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I have a new, unfinished maple benchtop. What is a good finish to use that will hold up well to this type of use?
 

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Dust Bunny
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Ken

This depends upon what you are willing to invest. A good quality floor coating (poly) would hold up well, but can darken with age (I don't think the waterbased ones do though).

You could opt for an automotive grade coating, like an aliphatic urethane. These type of coatings have to be sprayed on in multiple coats and takes a while to dry to touch (4-6 hours). These don't yellow and I had a customer of mine use this product on his benchtop and it looks really nice.
 

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You don't have to have any finish. Some sort of drying oil if you just want to darken it or want to do something for it. Remember that every now and then you'll need to sand, plane or scrape this thing. Applying a hard film finish will just make this more of a process but if you want this sort of look, then as said above, the floor poly would work as well as anything.
 

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You don't have to have any finish. Some sort of drying oil if you just want to darken it or want to do something for it. Remember that every now and then you'll need to sand, plane or scrape this thing. Applying a hard film finish will just make this more of a process but if you want this sort of look, then as said above, the floor poly would work as well as anything.
I have been pondering the finish question also. I have enough 2x4 and 2x6 rough sawn alder to build a bench up to 4 feet wide by ten feet long, [hopefully this winter's project] and was wondering how to finish it. When you say a drying oil are you referring to something like Watco Danish oil? It does make sense not to put a hard finish onto it.

THanks

Gerry:smile:
 

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Any oil that dries, walnut oil is my favorite.

I no longer have a good workbench myself, just assembly tables topped with hardboard. If I can ever sell a kitchen in hard maple I'm going to order enough to build a fine bench. I won't be applying any sort of finish to the top. I had a good bench that was my Great-Grandad's. It's been lovingly oiled many times over the years and is one of the prettiest things ever made I think.

Incidentally, alder's pretty soft for a bench top, although if you're doing a lot of delicate work it would be nice to have that softer surface. Have you thought about using beech or maple for the top?
 

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Hi PK

Yeah, I would like to use maple, but I have the alder, free gratis from my brother, where as I would have to go out and buy the maple. That's one of the reasons I want to make it very thick, not only so I can pound on it, but also so I can sand it down and refinish it later, after it starts showing too much wear and tear.

Gerry
 
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