How to Lighten up Walnut Watco Oil Finish

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Forum topic by trc posted 08-11-2015 03:50 AM 818 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 439 days

08-11-2015 03:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing watco oil question

Two days ago I put a Walnut Watco Oil on a new knotty alder door. Prior to applying the oil I tried a couple of their colors on some scrap pieces of knotty alder trim and found that walnut best matched the existing cabinets and trim.

After applying the Walnut Watco Oil to the surface of the door, I realized that it is way too dark. I tried lightening in up by sanding, but this did not help.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to lighten this up? I am thinking of rubbing some mineral spirits or lacquer thinner onto the door, but I am not real sure what this will do.


4 replies so far

View JoshuaS's profile


7 posts in 239 days

#1 posted 02-27-2016 05:24 AM

Sounds like you used Watco Danish Oil. It’s a penetrating finish, and in penetrating, it pulled the walnut coloring deep into the wood, which is why light sanding doesn’t help. You’ll have to sand or plane “deeper” than the oil penetrated, down to virgin wood. Then start over with a lighter color. Watco’s Danish Oil comes in light, medium, and dark walnut, cherry, natural (no dye), etc. varieties. Even the natural variety “ambers” the wood a little, and I’ve had the most success using it rather than the colored versions.


View JoshuaS's profile


7 posts in 239 days

#2 posted 02-27-2016 05:26 AM

Wow, just realized how old this thread is. Sorry about bumping it up, I’m new here.

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1444 days

#3 posted 02-27-2016 08:49 AM

Happens to all of us at times.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Nubsnstubs's profile


810 posts in 1149 days

#4 posted 02-27-2016 12:49 PM

Since this is an old thread, for future reference, if your Watco comes in too dark and you’re not in a rush, lay the stained piece in the sunshine for a few days. That will lighten it some…........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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