Workbench: Part 6 – Finishing the benchtop
The workbench top is almost done. It's been glued up and cut to size. Now all it needs is the finishing touches to get it ready for the hardware.
Adding a shallow rabbet on the ends of each piece.
The left and right edges of each section are going to have angle-iron that wraps around the corners. Since these will be recessed, I need to add a shallow rabbet on each edge. I did this with my table saw and a dado stack. The depth was pretty crucial but the width was approximate. I knew I wasn't going to get a final fit until I rounded the corner so I just made sure not to make it too wide.
Applying a stain to the tops and sides.
My wife followed up with a blue shop towel and dabbed up most of the stain before it could soak in too much. As you can see, this leaves a lot of the stain in the deeper spots, like the dents, mill-marks, and "worm-holes".
Protecting it all with polyurethane.
For this project I'm using Varathane brand matte finish interior polyurethane. It goes on easily and rinses out with soap and water. An added bonus is that you don't have to sand in between coats. I still prefer to sand right before applying the final coat.
I let the fourth coat sit for 24 hours. It looks like it's ready to be sanded before applying the final coat. The polyurethane has helped smooth out the high and low spots a bit. I'm not going for a writing surface here so it doesn't need to be perfectly flat.
I carefully flipped the pieces over so I can stain the underside. Obviously, this isn't as critical as the top and I could probably not worry about it at all, but the smaller piece will most likely be attached the the main piece with a piano hinge and will hang down on the side when not in use. This means that the underside of the smaller piece will be visible at these times.
I started the tedious process of applying the stain to the underside. This piece is pine plywood and it soaks up the stain a lot faster than the oak. As a result, this is going to be much darker than the top.
Do you have any tips on staining and protecting your work? What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you. Also, please consider signing up for my mailing list to be notified of future articles. I am also available on social media. Stop by and say 'Hi'. I can be reached at the links below.