I think that the best finish for a bench top is no finish. A bare top grips stock better than one under a film. The only real problem I have with a bare top is its weakness for spills. I try to avoid accidents, but I want my coffee cup close at hand. I needed a cupholder.
I made strips of Beech, but the tightest curve it would bend without breaking was this:
So I wrapped it in a clean rag, soaked it, and placed it in the microwave.
I took the strip out of the microwave, bent it in the opposite direction to the way it came out, soaked the cloth, and re-steamed the strip. I repeated this until the strip would bend to the radius I required.
The parts were left to dry overnight on the form, and for a few weeks after before gluing. The centre ring is glued as it's spun around the form.
A bungee makes a good clamp.
The rest is glued together, the end trimmed square, and a Lee Valley Tenon Cutter makes the tenon.
Some router work, a chisel, and some sandpaper later, I have:
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