Another Roubo with shelf: I mostly plane at this bench so I keep all my go-to bench planes on the shelf. Notice I over-built the frame to add enough mass to fully eliminate any motion under planing action. The bench sits a bit away from the wall to provide wall space to store my handsaws.
Today I applied the finish to my latest Welsh stick chair and opted for a blend of linseed oil and beeswax made by Swede Paint Enterprises. During the last year it has become one of my favorite finishes for traditional pieces.
I had considered using a soap finish for the chair but opted for the linseed oil and wax blend because it will darken with exposure to light and oxygen. A soap finish would have preserved the light color – almost ghostliness – of the sycamore.
Note: Before you read another word, know that Swede Paint distributes our books in Canada. We got involved with them because of their fantastic finishing products and business philosophy. We do not benefit in any way from sales of their finishing products. But we do love their products.
The linseed oil and beeswax mix is a joy to use. It has the consistency of something between mayonnaise and peanut butter, but is surprisingly not sticky. It absorbs readily into bare wood and forms a matte and smooth surface that is superior to linseed oil alone.
Like all finishes that involve linseed oil and wax, it is not a permanent or highly protective finish. You will need to apply more finish in a few years. But it is easily maintained and repaired. I prefer this quality (repair-ability) over film finishes such as varnish or urethane that can be difficult to repair.
Two thin coats of finish produced a beautiful and touchable luster. It is an excellent finish for beginners who are inexperienced with finishing. Even though I’ve used everything from high-performance film finishes, shellac, pine tar, asphaltum, pre-cat lacquer, to you name it, this finish suits me. It’s simple, natural and easily renewed. Check it out.
When I built my Roubo bench several years back, I added the customary shelf between the stretchers. I mostly use this area for clamp storage more than tools. For whatever reason, it also tends to also attract scraps of wood, unused tools and bits of debris. About once a year I go thru the mess and clean it out.
My Moravian bench does not have a shelf, nor have I ever really missed it not having one. Today while cleaning the pile of accumulated junk from under the Roubo (again), I was thinking that maybe a shelf is more trouble than it is worth.