Finish for benchtop?

Hi All, I am in the process of (finally) building myself a bench to
work at. I made the top of 3/4" plywood covered with 3/4" tounge and
groove red oak hardwood flooring. Made for a very strong, stiff bench
top, and it looks pretty good too.

My question is this, what is the best finish for this? Should it be
finished with varnish, polyurethane, or should it just be waxed? And
with what?

I’m sure there are lots of right answers to this, I’m just wondering
what the options are and thier advantages/disadvantages.

Thanks for your input, AL

use the poly or acrylicurethane, but be sure and seal coat the wood
with epoxy first.

Hi Al, When I was training we had bench tops covered in “battleship
lino” these were polished every Friday with a wax floor polish, the
always looked good. If they got badly damaged the lino was just
replaced. It meant that your bench was always kept tidy, something
which I was unable to keep up when I finished, I now have a formica
covered bench with a stick on mat from Bergeon on it, I only wish the
bench was about 4 times larger so as that I could spread the clutter
out a bit more. Neil KilBane, Ireland

Hi Al, Strange as it may seem, I just did the same thing, last week.
For the last 7 years, I have had a guest room in my home, and no
guests on a regular basis other than my friends from Brasil. That is
a total of about 30 days in 7 years…not a very good use of my
resources. So I gave away all my bedroom furniture, built 2
beautiful benches, moved all my jewelry paraphanelia into the

Here are a few pictures. Shop

I made each bench 8ft long x 2 ft deep x 30 inches high tables with
hardwood tops. I finished them with varnish (lacquer) rather than
plastic urethane. They match the hardwood floors in my home and I
now have a beautiul as well as functional workshop. I used varnish
because the floors in my home are varnished and have been looking
good for 60 years. Why mess with success?

Ask me in another 60 years and I’ll tell you how the benches worked

Please hollar if I can help.
Love and God Bless

I am delighted with the acrylic top on my bench, It has a glued on
half round about half an inch wide at the outer edge,to catch
things from falling off. I glued the ordinary kitchen style counter
top onto the base, which is an old heavy, thick-topped wooden desk
that I put on concrete blocks and cut a square cut into the top,
leaving room for sweeps to drop into the drawer below.

Easy, inexpensive, and fast, It will last for many many years. -
longer than me.

Making it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done!