Fine Oils for finishes #1: Oils-better and easier?

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Blog entry by stainqueen posted 01-18-2008 07:52 PM 443 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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When finishing your project, is a oil finish such as tung oil, teak oil or danish oil better or more appealing than a traditional varnish or polyurethane?

5 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3522 days

#1 posted 01-18-2008 08:07 PM

My belief is that applying the right finish for the right situation is the same as using the right tool for the given task at hand. I would not use a screwdriver to dig a hole or a shovel to hammer a nail.

The type of project often dictates a specific look or wear need. Some projects can be a user’s choice in that 2 or 3 options would look good.

I made a folding stepstool that had to have oil because a film finish would peel off from the folding action.

I typically use a film finish on my projects and they do not have the “plastic” look because I don’t put them on too thick. They wear very nicely when used appropriately. I tend to use the pre-catalyzed lacquers from Sherwin Williams.

I would not use this on a dining table top, a kitchen cabinet, or bathroom vanity because they are not durable enough for wet use locations as such. I would use a catalyzed varnish.

Some of the waterbase finishes are very durable when cured and offer great protection against water and chemical destruction.

Oil finishes can offer good protection when they are maintained and they are very repairable.

I am certain the varnish and polyurethane would be durable enough for most any piece of furniture that you are making.

Confused Yet?

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3319 days

#2 posted 01-18-2008 08:07 PM

I started a post, but Todd beat me to it with some great information.
Like he said, it depends. Is the piece for touchy-feely or for using every day?

My 2 cents worth:
Oil is the least durable and the easiest to repair, but when it is properly applied with sandpaper, it is gorgeous to look at and wonderful to feel. Three or four coats of oil, followed by three coats of paste wax, is unbelievably smooth.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View stainqueen's profile


2 posts in 3204 days

#3 posted 01-18-2008 08:22 PM

I was kinda thinking that…

So to care for your projects, do you suggest lemon oil, orange oil, or something else?

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 3319 days

#4 posted 01-18-2008 09:28 PM

Howard Feed-N-Wax. Best stuff around, hands down.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3213 days

#5 posted 01-18-2008 09:56 PM

As said. It depends on what the project is.
I love the look and feel of an oil finish. Topped of with a couple of coat of paste wax applied with 0000 steel wool. The finish has a sheen and as smooth as a babys butt. And easy to repair if needed.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

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