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  • Learn a newbie about oil

    Hello all, I've been using Varathane for everything since I started w/w a few years ago. I like the finish (and its ease of use) but as some have commented in previous posts, the finish is flat and doesn't have that warm look that some of you get on your posted project pics.

    I gingerly took the next step and bought a can of Danish Oil Finish (linseed oil) from Lee Valley. I applied three coats to some scrap pine, each coat per the instructions, but I just don't get it. I've let the pine sit of some months.
    The oil does give the pine the warm amber look (and brings out the grain) but doesn't seem to offer any protection. Water doesn't bead and there is no sheen.
    I've read in previous posts that you can let the oil sit for a year and then Varathane but others warn about mixing oil and water.

    I must be missing something... do you buff the oil with another oil-based product for the protection and sheen?
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  • #2

    Re: Learn a newbie about oil

    Re: Learn a newbie about oil

    Some products like Watco offer a wax fora topcoat. I have also used varathane over watco oil for a harder finish, but it must be very dry before applying
    In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity. - Thomas Sowell

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    • #3

      Re: Learn a newbie about oil

      Re: Learn a newbie about oil

      Oil has a bunch of uses, and there are 2 main types.

      Polymerizing and non-polymerizing. Short answer is, does the oil harden in a relatively short time. Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) and danish oil are both polymerizing oils. Vegetable oil, walunut oil are not polymerizing.

      For things like a cutting board, you don't want a finish that forms a film, The chopping will just destroy that. So you can use a non-polymerizing oil and just keep refreshing it over time.

      For a full oil finish, there is the old adage. Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, then once a year from that point on. The win of an oil finish is that it can be refreshed without having to strip the old finish. Its generally a very low sheen, but doesn't offer much protection to the wood. The oil will help with buffing a piece to a high gloss shine (think of a wooden sculpture) but that requires a much harder/tight grained wood then pine.

      Varnishes are just oils that have more 'solids' in them which helps build the finish faster. Danish oil is oil and varnish mixed together, usually with some pigment/dye to add colour.

      Personally I like to just wipe a light coat of BLO onto wood. The amount used would be similar to wetting a paper bag. Let it cure a day or two, this pops the grain of the wood, then once it has cured you can put whatever film finish you would like on there.

      Its also a very good way to get a silky smooth finish. Sand up to 220, then put some oil on the wood and sand it some more with wet/dry paper. This produces a wood/oil slurry that works into the pores and fill in the grain on woods that need pore filling. Not great for big pored woods, but does make for a nice finish for items that you don't want that high gloss, plastic type finish. I use that mainly on the archery bows that I make.

      Scott

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      • #4

        Re: Learn a newbie about oil

        Re: Learn a newbie about oil

        Thanks Scott- that fills in alot of gaps I had on this topic. (and, thanks ST, for posting the question in the first place!)

        Scott, can you explain the difference between BLO, and raw linseed oil?

        (beyond the simple observation that one is raw and the other has been boiled, which is honestly the responce I got at my local hardware store!)

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        • #5

          Re: Learn a newbie about oil

          Re: Learn a newbie about oil

          one of my favorite way to finish highly figured (curly maple etc) is to sand to 400-600 grit, and apply up to 12 coats of linseed or tung oil. and buffing with 0000 steel wool inbetween all coats. once the oil has been allowed to set for a week or so, another steel wool buff, and then apply 3-5 coats of wax buffed in. this gives a beautiful depth to the wood and rich lustre. it does need periodic polishing with a soft cloth to bring the lustre back, and a fresh coat of wax when the shine cant be buffed back into it. as with most things in life, the more effort, the better quality the results.

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          • #6

            Re: Learn a newbie about oil

            Re: Learn a newbie about oil

            I can help too!

            BLO is actually not boiled maybe back in the day it was but these days they add driers ( aka heavy metals and toxic stuff ) to get the oil to dry quicker.

            Raw is raw nothing done to it


            I suggest you try this finish mix, just mix equal amounts of these 3

            BLO - Boiled linseed oil
            RAW Tung oil
            Poly-urthane - ( semi gloss or gloss to build )


            We sand 220,320,400, 500 ( adralon ) burnish with wool pad
            If you sand like this and use this finish you will be blown away, how ice it is after one coat!


            Wipe on using cheap foam brush

            let sit for 20min wipe totally off with blue shop towels, make sure to wipe and wipe and wipe. it's easy to do just saying make sure you get every spot wiped off well. we do chair mostly so there spots that like to hide from us.....lol


            Give it a couple days and repeat up to 6 times, our chairs get between 4 and 6 coats like this, for a table top do this 2 coats, then use straight poly urathane for the extra protection.





            Originally posted by Climbin Simon View Post
            Thanks Scott- that fills in alot of gaps I had on this topic. (and, thanks ST, for posting the question in the first place!)

            Scott, can you explain the difference between BLO, and raw linseed oil?

            (beyond the simple observation that one is raw and the other has been boiled, which is honestly the responce I got at my local hardware store!)
            Canadian Woodworks - Custom wooden rocking chairs

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            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Learn a newbie about oil

              Re: Learn a newbie about oil

              Originally posted by Climbin Simon View Post
              Thanks Scott- that fills in alot of gaps I had on this topic. (and, thanks ST, for posting the question in the first place!)

              Scott, can you explain the difference between BLO, and raw linseed oil?

              (beyond the simple observation that one is raw and the other has been boiled, which is honestly the responce I got at my local hardware store!)
              What Shrlok said ^^^ and

              The BLO will dry faster becasue of the additives. Raw Linseed oil takes weeks or months to dry. BLO takes just a day or two depending on type of wood, amount of oil, humidity, temperature, air flow, etc.

              All wipe on finishes are just diferent degrees of the same thing. Just a matter of what percentage is solids. More solids means that it builds faster, and more solids usually means things added to aid in drying time. From least to most

              Linseed oil, Walnut oil
              BLO or Tung oil
              Danish oils
              Wipe on Poly

              Scott

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              • #8

                Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                Originally posted by Scott View Post
                All wipe on finishes are just diferent degrees of the same thing. Just a matter of what percentage is solids. More solids means that it builds faster, and more solids usually means things added to aid in drying time. From least to most

                Linseed oil, Walnut oil
                BLO or Tung oil
                Danish oils
                Wipe on Poly
                So, is there an advantage to having less solids? Is there any reason one would use raw linseed, or walnut oil, despite the increased drying time?

                I have 3/4 of a litre of raw linseed in the back of my paint cabinet- is there an ideal way for me to get some use out of it? Would I just use it as part of the finishing mixes that people described earlier, in lieu of the BLO, and just accept that it will take longer to dry? Or is there a purpose that it is better suited for?

                Thanks!

                -s-

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                • #9

                  Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                  Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                  Sometimes you don't want a film to actually form, i.e a cutting board, wooden cooking tools, salad bowls. A poly finish on them would just get cut up and scratched. So better to apply a bit of oil every so often.

                  Raw linseed oil used to be used to thin some paints.

                  The other one is the idea of just putting a thin thin thin coat of oil on a piece of wood so that you can pop the grain, this is best done with an oil that dries so that you can then top coat without worrying about it interacting.

                  If it is raw linseed oil, then it might be food safe, I just use walnut oil. Only other thing that comes to mind is mixing your own stains.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                    Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                    [quote=Scott;305534]Sometimes you don't want a film to actually form, i.e a cutting board, wooden cooking tools, salad bowls. A poly finish on them would just get cut up and scratched. So better to apply a bit of oil every so often.

                    Raw linseed oil used to be used to thin some paints.

                    The other one is the idea of just putting a thin thin thin coat of oil on a piece of wood so that you can pop the grain, this is best done with an oil that dries so that you can then top coat without worrying about it interacting.

                    If it is raw linseed oil, then it might be food safe, I just use walnut oil. Only other thing that comes to mind is mixing your own stains.[/quote

                    For cutting boards I just use mineral oil cause I heard some folks are allergic to nut oils. I think it's carrying things a bit far but the mineral oil works and I haven't heard anything bad about it. The discussion has been had many times tho.
                    "Do it Right!"

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                    • #11

                      Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                      Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                      I have used mineral oil as well, but end up using walnut oil on my own stuff since I have it in the kitchen and that is where the implements are. Just give them all a quick wipe down every month or so. Easy to do while I am waiting for a few minutes for something to finish cooking.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                        Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                        Originally posted by shrlok View Post
                        I can help too!
                        I suggest you try this finish mix, just mix equal amounts of these 3

                        BLO - Boiled linseed oil
                        RAW Tung oil
                        Poly-urthane - ( semi gloss or gloss to build )


                        We sand 220,320,400, 500 ( adralon ) burnish with wool pad
                        If you sand like this and use this finish you will be blown away, how ice it is after one coat!
                        Well, work has been pretty busy, so it has taken me a while to get around to this, but my dining room bench is just about done, and I am going to give this finish mix a try- hopefully be able to get the first coat on tonight.

                        A question, though, about the fine steel wool- what is the advantage to it, rather than fine sandpaper. I have sanded 150, 220, 350, 500... will 00 wool really serve a purpose at this point?

                        Thanks- i'll let you know how it goes!

                        -s-

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                        • #13

                          Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                          Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                          Steel wool is a good idea between coats, because the poly should be "scratched" between coats for better adhesion.


                          For sure though if your at 500, get a rag and rub your entire project it will give it a shine when you've done enough rubbing.

                          We actually use a wool pad made by festool for that step, but from reading
                          hal Taylor and Sam maloof just did it by hand.


                          When your ready, mix the finish apply as quickly as possible let soak for 20 - 30 minutes and wipe off completely, then check in 30 minutes, give it another quick rub down with a clean rag and your good to go.
                          Canadian Woodworks - Custom wooden rocking chairs

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                          • #14

                            Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                            Re: Learn a newbie about oil

                            Got one coat on last night, and about to go do another this morning. looks great so far! I'll post pics (loikely in a seperate thread) once I'm done.

                            Thanks!

                            -simon-

                            Originally posted by shrlok View Post
                            Steel wool is a good idea between coats, because the poly should be "scratched" between coats for better adhesion.


                            For sure though if your at 500, get a rag and rub your entire project it will give it a shine when you've done enough rubbing.

                            We actually use a wool pad made by festool for that step, but from reading
                            hal Taylor and Sam maloof just did it by hand.


                            When your ready, mix the finish apply as quickly as possible let soak for 20 - 30 minutes and wipe off completely, then check in 30 minutes, give it another quick rub down with a clean rag and your good to go.

                            Comment

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