Well, this will be another long overdue catch-up post. I always seem to be about three or four blog posts behind what I am actually doing in the build.
With the workbench top still inverted and on saw horses, I took the opportunity to apply a few coats of finish to the underside of the benchtop. Before starting, I used some green frog tape to mask off the areas that will be glued when the top is attached to the base.
Using the same crock-pot/double boiler method that I have written about previously, I heated a jar of Watco Danish Oil to about 170°.
I started to brush on a heavy coat. When the kids saw what I was doing, they decided that it looked fun and wanted to join in. I got out a couple more chip brushes and let them have at it.
I put on a lot of finish and continued applying it to keep the surface wet. It is usually quite surprising how much the wood will soak up. I also coated the sapele edges of the benchtop and the vise skirts. The color and grain in the sapele really popped out once the oil was applied.
I let the benchtop sit for about an hour and then wiped off all of the excess oil. The following day, I repeated the process and applied a second coat. I waited for two days and then took the masking tape off. With the tape off, you can really see the color shift that happened on the sapele.
At this point I got some help to flip the bench top over and also to lift the workbench base on top of the bench top. I figured that it would be much easier to apply the finish to the base while it was lifted up to chest height, than it would be to do it later with it on the ground.
I unscrewed the hinges and removed the frame and panel lid from the base. I did this on my last day at home before a two week vacation. I really wanted to get a heavy coat applied before I left, since this finish takes sooooo long to cure. I used the same application method as before: Hot oil, applied until no more would soak in, left for an hour, and finally, all excess wiped off.
After returning from vacation, the danish oil had cured, and I was ready to apply the remaining coats. I always apply the initial coat with a bush and just let it soak in, but the subsequent coats are applied with sand paper. I usually start with 220 or 320 grit paper and get finer with each coat. This method is admittedly time consuming, but the results are amazing.
I use a semi-ridged foam sanding block, and self adhesive PSA sandpaper, both of which I buy from Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop. Again, I heated the oil and applied a coat to both sides of the frame and panel lid and all of the base.
Once the finish has been sanded in, I let it sit for a little while and then wipe off all the excess. After a couple of days I repeated the process and applied the third coat with 320 grit paper.
With most things, I would then apply a fourth coat with 400 grit paper, but in this case I stopped at three. I will probably add another coat after the bench is assembled.
I left it siting on the benchtop for a few days to dry. I also had wait until I could get someone to help me lift it back down onto the floor.
With the benchtop clear it is time to finish the through mortises that are all already halfway done from the underside.
More about that in a future post.
– Jonathan White