Do NOT use this mixture for anything!
As someone else already pointed out, it is not a finish but is sometimes
still used by unfortunates as a cleaner / reviver. It will leave the
infamous "Hershey Finish" on your furniture as it slowly reacts with light
to leave a chocolate brown goo which is very difficult to remove.
Winterthur had a real problem sometime ago since the mixture used to be
thought of as an excellent cleaner / reviver for antiques. One of the chief
restorers at the Smithsonian had to come up and spend weeks teaching people
how to safely remove it.
The vinegar provides an acidic environment for the linseed oil to create
the polymers when exposed to light.
If you want an oil finish, I suggest a commercially available mixture of
oil, varnish, and thinner like Watco or Minwax Antique Oil Finish. The
small amount of varnish will provide at least a little protection for the
In some old WW books (of UK origin) that formula, or some variation of
it, was *always* a cleaner, or reviver. I tried it, and was not very
impressed. It did not work well, you have to keep shaking it
continuously to keep it mixed, and it stinks! VM&P Naptha works
Your friend may be confused with the following mix, which will make a
good oil/varnish wiping mix:
Equal parts BLO, spar varnish and turpentine.
You can fiddle with the proportions any way you like, to get the
finish desired. Some folk say use the best possible spar varnish,
while others claim the cheapest possible stuff works fine. I have only
used the cheaper polyurethanes and they give a good finish. Don't use
too much BLO, otherwise it can take days to dry out.
I have also experimented with adding dyes and artist's colors to this
mix, to get a "wiping varnish with color" It works well, but be
prepared to spent a lot of time messing about if you are fussy on the
precise color. The big advantage is that you can match the stain to
another piece of furniture.
Practice on some off-cuts to get the wiping techniques correct, and to
ensure the end color is what's desired. It can vary a lot, even on the
same species of wood.
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