The Deft is about $8 a quart the last time I bought some. I have considered
mixing my own if I can't get the Deft.
Once, I used Garret Hack's formula of 1/3 turpentine, 1/3 quick dry varnish,
1/3 blo (IIRC). I liked that as well.
I agree that Deft is a good finish because of the higher varnish
content. Waterlox is another great finish.
But that higher content makes then both a "dust magnet", which
requires a dust free environment. Either that, or you're going to be
doing a lot of sanding in between coats. And after that last coat,
you'll probably need to do an oil and pumice rub out at the end, to
eliminate any of the last dust particles that settled on the wood.
As a woodworker, having a dust free environment is quite tough. Even
with my air cleaner, dust system and daily (or weekly) sweeping, my
shop still has a dust level that would never be suitable for anything
Sad, but realistic.
There are many woodworkers out there that make their own Danish Oil.
The common recipe is 1/3 turpentine, 1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil and 1/3
You can tweak this recipe a bit to customize it for your work. Say you
need something highly water resistant. For your one-third portion of
varnish, you could use spar varnish, which is highly water
Some people even use slightly higher percentages of turpentine, to
thin the mix down, it will absorb and penetrate better. You could do
that on the first initial coat or two, then mix some a little thicker
for the last coat or two.
Mixing your own is good for two things - you can customize it for your
particular needs, and you can save some money. I think a quart of
Watco here in Las Vegas is around $9.50.
Basically it is a mixture of varnish, oil, and thinner. Varnish can
be anything from spar varnish for flexibility to polyurethane for a
harder finish. Oil is usually boiled linseed oil, tung oil, etc. The
thinner can be turpentine, colorless mineral spirits, or if thrifty
the smelly mineral spirits that Watco uses. Starting point is about
equal parts of the 3 components. For the first coat I use less
varnish for better penetration, more varnish for middle coats for
faster build, and the equal parts for the final coat because it is
less tacky than with more varnish to make a smooth finish easier to
obtain. Experiment, it is very forgiving finish.
Put the finish on, wait a while, wet sand, and wipe dry with a rag.
For wet sanding I use between 200 and 800 grit depending on the wood.
The 200 grit is useful for open pore wood if you want to fill the
pores with swarf.
I use it on most of my projects. To get an idea of what they look
like some of them are at:
more are at:
For the scroll saw work I use compressed air to blow the excess finish
out of the cuts that I can't dry with a rag.
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