English Workbench – finishes


Tradition has it that you should either use a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil* and turpentine or not bother with a finish at all. I still like to do a bit of tool fiddling now and then – which often involves some grubby metalworking – so I decided to put a finish on mine to stop the worst of the dirt getting embedded in the top.

I don’t like the dog pee yellow colour of BLO on pine so I decided to make my own concoction. The look I was going for was muddy orange with blotches, and bingo! This is exactly what I got!

You can make your own by simply mixing some miscellaneous brown varnish with BLO and turps in roughly equal proportions.


the finish actually doesn’t look too bad from certain angles:


.. but you get the full orange/blotch experience when the light is behind you:


so that’s it, the bench is basically done. The only remaining task is to drill some holes for my new holdfasts, and a handful of other jobs I might do at in the future:

* add a hardwood insert for the inside face of the vice
* add a shelf at either end 

I’ll do a couple of post on the holdfasts + tools I used, vs the tools I actually needed, and that will be it. Thanks for watching!

* PS It doesn’t hurt to repeat the warning that BLO can spontaneously combust, particularly when left to dry on crumpled rags/tissues – lay them flat outside to dry

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