wood countertop finishes

I am making a kitchen counter top using southern yellow pine, mostly quarter sawn. I finished a previous one with mineral oil, but it dries out rather often and needs more coats.
I am wondering if BLO would be a workable solution for this. Though the counter is in a kitchen, it will not be used as a cutting board, so I am not concerned about a 'food-safe' finish. It is also not in a wet location.
If this would work, how should it be applied? I have never worked with BLO, so would appreciate any advice.
If this is not recommended, what is?
Thanks for any help, Harvey
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eclipsme wrote:

I've been doing a little research on wood countertops and one of the high end countertop websites I found said they use Waterlox. I think the Waterlox website has a mention of countertops too. I've used it on a couple of projects and I'm sold on everything but the cost. It's pretty pricey compared to the alternatives.
DonkeyHody "Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then."
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Enough Waterlox to do a huge kitchen's counters with many coats is still less than $20, IIRC. Even if that's twice the cost of something else, it's still less than $20.
And it's good stuff.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote:

Agreed. I guess I'm still influenced by my first experience. I couldn't find it locally and ended up paying over $30 for a quart with shipping. It wouldn't be a high percentage of the cost of a countertop, but it added significantly to the cost of the small project I was working on at the time. Of course I still have about half a can, but my mind still hangs onto the notion that it's expensive.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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DonkeyHody wrote:

Hmm... Why not just use Tung Oil? I never seem to trust the "made from" mixtures. I wonder if they really add any value.
Anyway, thanks for the post.
Harvey
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<snip>
Harvey, I finished my SYP workbench with pure tung oil, and love the look as well as the finish for that application. But I don't think I'd use it (or BLO) for a counter where I want to protect the surface. While I agree with your skepticism about "made from" products, don't confuse waterlox with an oil finish. It is a phenolic resin varnish that uses tung as the oil part of the mix. But it creates a very hard film finish which rubs out beautifully. A friend did a mahogany surface in his kitchen with it. Said he initially winced every time someone threw down their keys on the counter, or a teenaged friend of his children sat or leaned on it. But it still looks great. Never seen it on SYP, but I think it tends to amber a little like BLO, so should be very attractive.
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alexy wrote:

I find that I like the look of the oil finish, though. I don't mind having to redo it occasionally, but the mineral spirits need it a bit too often. Perhaps I should rethink and go with something like this in a mat or semigloss formulation. I suppose if it can be rubbed out, I could control the amount of luster that I wanted.
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says...

If I want the oil finish look, yet want something that seals better and lasts longer I use a mix of 1 part BLO, 2 parts gloss polyurethane and 3 parts vegetable turpentine. Flood on, let it sink in, keep replenishing until the timber takes no more. Wipe dry (vigorously). Repeat procedure several times. Gives a very nice oil looking, but hardier finish especially on close grained timber. What's even nicer, it doesn't matter if you get some dust on it while working with it, cause you wipe it dry after application. Doesn't work so well on coarse grained gum, oak, mahogany type timbers if water resistance is required cause it doesn't seal those large pores as well. Got the receipe from Fine Woodworking some donkey's years ago. -P.
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eclipsme wrote:
> Hmm... Why not just use Tung Oil? I never seem to trust the "made from" > mixtures. I wonder if they really add any value.
As long as you don't expect it to dry in your lifetime, go for it.
Otherwise:
A quart of BLO and a quart of Turps will be about $10-$12.
1 part BLO, 2 parts Turps, and some rags.
Have fun.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

A previous post mentioned the smell of this. Have you found this to be an issue?
Thanks, Harvey
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eclipsme wrote:
> A previous post mentioned the smell of this. Have you found this to be > an issue?
I like the smell of turps.
Only problem is 10 minutes, smell is gone.
Lew
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I think both Lew and DonkeyHody are overstating just a bit to make a point.
As DonkeyHody said, BLO will smell. I like it, but many probably don't. And I would never do an enclosed space such as inside of a drawer or cabinet with BLO because without circulation, the smell will linger forever. Even with an exposed countertop, I suspect those coming into your house would notice the smell for a month or two.
It's true that Tung takes MUCH longer to solidify than does BLO, but it does get there. Lay out a rag that you have used to apply BLO, and it will be stiff in a day or two. One used to apply Tung will take a couple of weeks. On the other hand, Tung has a much more benign "nutty" smell.
Given that you want a close-to-the-wood finish, I'd go with one of the oil-varnish blends usually sold as "Danish Oil" to get a little more protection than you would get from BLO or Tung.
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Try "Odorless Mineral Spirits" in place of Turps.
The BLO will still smell, but more like a fresh oil painting.
Sell it from the artist's standpoint. <G>
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alexy wrote:

You may be right about overstating. After all, forever is a long time. But SWMBO is extremely sensitive to smells, especially oil based paints, varnish, etc. It isn't just that she complains, she gets headaches, nausea, the whole nine yards. Twenty years of living with her has certainly influenced my outlook on the smell issue. Your mileage may vary.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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alexy wrote:

Good advice. Thanks. I am thinking that the mineral oil I am currently uses never solidifies, and that is the problem. That is why I keep having to apply it and if I don't the wood starts looking dried out.
I like the idea/smell of Tung oil. Perhaps a couple of coats with that with perhaps a follow up in a week or 2? The apartment won't be lived in for a while yet, so it really shouldn't matter that the oil is not 'dry' for a while.
As far as protection goes, I don't think I want to sacrifice the feel of wood (vs film finish) for protection. After all, the opposite side of the kitchen is a concrete counter top which, while sealed and waxed, will inevitably show food marks and stains of various sorts. I think it will form a nice patina over time, just as the wood counter top will too.
How do you all feel about that?
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Yes. Linseed, Tung, and Walnut oil are "drying oils", which is a bit of a misnomer, since they don't dry out (through evaporation) so much as solidify, thought oxidation. At least that is my understanding, but I am not a chemist, nor do I play one on TV.

Traditional first coat is 50/50 mix with mineral spirits. And my SYP bench really soaked that up. I followed the BLO workbench advice of once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and yearly thereafter.

that's why I suggested Danish oil. Don't think you would sacrifice the feel, and would get some (though not as much as a film finish) protection. Guess you need to identify why you want any finish at all, then pick the finish that gives the qualities you are looking for.
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alexy wrote:

However I *did* stay at the holiday inn last night! (not)

yes, I had forgotten about this. thanks.
And my SYP

And if I ever knew this, I had forgotten it, as well.

Wow, what a great question. I think the part where you ask "at all" through me a bit! Maybe I don't even need a finish! But then I realized that yes, I want to enhance the depth of the wood grain, as well as slow down and mostly stop the rapid sucking up of liquid spills, like coffee.
I think one of the 'drying' oils is the way to go for me. I will have to consider the danish oils. I used to use Watco when I lived in California years ago, quite extensively, but when I moved to Florida, it was not available. The substitute I used did not work out as well. Then I seem to recall reading that Watco had changed it's formulation and the whole thing got dropped from my mind.
Which Danish oil would you recommend?
Thanks, Harvey
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eclipsme wrote:

Another consideration is smell. Film forming finishes like Waterlox tend to stink until they cure and then they are pretty much odorless. With BLO, I think your kitchen would reek of linseed oil forever.
DonkeyHody "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."
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DonkeyHody wrote:

Hmm... good point. Thanks!
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I've finished wooden bowls with a mix of equal parts of tung oil, turpentine, and low gloss (satin finish) polyurethane varnish. Similar to some of the wipe on varnish finishes that you can buy. It penetrates well, the tung oil and poly really pop the grain in the wood, and it seems to be pretty durable, and I would imagine easy to recoat. Kind of reaping the benefits of both the tung oil and the poly.

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