The basic home brew Danish oil is 1/3 tung oil. 1/3 mineral spirits, 1/3
So, yes varnish cut 50% would look pretty much like a Danish oil. Actually
they all, oil finishes, look, as far as tone or color, like a varnish finish
without the build.
Danish oil is be a pretty generic term that I would define as an oil finish
containing resins that can be absorbed into the wood cells and is not meant
to be nor would provide, due to it's high oil content, a good surface
Danish oil's basic components is, after all, the same as a surface building
varnish. Oil, carrier/thinner, resins. Cutting varnish 50% would certainly
qualify the results as a Danish oil with the single exception that if you
were to, for some unfathomable reason, apply enough coats, you could build
it into a good surface varnish finish. It wouldn't make any sense to do so
By playing with the ratio's of the 1/3 formula you can vary the properties
of your home brew Danish oil. While varnish cut 50% will, eventually,
provide some more protection then some other possible combination of the
ingredients I would venture to opine that, due to the low oil content, while
it would cure quicker then a mix containing more oil, it would require more
coats to obtain the same level of sheen that the basic 1/3 formula would. It
is, after all, the oil not the resins that imparts the character to the
As for the extra protection, I use a Danish oil over a straight BLO or tung
oil for that very reason so I'm certainly can't quibble there. But, one must
keep in mind, when weighing the benefits of an oil finish, that what ever
level of protection a Danish oil gives over a non resin containing oil, it
is still far inferior to a surface finish and I'd only recommend it on
projects not receiving a lot of day to day handling/use of where the piece
might be subject to standing liquids.
As for the ratio of the basic components, what ever floats you boat is fine
with me. And, for the original poster, you have to consider the properties
of the ingredients and experiment to find the mix you like, be it varnish
cut 50%, a 1/3 mix, or some variation there of. In the long run they all
pull into the same station.
Just a thought.
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