varnish on top of linseed oil


a friend is making a low wooden stool to sit on. he is using oak and seems very keen to put linseed oil on it, which he says will bring out the grain.
since this stool will go on to a japanese type padded mat, i dont want a greasy finish on it. he says that i could put a water based semi matt clear varnish on it, on top of the linseed oil. can this be right? putting varnish onto linseed oil seems a bit strange to me. if its not right could anyone advise me on what kind of varnish to put on top of the oak please.
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Torge wrote:

Using oil based varnished will do the same thing for the grain as would linseed oil.
When using linseed oil - or any oil finish - one wipes off the excess that hasn't soaked in within 30 minutes or so and the remainder dries. IOW, it isn't greasy and a top coat - even a water based one - can be applied after the oil is thoroughly dried.
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I do this frequently when using water based poly or varnish. The water based does very little to bring out the grain. DAMHIKT, but the important thing is to make sure that the BLO is well cured before the WB is applied. Wait at least a full 24 hours after the BLO app, I like to wait 48 just to be sure.
Incidentally, my experience with BLO on (red) oak is that it darkens the wood substantially. I like it myself, but if your friend may want to experiment on scrap before applying to the stool.
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I agree -- TEST
Be aware, BLO, and other oil finishes, there is dry to touch time and cure time. Dry to touch is something like 24 hours, but cure time can take weeks and weeks with red oak because of wide and big wood cells. You don't need full cure time to apply varnish top coat(s.) But you do need to check and wipe down any seepage of BLO during drying time, and the 24 hours clock gets reset to zero if any seepage occurs (this is because of large wood cellular structure in red oak exposed during sawing and sanding will fill up with BLO and drain out during drying.)
Phil S.
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Torge wrote:

It's a bit strange to me too. In the first place you would be defeating the purpose. Linseed oil is great by it's self. When the surface gets scratched, you just apply more oil and the scratch will be unnoticed. Linseed oil is great for the wood. It will keep it from cracking. Linseed oil does dry out in time and you will need to clean the surface and apply more of it.
Personally, I would use a Poly finish. It is a tough finish and will last for years.
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Torge wrote:

It's a bit strange to me too. In the first place you would be defeating the purpose. Linseed oil is great by it's self. When the surface gets scratched, you just apply more oil and the scratch will be unnoticed. Linseed oil is great for the wood. It will keep it from cracking. Linseed oil does dry out in time and you will need to clean the surface and apply more of it.
Personally, I would use a Poly finish. It is a tough finish and will last for years.
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Torge wrote:

It's a bit strange to me too. In the first place you would be defeating the purpose. Linseed oil is great by it's self. When the surface gets scratched, you just apply more oil and the scratch will be unnoticed. Linseed oil is great for the wood. It will keep it from cracking. Linseed oil does dry out in time and you will need to clean the surface and apply more of it.
Personally, I would use a Poly finish. It is a tough finish and will last for years.
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@voidacious.net says...

I cannot vouch for water based varnish, but you can definitely put oil/turps based polyurethane over a linseed oil finish. Been there, done that, many times.
-Peter
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