Yet another Watco Danish oil question...

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Forum topic by Mike posted 05-29-2012 11:54 PM 16356 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mike's profile


60 posts in 2232 days

05-29-2012 11:54 PM

I’ve always used just oil based Poly, or a light stain with oil based poly over it however I’ve been wanting to try something new. I just finished a table in Black Walnut and decided to try an oil finish. So far I have 2 coats of Watco Danish oil in neutral, and it looks pretty good. I plan to put a top coat of Howard Feed and Wax over it as extra protection. My question is, how many coats do people find adequate? Like I said, the 2 coats I have are looking really nice. The can says 2 coats, but some people use more. Should I add more coats of Watco or just wait a few days and run on the bees wax? Thanks in advance.

10 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 11:58 PM

Personally, I don’t see any benefit to more than two coats.

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

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 05-30-2012 12:03 AM

Usually two coats of danish oil is enough for me. Occassionally, the wood will soak in more oil in places an look splotchy. I will add coat until the oiled finish is even and wipe off the excess.

I let the danish oil sit at least 24 hours before applying poly or wax.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View theoldfart's profile


9739 posts in 2474 days

#3 posted 05-30-2012 12:08 AM

I’ve never needed more than two coats. My projects have used cherry, maple, white oak, birch and pine all with good results. good luck

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3487 days

#4 posted 05-30-2012 12:21 AM

a couple coats should do in most places, and it will make finish repairs very simple. however a lot of times people end up using more for the table top, as that will see a lot of wear.

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 4011 days

#5 posted 05-30-2012 12:42 AM

All depends on what the project will be subjected to … what YOU want it to look like … it WILL build if you continue to apply it, although somewhat slowly. If you apply too many coats, and don’t like the look, you can always cut it back, then rub it out & wax it.

Two coats are probably fine for some applications … five or more might be necessary for others … it’s all a matter of preference. Only you truly know how much is enough.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3487 days

#6 posted 05-30-2012 01:10 AM

if you do go with more coats and you’re new to watco (and wiping varnishes in general?), it might be good to try it out on scrap first. a big advantage of wiping varnishes is that they can offer the protection of poly with very little and controlled build of film thickness. this prevents the plasticy look that regular poly can be prone to. But it only works if you stop building thickness at the right place. Cutting back like Fuzzy suggests can put a really smooth finish on things that is often the best thing to do for a table top. At the same time, it will smooth the grain out which will give it a quality kind of in between the two coats you have on now and a thicker build up.

And it might be just what you want. However, if you dont want it you’ll have to sand all the way back to wood and start from the beginning.

View Mike's profile


60 posts in 2232 days

#7 posted 05-30-2012 11:28 AM

Ok, Two coats it is! It does look really nice, and seems to have dried fully after a day and a half. I should mention that this is an occasional use end table, which will probably only hold a drink, or a book, etc. My next thought is, I was going to buff on two coats of Feed and Wax but now I’m wondering if that will offer enough protection. The wipe on poly is sounding like something I should consider. Will wipe on poly provide a more protective surface or would you stick with the wax over oil finish? What would be easier to repair later if it got scratched or gouged (or water stained)? When company is over I’ll leave drink coasters out on it, but you know how that goes haha. Thanks experts!

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3487 days

#8 posted 05-30-2012 11:36 AM

watco basically IS a wipe on poly. Wipe on polys are generally just regular poly thinned on the order of 50% with solvent. A common variation on this is to add in some tung or linseed oil, which I believe is what Watco does. This just means adding more coats of Watco :-)

Therein lies the crux of the problem: a thicker finish will be harder to repair later, just how it is. I’ve never heard of this “feed and wax” but it looks like it’s just waxes. These help more to enhance the brightness, shine, and texture than they do to actually protect. They’re easy enough to put on and wont really hurt anything. Just make sure it doesn’t have silicone oils in it as these will interfere with any later attempts at refinishing/repair.

again, the safest bet is to try it on scrap. it’s the only way you’ll ever know with your own eyes :-)

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10522 posts in 3451 days

#9 posted 05-30-2012 11:39 AM

A long time ago, we used to add oil based poly to the Watco @ about 50/50. IIRC, we used 3 coats. So I see no reason not to use a wipe on poly over the Watco. Wax adds very minimal protection. But, it looks and feels nice.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View CharlieStanford's profile


6 posts in 2211 days

#10 posted 05-30-2012 12:46 PM

It depends – Watco will build a thin surface layer if you want it too though you’re looking at 5+ applications in most circumstances. It does have varnish resins in it. I wouldn’t topcoat Watco with anything other than wax. If you need varnish protection the protocall would have been to start with a more full-bodied varnish in the first place IMO. Watco, applied in three to four applications (I just let the first app sit for a few days and totally skin over, subsequent appls remove the skin but leave some varnish in the pores of open grained wood) will provide more protection than you may realize but yet still be readily repairable.

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