Recently, I have been remiss in my blogging duties. Aside from being insanely busy, I have also been working very hard to get the “Tiny Shop” up and running. Progress has been slow, and tedious, but it continues.
As any of you who have been reading or have gone back and read the many posts that incessantly chronicle my preoccupation with work benches, know, I have been slowly building a traditional-ish workbench for my “Tiny Shop”.
Finally, I can post a couple of pictures of my nearly completed workbench. It is built entirely of BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant) dimensional lumber. 2″x6″ x8′ boards were laminated for the top. The trestle is made up almost entirely of 4″x4″ material with the exception of some 2″x8″ boards that are the lower stretchers of the trestle.
Joinery is all hand cut mortise and tenon. These M&T joints are fortified by 5/8″ carriage bolts, washers, and mating nuts. I decided to put two of them through the tenons to ensure the kind of heft and “stoutness” that I was after for this bench. Definitely overkill of the highest order, but quite satisfying for me. The M&T joints were nice and snug fitting, but I wanted a really , REALLY stout bench.
Currently, the trestle is glued, bolted, and wonderfully stout. The only things that remain to be done are construction of the tool well, attaching the top to the trestle, and finishing the bench.
The last time I built a bench, the “Beloved Bench”, I left it unfinished. There are two schools of thought on finishing wood working workbenches. One is NOT to finish it at all. The thinking goes that it is better to leave it unfinished so that no “slickness” develops on the bench top, thereby making some hand work operations more difficult.
The other school of thought, is to use some sort of oil finish. This gives a modicum of protection, and allows for easier clean up of glue and other contaminants.
Since it seems that I am doing all the things with this bench, that I did NOT do on the Beloved Bench, I have elected to finish this bench.
Since I am painfully, economically challenged of late, I have decided to use a “home-brew” wiping varnish on this bench. It is cheap, it is proven, (and proven, and proven) and it is stone simple.
Once the bench is sanded and ready, I will mix a batch of finish that is a mainstay of countless cabinetmakers and furniture builders. It is a blend of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 spar varnish, and 1/3 turpentine. The turpentine thins the oil and varnish so that they penetrate deeply into the wood, and also help to dry-cure the finish just a little faster than normal. After a couple of thin coats have been applied and cured completely, I will “finish the finish”off with some quality paste wax. It should be beautiful.
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