Recommended Wood Finish: Plywood Workbench

Recommended Wood Finish: Plywood Workbench

This is a discussion on Recommended Wood Finish: Plywood Workbench within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I'm just finishing my new workbench. It will be exposed to solvents, oils and typical abuse. I used two layers of 3/4' plywood. The top ...

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Thread: Recommended Wood Finish: Plywood Workbench

  1. #1
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    Question Recommended Wood Finish: Plywood Workbench

    I'm just finishing my new workbench. It will be exposed to solvents, oils and typical abuse. I used two layers of 3/4' plywood. The top layer is sanded (AC Grade). I've considered a polyurethane for durability, but prefer an oil base finish (Tung Oil or something like that) for easy maintenance. Looks are not important.

    Does the plywood present any issues on de-lamination from an oil type finish?

    What finish would you recommend and why?

    Thanks for the input and thoughts!


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    Member Array spooter66's Avatar
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    A friend used some the epoxy based covering you can get for garage floors (the grey stuff). Seems to be working pretty good for him. I guess if it resist the chemicals that can drip off a car it will probably resist just about anything.
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    I used a polyurethane on all of my benchs when I built my shop them 20 years ago. I havent had a single issue yet. I do alot of bullet casting and have scorched a bit of it but thats about it. Ive used everything on it you can imagine, spilled battery acid on it, and still it looks decent.

    If you want something other than clear, I would suggest staining it first whatever color you want, and then using a poly finish over that. I used several coats, the first coat gets mostly soaked up, and after that it just gets better. I used satin finish. I have used it on both plywood and Blandex with no issues with delamination .
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    I used marine paint on my workbench...oils don't cause problems.
    The stuff was $25-30 a gallon 4 years ago...but it works.
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    Go ahead and stain it however you like, then get that thick glossy lacquer type of finish. Its like the stuff on chain restaurant tables. I did that to mine, it works well and everything wipes right up.

    Edit; This isn't the exact stuff I used, but its the same idea;

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...304&lpage=none
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    I stained , then poly 'ed a rifle stock . It looks good and is a tough finish.
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    Tung Oil is a drying oil and it will not delaminate your plywood. It is actually more of a penetrating varnish than an oil.

    You can use a coat of Tung Oil first since that will really penetrate fairly deeply.

    After it is fully dry you can top coat it with a Polyurethane.

    There is also a two part Epoxy based finish that is extremely tough all by itself.

    Shellac is very hard and easy to apply and is VERY oil resistant but, not very alcohol resistant.
    It is also very easy to re-coat since each top coat put on even years later will merge into the existing coat.

    All of the above would work out for you.

    Another thing you can do is go to a flooring place and ask for a scrap cut-off of vinyl kitchen type flooring and use that trimmed to fit.

    Then when you mess it up really badly...just put down a fresh piece.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rcher's Avatar
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    Depending on how hard you use your bench, I would cover a portion of it with an 18ga galvanized or stainless steel. You should be able to get either from a sheet metal shop. The exposed wood side, just stain if you think its necessary, I personally dont think it is unless looks are important (you said it wasnt). Any dings or damage you do to the plain wood side of the bench can be sanded smooth and good to go again. Its a work bench.

    Keep the solvents on the metal and use the other exposed wood side for everything else.

    My work benches are built from old commercial solid core doors that I salvage off my jobsites. I have 8 of them all around the edge of my shop and 2 of them I have covered with stainless steel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Tung Oil is a drying oil and it will not delaminate your plywood. It is actually more of a penetrating varnish than an oil.

    You can use a coat of Tung Oil first since that will really penetrate fairly deeply.

    After it is fully dry you can top coat it with a Polyurethane.

    There is also a two part Epoxy based finish that is extremely tough all by itself.

    Shellac is very hard and easy to apply and is VERY oil resistant but, not very alcohol resistant.
    It is also very easy to re-coat since each top coat put on even years later will merge into the existing coat.

    All of the above would work out for you.

    Another thing you can do is go to a flooring place and ask for a scrap cut-off of vinyl kitchen type flooring and use that trimmed to fit.

    Then when you mess it up really badly...just put down a fresh piece.
    I've been using the stuff for years on the clocks I build, N love it. You can easily put on multiple coats depending on how hardy of a finish you want, but for a work bench I vote for the epoxy and they make a two part finish just for wood.
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    Mine was a two part deal, musta been epoxy. Its holding up great.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array XD in SC's Avatar
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    I was going to post this same topic this today.

    I have to build a bathroom countertop, and I need it to look like those tables at the seafood and bar-b-que places. They look like they have about a 1/2" of clear coating on the wood.

    Is it that Shellac that you use??

    It's going to be flat, but with seashells and "beachy" stuff in it. I have ot cover all of it. Something pourable would be great.

    Also anyone have a pic of their project?
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    Senior Member Array TheShadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD in SC View Post
    I was going to post this same topic this today.

    I have to build a bathroom countertop, and I need it to look like those tables at the seafood and bar-b-que places. They look like they have about a 1/2" of clear coating on the wood.

    Is it that Shellac that you use??

    It's going to be flat, but with seashells and "beachy" stuff in it. I have ot cover all of it. Something pourable would be great.

    Also anyone have a pic of their project?
    Envirotex lite is what most people use. Its a two part water base epoxy that pours.

    Envirotex

    Here is a pic of a guys bar over at AVS Forum This is the stuff going on my bartop.


  14. #14
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    Yup, thats the stuff I used. thanks Shadow, i was pulling my hair out trying to find it again. I need some more more.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Paint your bench any color [I used white ] Then get a piece of plexiglass to cover it. Works great and will not allow any stains on the wood. I put a strip of aluminium angle along the side and front. Keeps primers from and brass from rolling off. Bob

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