I have inherited my grandfather’s old woodworking bench. I have a lot of emotional attachment to it and wonder if there’s a way of renewing the surface to get rid of the nicks, scratches and so forth that have built up over time, without replacing it with a brand-new top?
Michael Dresdner: Frankly, I’m baffled. If you have emotional attachment to it, wouldn’t you want to keep the nicks and scratches that have built up over time? After all, that is what differentiates this bench from any other, is it not?
If the bench has a solid wood top, you can use a hand plane cutting diagonally to create a clean, flat surface. If you have a wide-belt sander, remove the top and put it through the sander a few times. On the other hand, if you want to fill the nicks and scratches without removing them, fill the surface with decoupage epoxy or polyester coating and squeegee off any excess. You’ll then have a flat surface with visually apparent nicks and scratches which are filled flush with clear plastic.
Rob Johnstone: In the September/October issue of the Woodworker’s Journal, Ian Kirby and Frank Klausz each write an article on building their own style of workbench. Ian goes into some detail on leveling a benchtop. His advice is just what you need to get you going.