Lighten BLO - Boiled Linseed oil?

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Forum topic by HandySoccerMom posted 09-30-2016 06:05 PM 1450 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 751 days

09-30-2016 06:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: blo amber finishing table

I used BLO to prep a teak dining room table. The table is mission-style with a warm orange-like amber color. The BLO made the wood a little too dark for my taste… still amber however bordering on cherry slightly. Is there a way to lighten up the finish before proceeding with Waterlox? Greatly appreciate any feedback. It’s not the end of the world if it cannot be lightened. I anticipate refinishing the table again as soon as the kids leave for college in another decade or so (or getting new furniture after they’re done ruining the second hand bargain gems I’ve been refinishing).

6 replies so far

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4994 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 09-30-2016 06:25 PM

I think that would be difficult to do other than sanding it back some. Always test your finish schedule on scraps. So at this point sand a piece of scrap to the same level as the table then apply BLO, let cure then sand again until you are happy with the color then apply Waterlox. If that makes you happy then go back to the table and duplicate the process.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Monte Pittman

29878 posts in 2486 days

#2 posted 09-30-2016 06:46 PM

Nothing usually lightens the finish. Water based finish from the start usually won’t darken it as much.

Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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Monte Pittman

29878 posts in 2486 days

#3 posted 09-30-2016 08:22 PM


-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3619 days

#4 posted 09-30-2016 09:03 PM

Waterlox would have imparted a similar amber color all by itself anyway.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Kelly's profile


2092 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 09-30-2016 09:18 PM

If you have something to test, try tossing some BLO on. Then, after the BLO has hardened, saturate it with food grade hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to bleach it and see what happens.

I may not do anything, since this is normally done to raw wood to bleach it and you’re dealing with polymerized oil. Obviously, a coat of poly and resin (e.g., Varithane) would make such an attempt a waste of time and money.

NOTE: Food grade hydrogen peroxide is available at health food stores. A quart is about twenty dollars. Handle it with care, since it’s 35% potency, versus the 3% we use elsewhere.

To neutralize, you don’t have to buy fancy things. You can used sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which can be found as a drain cleaner, but DO NOT use drain cleaners with ANY other additives.

If that doesn’t do the trick, you’re stuck with sanding though it. On the next round, look to tung oil or walnut cooking oil, since they don’t darken wood as bad.

View Matt Hegedus's profile

Matt Hegedus

146 posts in 941 days

#6 posted 10-02-2016 12:06 PM

Happened to me recently on a walnut top. Too much blo in my oil varnish mix, made things really dark.

My solution was to hand sand for about 35 minutes, w 220 grit or whatever you finish sanded with. It will lighten the overall look but also increase the contrast. Mainly because the oil gets down deeper into the open grain, and shallower on the flat grain. So that’s a judgement call you’ll need to make,

-- From Pittsburgh, PA

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