I want to apply a finish to some furniture that we've stripped.
Mainly, it seems to be oak although I think some beech too.
Some was painted but mostly we have removed that shiny shellac type
finish to reveal some lovely light brown/greyish wood.
My first thought was to apply Danish oil as a finish since I have had
good success with it on pine. Does anyone have any suggestions for an
I would not like to darken it much although making a little browner
rather than grey would be acceptable. I also want to try to avoid a
shiny finish if possible.
My friend helping suggested using a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil
and turpentine substitute but as I have no experience with that I
thought I would check with this group before proceeding.
Any and all suggestions are welcome.
Thanks as always.
Replace 'spam' with 'org' to reply
Danish oil, or a finishing oil.
Danish oil is oil+varnish, and every maker has their own recipe. Only
trust those you're familiar with, as some can be ugly.
For oil, use a commercial mix of finishing oil (probably based on
tung, not linseed). Linseed is a problematic oil for finishing and
isn't easy to use. It also yellows considerably on aging.
Don't add "turps sub" to linseed oil (or other oils), look for real
turpentine. If you merely want to dilute it, use white spirit
instead. White spirit evaporates, turps sub will leave an oily
As to which to choose, Danish has a little varnish in and will cure
slightly harder and more quickly. It's usually a more visible finish
than oil, but has a cloudy dullness to it. Oil is less visible until
you've really started to build up a good coating, then develops a
sheen. You can buff this to a high gloss, or leave it 3 months (or
until Spring, at this time of year) then cut it back a little with
For any oil finish, including Danish oil, apply it far too thinly and
then apply thicker coats as you get used to how it handles. If you
apply too thick a coat, you have no end of trouble fixing the mess
As always, experiment on scrap or you're experimenting on your
I know I still have a lot to learn but with most of the Danish oil type
finishes I still drown the surface, let it soak and then wipe off the
excess. Is this a reasonable way to do it or a waste of time and
finish. I grew up with brush coats (spar varnish) and sprays (lacquer
and enamel). I needed to refinish a piano about the time Homer Formby
hit the street and used his product and followed his directions. It
worked OK on the piano and I've been doing it ever since (not with
Homer's stuff but with about everything else). Andy, give me your thoughts.
Andy Dingley wrote:
On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 17:43:31 -0500, Robert Galloway
So long as you wipe off the excess, and do it whilst it's still
It's leaving an excess on as a thin layer, and for long enough to
start curing, that's the problem. If you can soak it up, fine. If you
can wipe it off, fine. If it's thin enough to cure properly, fine.
The troublesome stuff is layers that get left on to half-cure and skin
over, but are then too thick and impermeable to let their base cure
fully, in under historical timescales.
Obviously dipping, soaking and wiping is also a one-coat technique. If
you're looking for multiple coats, you're back to wiping.
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