Starting the Finishing Process on the Ambidextrous Grizz-Ubo Workbench

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.

Before applying any finish, I masked the areas that will later be glued.

Before applying any finish, I masked the areas that will later be glued.

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 heated the Danish Oil to about 170°.

I heated the 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 brushed on a very heavy coat of finish.

I brushed on a very heavy coat of finish.

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 kept applying finish until it would soak in no longer.

I kept applying finish until it would soak in no longer.

The oil brought out the grain nicely.

The oil brought out the grain nicely.

The vise skirts also received a few coats of finish.

The vise skirts also received a few coats of finish.

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.

Removing the masking tape shows how much the color changed.

Removing the masking tape shows how much the color changed.

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.

When the first coat had cured, I prepared to sand on the next coat.

When the first coat had cured, I prepared to sand on the next coat.

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.

I heated the oil and sanded it in with 220 grit paper.

I heated the oil and sanded it in with 220 grit paper.

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.

Applying Finish to the Workbench Base-3

I stood the lid up and left it to dry.

I left it like this for a few days to cure.

I left it like this for a few days to cure.

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.

After the third coat had cured, I re-installed the lid, hinges, and gas springs.

After the third coat had cured, I re-installed the lid, hinges, and gas springs.

The last coat was sanded on with 320 grit paper.

The last coat was sanded on with 320 grit paper.

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

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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5 Responses to Starting the Finishing Process on the Ambidextrous Grizz-Ubo Workbench

  1. Wow! It’s like a piece of furniture I wouldn’t mind having in my living room.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hey Ralph,

      Thanks. However, I think that it is too big and heavy to ever fit through the doors to the house. My next post is one that I am writing for you. I should have it done in a day or two.

      Jonathan

  2. The only downsideI can see to this bench is that it’s begun to look like one of those dishes in a five-star French restaurant that you’re hesitant to eat because it’s too beautiful.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hey Larry,

      Do you think that I should rename it the escargot bench? Thanks for the compliment. I hope that it doesn’t prove to be something that I hesitate to use. That would render it rather pointless now, wouldn’t it? That said, I do think that I will wince just a little bit when it comes time to drill the dog holes in the benchtop.

      All the best,

      Jonathan

  3. Once you recover from the trauma of the first couple of chisel scars, you should be able to re-devote your entire focus to your workpieces. Enjoy. Larry

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.