need help with blo

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Forum topic by WhoMe posted 09-22-2012 02:23 PM 1412 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1564 posts in 3242 days

09-22-2012 02:23 PM

i recently comleted a hard maple and cherry wooden mallet and finished it with blo. it is my first attempt at this finish.
the first coat was straight blo, applied it heavy then wiped off the excess about 15 min later. then i found that normal usage is not to use it straight. so i let the first coat dry. then i added 2more coats of a 50/50 mix of blo and mineral spirits. the first coat went ok, applied it, wiped the excess off afterabout 10 min and it dried ok, after applying the next coat the same way. this one seems sticky after a week of letting it try to dry.
to me this sticky/tackyness seems wrong like wont fully dry or cure. did i do anything wrong? anything i can do toget rid of the sticky/tacky texture?
the mallet looks really nice but for the tacky finish. help…

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

13 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 09-22-2012 03:21 PM

BLO can be a problem once the wood has soaked up its fill of it. It never really dries and hardens, unlike something such as polymerized tung oil, which is what I would use. I find BLO works well with homemade oil/varnish blends, but I hate the stuff straight, especially on lighter woods because I don’t like the yellowish tone it imparts. But in general, I’ve learned to only use enough oil to make the wood pretty, which is usually only a single (or two) application of it…if I need it real hard, I use a blend or top it with some poly. In other words, I don’t trust oil beyond the beauty it provides.

I would repair your project by wiping it down really good with mineral spirits. Then, I would attempt to really buff it out…use a little heat (hair dryer) if your buffer doesn’t generate some heat friction of its own. This works pretty well, often well enough to apply a film finish over it.

Tough call with a mallet though. You might just need to sand it back…which isn’t too big of deal. Then, apply one thinned coat of the oil followed by film finish, wax, or whatever. I’d be inclined use wax after the oil.

If I had a dime for every time I had to resand something, well…

The moral to the story…oil doesn’t provide any further benefit once the piece has had its fill, and even then, those benefits are somewhat minimal, unless moisture is a concern.

-- jay,

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 09-22-2012 03:21 PM

I don’t know how wrong it is, but I always use blo straight. After the first coat ( I do it just like you did) I add additional coats by putting it on and buffing it out almost dry.

To fix yours, put a coat of straight blo on with fine steel wool and immediately buff it out as dry as you can. Let it dry for a couple of days then add additional coats as you like.

The advantage to thinning on the first coats is dry time is quicker, and its ok but leaving blo to heavy will always turn out gooey.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View AKSteve's profile


475 posts in 2302 days

#3 posted 09-22-2012 03:36 PM

oh wierd I just made one myself and added BLO but I only put on one thick coat and let it seep in for about an hour then buffed it off and then added to coats of paste wax and buffed that out. worked pretty good, but seriously I only put it on for appearance sake, because I am going to abuse the crap out of it! LOL.

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 09-22-2012 03:57 PM

Buts that’s the correct way to use it, guys. Apply, wipe off excess, buff out, enjoy.

Oil isn’t like poly, where you just keep applying coats to build up a finish. It’s just oil, hardly different from the stuff that used to puddle underneath my old Ford Mustang. I needed kitty litter to sop that stuff up…it wasn’t going away on its own.

@Don -In your case, you are applying a light coats a little at a time to slowly get the wood saturated. Its a cautious approach. I think the end result is the same. I’d just use more oil, let it soak for a while, and then wipe off the excess. You just have to let it dry a longer. But whether you let it dry after several small applications or one big application, I’ve found that the time factor is the same.

@WhoMe – It’s a common problem that’s happened to everybody. Part of the learning thing. There’s not a standard way of applying every product we use…it comes with practice. For oil, there’s really no benefit to letting it pool on the wood. Just wash it down with a lot of mineral spirits. The soaked in oil will still be there, so there’s not much of an issue with repairing it…just wipe it down and buff it back out.

-- jay,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#5 posted 09-22-2012 05:23 PM

As Jay said, the idea with BLO is not to try to build up a finish with it. It’s just an oil that, IMO, enhances the appearance of most woods.

I always use it straight. I slop it on heavy, and almost right away wipe off as much as I can with a rag. I find this has an immediate beautifying effect, and in about 24 hours the piece is ready for whatever other finish I care to put on. Depending on the piece and what kind of use it will get, that could mean just buffing, or paste wax, or poly.

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

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#6 posted 09-22-2012 06:26 PM

Linseed oil had another major use in the past as an additive to paint to make it flow better.
That was when nearly all house paint was oil based; not so much the case today.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2285 days

#7 posted 09-22-2012 06:44 PM

+1 to what Charles wrote. That’s exactly how I use it.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 09-22-2012 07:11 PM

you can apply the first time with 50/50 minaral spirit and BLO or LO
the benefit of the is the mineral spirit makes it able to penetrate slightly more and easyer into the wood
wait 20 minuts and wipe of the excess
let it dry one to two days
before you give it one more time wait 20 minuts and wipe of the excess
let it cure from 1 day to it doesn´t feel tacky …. can take up 8-10 days
this is what I do when painting with a paint on windows with a base on linsed oil
but here when we talk woodworking you can finish by buffing to a higher polish
maybee even you want to finish with a wax too


View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2360 days

#9 posted 09-23-2012 12:38 AM

Scrub it with naptha to get rid of as much BLO as you can. Then if you want an oil finish use real tung oil. BLO is only good for starting fires.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3242 days

#10 posted 09-23-2012 05:24 AM

Thanks guys. I had only planned on putting a total of 3 coats to treat the wood well. I guess I should have stopped at two. The reason I used BLO was that I already had it here. I never thought of the Tung oil. Oh well, I will try a coupe of the recommendations here and see how it goes.
Comicsniper, yea, that was my first try at BLO. I am trying to expand my finishing options beyond poly (both water and oil based) Although here in good old CA the oil poly is almost no longer available. Like it is really going to affect the air we breath with all the other things putting crap in the air.

AKSteve, Yes, I am going to beat the heck out of mine too, mainly on chisels and some assembly of projects. But it sure looks nice right now.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2295 days

#11 posted 09-23-2012 01:13 PM

I see you’re in California – how humid is it? That will hinder drying if the humidity is too high. Otherwise the solvents in clear paste wax will help take away that stickiness and after buffing it will feel wonderful in your hand.

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3242 days

#12 posted 09-24-2012 05:25 AM

Well, I kind of took the naptha/mineral spirits idea and ran with it.
Used a blue scratch pad and mineral spirits and buffed the whole mallet. Let it dry for about an hour and no more stickiness. In fact I used it pounding a chisel for a bit. It sure is nice to not worry about missing the chisel with a hammer and hitting my hand.
Thank you all for the great hints.
Regarding the wax, does that prevent future coats of blo from absorbing into the wood in the future. I would think it would. No matter as I think it looks great as it is.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#13 posted 09-24-2012 06:26 PM

wax is a top coat you have to reneiw from time to time
it gives a mat satin look on the top

when you want to try new finishes or experinment with finish ideas then use
some scrap pieces of the same wood as your project

shop projects can be a great way of try new things on too but you can
fast have a very colourfull shop …. LOL


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