like a
surface that cleans up easily. Someone mentioned polyurethene, I will
probably go with that, or if I end up getting another can of garage
floor paint to patch my floor, I will use that. I already have it on
some other wood benches, and this way it will match.
Thanks for you help.
A thick coat of polyurethene would likely do the trick, but if it's going to
get grease, oil, gunk and parts all over it, why not go get some sheet metal
and put that, or either a piece of laminate on top. Either of those would
be far more durable than any type of finish and would be a better work
surface for keeping your parts clean when you're finished fixin'...
If you use the bench for WW also, perhaps just cut a piece of 1/4" hardboard
(masonite) to match your top, and then remove it when you're going to make
Any oils or the like WILL screw up the finishing, gluing or both of any WW
project you'd undertake otherwise.
I would go with the sheet metal if possible. However, I just finished a
workbench that will be used for many purposes, including a lot of automotive
work. I used some left over particle board for the top structure with a 1/4"
hardboard "veneer" on top than can be easily replaced when it gets beat up
or stained too badly.
How about covering it with a layer of masonite? Tack it down so that you can
replace it when it gets too beat up. If you want to add a bit more
protection from the grease and oil, give it a couple of coats of shellac.
A rare top post.
Sheetmetal. the heavier the better.
If your not going to cover it with metal I wouldn't coat it with
anything. Instead I would use a piece of sacrificial 1/4 or so plywood
(MDF deteriorates with about any fluid). When it gets too nasty just
replace it. One big advantage of a wood top is metal tends to not slide
on it, and for scraping situations you can screw down some stops.
My bench has 5 (10) 4x4 legs notched for 2x4 stringers. It's 3' wide and
about 12' long. It has 2x6s lengthwise with 1x6 widthwise and a 2'wide
and 8' long piece of 1/4 inch stainless plate on top. The last foot is
for boxes and has a 1/4 piece of POS ply. I have yet to hurt it.
If I use it on wood I will pull the covers (glad I have a cherry picker)
and cover it with POS plywood.
On 9 Jan 2004 13:38:34 -0800, email@example.com (Ryan) wrote:
A lot of mechanical type shops have sheet metal bent to fit, but I see
that is what you already have under your plywood.
I grew up at the local general aviation (think small planes) airport
because my father was the FBO. His main workbench was made of wood and
covered in a fabric reinforced, synthetic rubber gasketing material.
It is oil, grease and gas resistant, non-slip, warm to touch, and
didn't scratch expensive airplane parts. Been there for the better
part of three decades. A similar material, which might be easier to
find, is synthetic rubber roll roofing. It is typically only sold in
full rolls, but a chat with a local comercial roofer would likely
score you a cutoff for your bench for very little money. Would be best
put down with some contact adhesive, but would probably work fine just
wrapped around the leading and trailing edges of your plywood top and
tacked on the underside with a stapler. As an added bonus, metal shows
up real nice against the black of the roll roofing.
Hope that makes sense.
Ryan ... I restore and play with old cars in addition to
being a woodworker... And I have NOT read the other replies you
Honestly the workbench I have in the garage is covered with plain old
fashion galvinized sheet metal that I purchased from a heating and air
conditioning duct shop.. 4x8 foot sheet was cheap.... easily cut to size
with tin snips
and held in place with sheet metal screws...
The top is at least 10 years old now and has held up extremely well... I
went nuts a few months after I installed it and took a buffer and polished
the top so that it looked like stainless steel...and it still has that
Grease etc is easily wipped up with paper shop rags..
paint cpmes right off with paint thinner etc...
From Memory I think I paid about 15 bucks for the sheet metal but honestly I
can not remember what guage it was...but it was the stuff that household AC
ducts are made form...
68 & 69 Chevelles
64 & 72, 76, 79 Corvettes Plus a 95 Corvette for traveling.
Dodge Pickup for hauling parts and lumber ....
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ryan) wrote in message
Do you already have the top made up? What is it made of?
I used an old laminate counter top from my kitchen. But barring that,
you can buy laminate sheets at home depot that you can contact cement
on. That way everything wipes off of it, and it's a hell of a lot
harder than any wood.
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