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Discussion Starter #1
I recently built a work bench. I'm using it for my garage and it serves as my gun cleaning bench as well. The only problem is that it's wood and of course it absorbs everything. What can I seal it with after I sand it that will hold out the gun cleaning stuff? Stain or what?
 

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I recently built a work bench. I'm using it for my garage and it serves as my gun cleaning bench as well. The only problem is that it's wood and of course it absorbs everything. What can I seal it with after I sand it that will hold out the gun cleaning stuff? Stain or what?
Coat your new work bench with polyurethane. I have found that Varathane works pretty darned well. Apply at least three coats, and sand with 240 grit sandpaper between each coat.

The result will be a table top that will pretty much last a lifetime of use without absorbing any carbon, powder solvent or any other residue. If you do not mind spending more $$$ then you can attach a polycarbonate or Corian counter top.

I personally like the polyurethane myself. It gives a great result and is very cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just used a piece of plywood for the top. Would that that polyurethane just fine?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I should mention that I'll be using it primarily as a work bench with a vise and grinding and general shop work. The gun cleaning will just be the secondary work on it.
 

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Alternative bench top

My work around is a 1/4" thick piece of leather (I used to do leatherwork) about 3 feet long by 2 feet wide. I spread it out over my work area and don't worry about staining the work area. I just roll up the leather when I'm done. Less trouble than worrying about my bench top. Also, makes it easy to use when I'm insisting my in-laws farm and shoot there. I just tote the leather with the cleaning materials.
 

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I paint my garage workbench with Grey floor and deck enamel, wooks great. For gun work get a section of matting from Tractor Supply. You can buy a large 1/2 " thick mat for $29.95. Cut a piece off for the workbench and use the rest on the floor in front of the bench you feet will love it as will your guns.
 

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I just used a piece of plywood for the top. Would that that polyurethane just fine?
Plywood is absolutely fine. You need to sand it first though. I would start with a belt sander using 120 grit sandpaper. Then, I would follow it up with an oscillating sander using 240 grit sandpaper. Then, you need to brush all the dust off, and wipe down with a damp rag. Then, let dry, and apply the 1st coat of Polyurethane.

Let the Polyurethane dry over night, then sand with 240 grit and repeat. After about three coats, you will get a really nice, hard durable finish. This finish will be solvent resistant and very easy to maintain.
 

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I have 3/16 or 1/4 inch hard board on most of my bench tops. If/when wore out, I jjust replace.

For gun cleaning/work though I use cheap fender covers from O'Rielly's or other auto parts store. They are cheap if you watch where/when you buy and last forever if you take them off when doing the more violent/heavy work in a shop.
 

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I use a 2ftx3ft Piece of 1/4 in. ply wood as my gun cleaning board.
and use it where ever I clean them.
The table I usually work at has 7 coats of polyurethane on it. I still use the cleaning board just to handle the brunt of the toxins. Also eliminates most of the cleanup.
 

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Every bench I've built before including my current one that has steel shelving for legs, has had a wood top. My current top was made from two solid core doors screwed together. After getting the bench to that stage I take the measurements to my local air conditioning repair place and have them make from the thickest sheet metal they have, a steel top that is bent to hang over all four sides. I first screw on the side's edges a flat piece of perforated metal. Then I glue the sheet metal top on and pop rivet the bent sides to the perforated metal. Strong as an ox and not a bit of any liquid gets to the wood. I keep the top in shape by using a WD-40 dampened rag for a wipe down. No rust and no fuss. Smithy.
 

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I have 3/16 or 1/4 inch hard board on most of my bench tops. If/when wore out, I jjust replace.

For gun cleaning/work though I use cheap fender covers from O'Rielly's or other auto parts store. They are cheap if you watch where/when you buy and last forever if you take them off when doing the more violent/heavy work in a shop.
WOW! This is exactly my MO as well. I guess great minds really do think alike.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Will the polyurethane finish eventually dry to a smooth finish after a few coats so that I would be able to run my hand over the plywood without getting splinters? Or would I want to shellac the top after a few coats of polyurethane?
 

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Will the polyurethane finish eventually dry to a smooth finish after a few coats so that I would be able to run my hand over the plywood without getting splinters? Or would I want to shellac the top after a few coats of polyurethane?
Yes it will. Just be sure to dull the finish between each coat and make sure you stir the polyurethane well before you put it on.
 
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