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  • Wood Workbench Sealant

    I just finished building a new workbench for my garage out of wood. I want to put a sealant on the wood to protect and seal it, and want to see what you recommend. I've heard that you don't want to brush on anything that's going to eventually crack. I don't care about staining. I just want to protect the wood from spills, oil and gasoline from dirt bike repairs, getting beaten on by a hammer, etc. What do you recommend? I don't want to install anything over the top (like hardboard). I just want to seal it. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

    Boiled linseed oil is a good sealant for wood.


    • #3
      Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

      Boiled linseed oil should penetrate well, depending on the wood of course. Likewise Tung Oil works well too and even a couple of coats of thinned poly, followed by a normal coat or two, though the latter will form more of a "film" on the surface. (I prefer matte finish, has it doesn't show marring and scratches as well.)

      But regardless of what "sealant" you use, it's still a wood bench and it's ability to withstand abrasions, dents, and general wear and tear is going to largely depend on the hardness of the species. (You didn't mention what kind of wood you used.)

      While I can understand you not wanting to cover your handywork with some ugly looking stuff like MDF or hardboard, I think I'd still keep a sheet of something (MDF is cheap) to put on the bench when you are hammering away on something or working on a project that has the potention to damage the surface.

      I hope this helps,



      • #4
        Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

        I have just used up some lacquer or varnish I have had left over from another job,

        I like some thing that will not let oil penetrate, so if I do get some oil on it I can get it wiped up and not let it get on the next project,

        this is on my wood working benches in the wood shop,

        in the mechanical shop I have the benches covered with 10 gage steel with the ends bent over, to form a lip, no sharp edges exposed to the room,

        was very lucky, My SIL was looking through some industrial scrap at a manufacturing place and they had miss bent this truck box sides, but was just right for my project, (of bench tops) even a 24" back splash bent into it with a complete lip on the front,
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


        • #5
          Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

          agreed on the linseed or tounge oils, very easy to add more later - recommend puttting it on an wait 10-15 minutes, before it gets overly tacking and wiping down - then repeat in 24 hrs - takes time but leaves a repairable finish and keep many liquids out of the wood.


          • #6
            Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

            Tung and linseed oils are fast & easy. A varnish or catalyzed lacquer will protect from oils spills better, but are more painful to apply and re-apply.

            But nothing is going to keep it from getting beat-up if you'll be doing bike repairs etc on it. BHD's steel is the best way to go - we had all steel workbenches in my engine machine shop and they STILL got beat up. But dealing with the steel is not easy for everyone... if you're not equipeed to deal with it, I would think about getting a sheet of tempered masonite and tack it to the four corners of the top. When it gets ugly... which it will.... get another one. Probably cheaper than a quart of any finish and easier, too.

            Another trick that you might like since you're doing bike repairs: You often need your bench to be very clean when doing any sort of mechanical work. An easy way to always have a clean surface when you need it is to get a roll of contractor's paper at Home Depot or Lowe's and mount it to the end of the bench, like the butcher does with his paper. Instant clean surface, and fast clean up!


            • #7
              Re: Wood Workbench Sealant

              When I built my white oak bench several years ago, I coated the top with three coats of the "standard" 3 part wipe on mix (1 part poly, 1 part boiled linseed oil, and 1 part mineral spirits). Held up well for a while, but then got some dings and gouges (slipped chisel, inadvertant saw contact, glue drops, stain dribbles, etc). I just "touch it up" with good old furniture wax (i.e Johnson's paste wax). Blends in exactly for the color of the aged poly mix coat, still keeps the glue and stain drops from sticking, and is easy, cheap, and quick.

              I would recommend putting on a good durable coating to start with (not too thick, just enough to seal the wood), and then just wax it as needed like you do the table saw, although my bench gets wax much less often than the saw does. Because I am "retired", my bench gets used a lot, and takes a lot of abuse. Simple and easy is what works for me.

              Last edited by Gofor; 08-31-2010, 09:08 PM.
              Practicing at practical wood working