When you ask 10 different woodworkers what the best finish for a workbench is, you’ll probably end up with 10 different answers. It seems like everyone I have talked to has a different opinion on what kind of finish they like to put on their workbench. Which makes sense, because it’s their workbench. This means they can design it to look any way they would like, as well as finish it with any substance that they want. But if you’re looking for the best finish for a workbench, here are my recommendations.
Best Finish For Workbench
When working with a softwood workbench top, such as plywood, many woodworkers find it important to add a finish to the workbench so it is easier to clean as well as help the plywood last longer. Since plywood is a softwood, it is much easier for liquid, oils, and other residue to get into the wood and cause damage.
If you are a perfectionist like me, then it will also be important for you to keep your plywood workbench top as clean as possible. I absolutely hate working on an unclean workbench which is why it was difficult for me to pick the best finish for my workbench. But I think there are three main options when it comes to putting a finish on your workbench.
Option 1 – Finish your workbench with Polyurethane
Option 2 – Finish your workbench with a high quality wax
Option 3 – Don’t use anything to finish your workbenc
Using Polyurethane To Finish A Workbench
Polyurethane is typically my response when I get asked what the best finish for workbenches are because I believe they will give you the best non-stick feel to your workbench. This will make your workbench incredibly easy to clean. It will also help your workbench stand the test of time and last longer than a plywood workbench top that wasn’t finished with anything.
Using Wax To Finish Your Workbench
The second most popular finish for your workbench is using a high quality wax. This will give your workbench a protective layer that many people are looking for. I will say that you will see a benefit from using high quality wax compared to the cheapest wax you can find.
Not Using Finish On A Plywood Workbench Top
This may be one of the most popular options but it’s not one that I personally enjoy. Many people believe that a work bench should have residue and marks on it because it proved that it was put to good use. But I believe I am too much of a perfectionist to let that happen. Plywood material is much different than a material like indoor cedar that desperately needs a finish. So at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference on what finish you use for your plywood workbench.
How To Finish A Workbench
Now that you know about the best finish for workbench, it’s time to learn how to finish a workbench. The process of applying a finish to a workbench will change depending on the type of workbench you have and the desired result you are hoping for. The first part of the process is sanding off any current finish or paint that is one the workbench. You want to start with a fresh and clean workbench before you apply a finish.
Your workbench can be sanded by hand or by using an automatic sander. Once the workbench is sanded we highly recommend that you clean the workbench with dish soap and water to remove any imperfections. Once the workbench is clean then its time to apply the finish. There are many different options but we recommend that you find the best workbench finish for your workshop. Often times it can take multiple applications to get an even coat to protect your workbench.