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Looking for thoughts on bench tops

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68bucks

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So I came across some old library tables and I am going to use the tops for the tops of the workbenches that I'm building. They are solid maple 1-1/2" thick. I sanded one down to bare wood and cut it to size. I'm pondering what to do about a finish on them. I have been thinking about just using butcher block oil on them rather than a poly type finish. What have some of the members here done for their bench top finish, any suggestions?
 

oldognewtrick

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What are you going to do mainly with them, build ships in a bottle or rebuild engines on them?
 

Brian Famous

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Are you talking about a garage workbench that you're throwing tools on, or are you drilling some bench dog holes or throwing on an end vise? I don't have any finish on my workbench, as the first four letters are w-o-r-k. So that's what it is there to do.
 

68bucks

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This will be a work bench. I'll put a vise on it, throw tools on it etc. It won't be for crafts or anything like that, it's a bench in my shop. I'm leaning to keeping it bare so if it gets sort of beat up I can just sand it a bit to clean it up.
 

oldognewtrick

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I took an old solid core door and had the metal shop fold a galvanized metal cover for it. Takes a licking, keeps on ticking. When it gets beat up enough I'll get a new cover. Spills cleanup easy.
 

bud16415

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For a wood bench I would rub some linseed oil (Raw) into it and call it a day.


I wish I found something like that it would become my kitchen island and the garage workbench would get a sheet of plywood.
 

rbm328

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when i built my garage/shop work bench, i built it 4'x8' and for the top i used a sheet of 1/2" ply and then laid on top of that, another sheet of hard board.
my thoughts were, when the top gets beat up beyond its life, i unscrew 10 flat screws and replace the top. you can even purchase a full sheet 1/2" A (orB) C ply,
rip in half and you have your workbench.
 

68bucks

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Thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of maybe something in top of the maple as a sacrificial surface. Or at least on some part of it. All together it will be about 15' long. I have a smaller table that I think I'm going to use for a desktop sort of a thing. Something lower you can set at with a regular chair. That piece is 5' long. The original tables were 3' wide. I thought that was a little too deep for a bench so I ripped it to make a 30" depth and used the drop as a backslash sort of deal. I think it will work out nice.
 

billshack

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I did the same thing
when i built my garage/shop work bench, i built it 4'x8' and for the top i used a sheet of 1/2" ply and then laid on top of that, another sheet of hard board.
my thoughts were, when the top gets beat up beyond its life, i unscrew 10 flat screws and replace the top. you can even purchase a full sheet 1/2" A (orB) C ply,
rip in half and you have your workbench.
 

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