Danish oil smears

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Forum topic by fourtay22 posted 06-02-2015 10:37 PM 1407 views 2 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View fourtay22's profile


7 posts in 1154 days

06-02-2015 10:37 PM


I have a finishing problem… in the pic below I have 2 coats of Watco Danish oil on and you can see that it has not dried smoothly. Very streaky and blotchy. To me it looks like there are parts of the top that had more oil and dried thicker than the spots that took the oil. Im not sure what I did wrong as I waited the 15min before wiping off the excess. This seems to be a recurrent problem for me once I place more than 1 coat of oil on.

Is there any way to remdy this situation other than restripping the finish again? How can I prevent this from happening and get a nice smooth finish? Thanks.

11 replies so far

View Gentile's profile


306 posts in 1840 days

#1 posted 06-02-2015 10:52 PM

Try giving it another coat. While it’s still wet wipe it with a dry cloth. The new coat should dissolve the glossy spots. The glossy areas are where the oil has been absorbed as much as it can be. I’ve noticed the same thing happening when I use Watco. The later applications don’t soak in as much as first ones do.
Nice piece by the way!

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View jerryminer's profile


926 posts in 1463 days

#2 posted 06-03-2015 12:23 AM

+1 what he said ^^—Watco is pretty forgiving, but you should wipe it off before it forms a thick(ish) film. You can also wet-sand with 400 or 600, then wipe off. Might help keep things even.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Tim_CPWD 's profile


365 posts in 1267 days

#3 posted 06-03-2015 04:03 AM

Agree with the wet sand application. I have had good success wet sanding Danish oil finishes. I apply several coats over a few days. With each coat I use a higher grit sand paper. Apply oil, wet sand, wipe off excess, let dry over night. I use a progression of 220, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit. That may be overkill but it makes for a really nice finish. After the last coat of oil is dry I recommend using a paste wax and rubbed on and buffed off with a soft cloth. I use Black Bison Fine Paste wax by Liberon but there are many brands out there that I am sure would work well. Hope this is helpful.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

View Gentile's profile


306 posts in 1840 days

#4 posted 06-03-2015 04:24 AM

Oh yeah, I forgot about the fine grits sanding while wet and the finish, wax. I love using Wato oils, like Jerry said, its forgiving. A buddy of mine used to brag about the 10 coats he’d put on a piece.
A thing I like about Watco Oils is that if there is a scratch or something, whip out the can and put more on. Hard to do with other finishes.

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View fourtay22's profile


7 posts in 1154 days

#5 posted 06-03-2015 05:29 AM

Thanks for the re: to wet sanding, you just wet sand the glossy areas or the entire piece.

View woodenwarrior's profile


231 posts in 2217 days

#6 posted 06-03-2015 11:04 AM

Wet sand the entire piece using the same Danish oil otherwise you’ll just multiply the problem. Your wood is absorbing the oil at different rates over its length. Wet sanding will help even it out.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 06-03-2015 01:57 PM

I agree with the remedies suggested. In the future, I would recommend leaving less oil on the surface during application. When using Watco, I coat the piece thoroughly but wipe off just as thoroughly. I’ve never had an issue with glossy areas.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View JayT's profile


5668 posts in 2233 days

#8 posted 06-03-2015 02:16 PM

Another person who wet sands Watco here. Sand the entire piece while the oil is still wet. Evens out the finish and works as a pore filler to a certain degree.

Also, I find the 15min and 30min (2nd coat) recommendations on the can to be too long. I get much better results by applying, sanding and letting set at most couple minutes before wiping off—most times I’ll wipe off immediately after sanding. Then switch to a dry rag and wipe again. Humidity is fairly low here, however, and that probably varies by climate, so may need longer in more humid environments—I don’t have any experience there.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View bbasiaga's profile


1234 posts in 2017 days

#9 posted 06-03-2015 03:50 PM

I will have to try the wet sanding one of these times. I just found this stuff, and love it. I too wipe pretty darn hard after the 15min. I go to the point where it looks very even and is almost dry to the touch.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View RobS888's profile


2412 posts in 1867 days

#10 posted 06-03-2015 03:56 PM

+1 for wiping on then fulling wiping off, I’ve found that 15 minutes to be way too long. I think 5 minutes might be too long as well. Flood it on, work it with a foam brush, then wipe it off with a paper towel, the paper towel can be used on the next piece.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View jerryminer's profile


926 posts in 1463 days

#11 posted 06-03-2015 04:58 PM

Yes, what they said ^^^. If it gets hard to wipe off, adding fresh material and wiping will re-dissolve some of the drying material and make it easier to wipe off.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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