Exploring Finish For Plywood Workbench Top

Name one cost-effective and versatile material that DIY lovers are always heads over heel with and surely most of you will know already that I’m talking about plywood. This amazing building material is not only flexible but also super popular among every type of woodworker.

Maximum projects related to plywood will need you to apply some sort of finish that gives it a better end result. Especially when we are in a discussion about plywood worktops of workbench.

And so, it’s important you pay attention to the choice of finish for plywood workbench top or similar worktop.

Finish for Plywood Workbench Top

Choosing Finish for Plywood Workbench Top: Exploring Options Available

Yes, from the heading you have already well guessed what we are about to do for today. It’s going to be a helpful and comprehensive guide for those who don’t know much about finishes that look and also work good on plywood.

I hope by the end you’ll make a choice for your in-process workbench. If you are in a mood to buy one then don’t forget to check this workbench review guide here that speaks for numerous budget-friendly options.

Anyways, let’s move on to the finish choices available for those in need. Here We Go!

Basic Idea

Before I start taking over the topic let’s go over some general ideas related to finishing. When it comes to workbench made of plywood, there are basically two types of stain or finish people use most. These are water or oil-based stains.

The major benefits of water-based stains are that these are pretty simple to clean, extremely fast drying and blend well in tight spaces. While oil-based stains are time-consuming to clean up with solvent, drying time is also extended and suits huge areas most of the time.

For the easy application and clean up benefits, first-timers like to opt for water-based options. But then again, there’s no doubt that oil-based finishes are better at outcome providing when the surface is larger. Also, they are long-lasting compared to water-based stains.

There are also two other types of stain formulations available for the finish. These are liquid and gel-based.

The liquid stains are very easy to apply with faster strokes and benefits using in a huge area. However, the finished look is sort of unpredictable. Gel stains, on the other hand, are time consuming for application. But the results are promising and controllable.

You also have the option to fix mistakes with gel-based stains. Don’t expect these to work well in larger surfaces, however.

​For beginners, liquid stains are a better option because of the easy application. If you still don’t want to compromise the control over finished outlook, gel-based stain is way to go. A few mistakes here as a beginner will not cost you a lot as well.

3 Popular Choices of Finishes for Workbench Top

Right finish for the plywood workbench top to stay in great shape, that’s what we are craving for in this section. On that note, let me tell you about three of the best nominees for finishes that rocks our requirements.


There’s almost nobody who does not like to add color to the things they love. And workbench top is one of the few places where creatives like you throw their entire passion for a good project.

Won’t it be nice if the top has the splash of your favorite color while being protected from exterior harms? PAINTS are what helps you here!

You can choose this very common type of finish that most plywood workers love to use for their workbench top. It’s great to keep the top well from harsh weather elements also.

Just sand it down and put primer coat to prepare the board. Once it’s dry you can apply your favorite paint over it. Finally, go for a polyurethane coating to completely seal down the deal of protection and savor its visuals.

Water Repellant Finish

I know certain people who will never want to lose the natural shade of wood. It’s truly gorgeous and to me especially, the natural wood looks very classy. So of course, there’s a secret wish of preserving the natural wood grain even with plywood workbench top.

Drying oil, wax, paint thinners and mineral spirits, all come together and form a very popular solvent mixture that is known as water-repellant plywood finish. These are really great at penetrating deep down the plywood material. There’s no artificial color that comes out.

Those who love the natural wood color can opt for water-repellant plywood finishes that only keeps retaining the shade. It keeps on preserving the natural wood grain as well. The plywood top treated with this solvent will also fight water absorption nicely.

Fiber Cement Sheet Overlays

You can also opt for fiber cement sheet overlays for plywood. These are very good for fire resistance. So, the extra safety feature gets ticked with an overlay that comes along plywood.

Workbench top needs you to deal with numerous situations. Catching fire isn’t really too surprising. So, the overlay would be a nice way to deal with it.


So, this was all about the different types of finish for plywood workbench top that you can use. Hopefully, it was helpful that will make you choose the right type of finish necessary for your workbench top.

Don’t be too quick to come to a conclusion, however. Give yourself some time and go over the requirements you would prefer in your workbench top. After a good mulling-over session, you should be able to make a choice easily.

But, if you still want some suggestions or have queries to ask, feel free to comment down below and I’ll love to help. Good Luck!


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