I haven’t posted anything this week, and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t done a whole lot of woodworking. I thought I would write a quick update a share what I have done.
My neighbor came over and helped me lift the workbench base off the benchtop, where it had been sitting during construction. It’s pretty heavy, but the two of us managed it fairly easily. It’s nowhere near as bad as trying to move the benchtop. We set it on some scrap carpet and turned it upside down. Once the bench is assembled it will be too awkward to turn it over again, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to put some coats of finish on the bottom.
With it turned over, I also got to thinking about the bottom shelf. When I installed the bottom shelf, I did it by cutting a groove in each stretcher and rabbets/tongues on either end of the shelf boards. I pushed one tongue all the way into one groove, then put the tongue on the other end of the shelf board into the other groove and pulled it back. It’s not likely, but the shelf boards could shift over time and come loose. I figured that if I wedged a small piece of wood into the gap, it would prevent the shelf boards from shifting. I tapped these wedges in and planed them flush with a block plane. There’s no glue here, just a tight friction fit. We’ll see if they drop out over time.
For a finish, I’m just going to use Watco Danish Oil. I love this stuff! It is easy to apply and easy to touch up later. I brushed on a heavy coat and kept applying it until the wood would absorb no more. I concentrated especially on the end-grain of the legs. I let it sit for about an hour and then wiped of any excess that hadn’t soaked in. I gave it a pretty good wipe down, as you don’t want to leave any on the surface (it goes gummy). Two days later, I added a second coat. The wood absorbs less on the second go around, but the end-grain of the legs still soaked up a surprising amount. Again, I let it sit for an hour before thoroughly removing the excess.
The third coat goes on with a foam sanding block and 320 grit paper. I actually use the sandpaper to apply the finish. I sand it in well and leave it for an hour. Lastly (you guessed it), I thoroughly wipe off all the excess. I have left it like this for three days now and it is nowhere near cured yet.
Once it has cured, I will put a few coats of polyurethane on the end grain of the legs. The ends of the legs are the only place on the bench where I intend to apply a film finish. The rest of the bench will be Danish Oil and wax only. The only reason that I am applying a film finish here, is that I’m trying to prevent any problems that may occur if the legs end up in direct contact with the concrete workshop floor. I don’t want the legs sucking moisture from the concrete and rotting.
The other thing that has prevented me from making any sawdust, is that I have been refinishing and repainting the vises that I will be installing on the bench. I’ll have a long post about that in a few days time.
– Jonathan White