LumberJocks

Oil and varnish finishes suggestions pros and cons

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by kintetaylor posted 12-26-2017 02:20 PM 1690 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kintetaylor's profile

kintetaylor

2 posts in 351 days


12-26-2017 02:20 PM

I have a card table and an end table that I have already stained. I would like to put some type of water resistant finish on them both. I’ve looked into boiled linseed oil and pure tung oil. From what I have read the linseed oil yellows but dries fast and the pure tung oil takes days between coats to dry and you need to apply several coats. My question is are any of the tung oil or danish oil finishes at home depot worth using. I understand that they are a combination of oils and varnish and mineral spirits. Your suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.


11 replies so far

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

416 posts in 1300 days


#1 posted 12-26-2017 03:57 PM

Your pictures appear to have been taken outdoors. If these pieces are to be used outdoors then none of the products you mention are suitable. You will need to consider using a spar varnish or look into using an exterior paint base (no color added):
Article
For interior use, both linseed oil and tung oils are very slow drying and require reapplication from time to time. Danish oil dries more quickly and is probably somewhat more durable, but still may have to be renewed periodically. You can make your own oil/varnish blend that works very well by mixing equal parts of linseed oil (or tung oil) with mineral spirits (or turpintine) and a varnish of your choice. There are many articles on the web about mixing and using. Here is one
Yes. Linseed oil will yellow somewhat. Tung oil will not yellow as much. If you mix a blend, you may want to research the varnish you use as some will yellow more than others.
There are some over the counter products that are similar: One is Formby’s (not sure what it is called) and Minwax Antique Oil Finish. I’m not sure what there chemical makeup is.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2691 days


#2 posted 12-26-2017 05:35 PM

I think if I was looking for a water resistant finish I’d pass on any oil finish, and Danish oil as well. Consider a film finish, straight oil-based varnish would be a good choice, though it may take a while to fully cure. But the waterborne finishes have improved greatly and one of them (look at General Finishes products) should do nicely. Waterborne finishes are crystal clear and don’t shift color with time, but some of them have some coloring added to mimic the amber hue of their oil based counterparts. Lastly, if bilyo is correct and those are outdoor tables, the untinted paint will do a nice job.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2125 posts in 3142 days


#3 posted 12-26-2017 06:41 PM

EVERYTHING you put on your table is going to require maintenance. The more waterproof, the more difficult the maintenance. For example, you may have to remove old poly coats to apply new ones.

The problem is, the wood expands and contracts at a different rate than does the finish. That is the idea behind spar varnish type products – more oil is added to the mix to give it more ability to flex, at the expense of durability, because the finish is softer.

Consider experimenting with old techniques. World war rifles were finished using a mix of pine tar, boiled linseed oil and turpentine. The pine tar can be had from places that sell horsey related products.

Keep in mind, pine tar was used to make canoes able to stay afloat.

When mixed, the product will soak into the wood. Focus on the underside too. As long as it will take it, keep adding. After all, a piece of wood saturated with oils and such will not take on water.

When dry/hardened, in a couple days, you don’t have to worry about it coming off on you or cloths and future coats are just a matter of cleaning and applying the next coat.

View kintetaylor's profile

kintetaylor

2 posts in 351 days


#4 posted 12-26-2017 06:58 PM

They are indoor tables, the images were just taken outdoors because I had stained them and they were airing out.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2679 posts in 3081 days


#5 posted 12-26-2017 06:59 PM

I wouldn’t bother with straight BLO; it doesn’t provide much protection for anything. Tung oil would increase the water resistance, but is a lengthy process to apply. A varnish/Danish oil is going to take a lot of coats to achieve even a small degree of water resistance. If you’ve stained the tables and are happy with how they look, the easiest product to apply for some degree of water resistance is wipe-on-poly; don’t use the gloss (++++difficult to get an even sheen on rustic furniture), simply wipe on a thin coat, let dry and repeat. I’ll usually apply 4-5 thin coats.

If someone puts a hot mug on it, or leaves a sweaty beer glass, you will end up with water rings on most finishes, short of applying a bar-top epoxy pour.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

416 posts in 1300 days


#6 posted 12-26-2017 07:11 PM

I generally concur with Fred. I forgot you were looking for a water resistant finish. However, I think (correct me if I’m wrong) the oil, MS, varnish finish would be considered a film finish and should be water resistant if thickness is built up enough. It’s advantage is the ease and smoothness of application. The down side is that it takes more coats to build a thick film, but it is often used when a thick film is not wanted.
I can understand how you might want an oil finish look as the pieces have a rather rustic appearance. For exterior use, you only have a couple of choices. For the interior, you will just have to find a balance between the look you want and the water resistance you need.
I don’t have any experience using danish oil as a single component finish. I’m not sure how water resistant it is (or isn’t) when used alone. Using it may give you a more rustic appearance, but you will need to renew it occasionally. Having said that, I think it is relatively easy to repair if damaged.
I can’t comment on the pine tar mix idea. Sounds interesting.

Followup: You posted that they are for interior use while I was typing. So, ignore “exterior” comments.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2691 days


#7 posted 12-26-2017 07:22 PM

The danish oil (oil, varnish, and MS) is a film finish, but a very thin film. The varnish is also made softer with the addition of oil. I’ not sure how that contributes to what appearance is needed. I like danish oil, and use it often…but not where i want a more durable finish. The store bought items labeled danish oil, antique oil, and so on are not always danish oil, they are often simply very thin varnishes. Flexner offers his opinion on them in this short article. If I were going to use one of them (danish oil or wiping varnish) I would mix my own.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2125 posts in 3142 days


#8 posted 12-26-2017 07:27 PM

If you get right down to it, what the heck is “Danish Oil.” They don’t really squish Danes (or maybe Norwegians do).

Even poly is just boiled linseed oil or tung oil (higher end versions) polymerized with resins and solvents added. Most Danish oil finishes, just like so called tung oil finishes, are just thinned versions of poly akin to a wipe on, which can be got by just thinning regular brush on.

I forgot to mention/back up what others say – hardening oils are a bad choice for water resistance. However, many do use them as a base, before adding poly or other finish.

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

540 posts in 4088 days


#9 posted 12-26-2017 07:43 PM

I like a couple fast coats of “Zinsser Seal Coat” (dewaxed shellac I believe) to create a binding layer between the wood and whatever top coat i choose, usually a water based poly like “AquaZar”. Once the poly is cured its quite tough and protective. Seal Coat also brings out the beauty in the wood (chattoyance) that the water based finishes can’t do on their own. Nice looking tables!

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2125 posts in 3142 days


#10 posted 12-26-2017 08:08 PM

If this is going to be an indoor piece, go with a poly. It’ll take abuse and it’s easy to apply. The one below was about seven coats, with a light sanding between. The sanding was to scuff, rather than smooth.

When I got all done, I sanded with water and 600 through 1000, then went to pumice, rotten stone and plastic polish. In the end, it looks sprayed.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

416 posts in 1300 days


#11 posted 12-26-2017 09:16 PM



The danish oil (oil, varnish, and MS) is a film finish, but a very thin film. The varnish is also made softer with the addition of oil. I not sure how that contributes to what appearance is needed.
- Fred Hargis

It was only my observation that the OP’s pieces have a rustic look to them. And, he started out by asking about oils. In my opinion, a danish oil (Watco, in my experience) provides an “almost unfinished” look after darkening and accentuating the grain. My only point was that, if this is the look he is after, a danish oil (or similar) might be a good finish to use. Of course, he also asked about a water repellent finish which danish oil will not provide very well.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com