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Forum topic by WoodCop posted 09-27-2012 12:05 AM 1212 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WoodCop

29 posts in 994 days


09-27-2012 12:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: blo boiled linseed oil finish poplar red oak

Hi All,

I’ve been lurking on this site for about 6 months nows while I create my woodshop. I am in the process of putting together a workbench, which the top consists of red oak T&G flooring over 2×4s, wrapped by poplar. I am interested in finishing the top with a finish that is durable, repairable and doesn’t take away from the beauty of the red oak. I’ve done a sample board on the oak of BLO, Danish Oil and straight Poly. I like the way the BLO looks and the fact it penetrates the wood itself, however, am a little leery of it on the poplar. Has anyone had any good experiences with BLO on poplar?

Thanks for the insight, its making my head spin!

Mike

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”


18 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

15578 posts in 1321 days


#1 posted 09-27-2012 12:19 AM

I’ve used BLO on poplar quit a bit. I don’t think it “pops” popular like it will oak, and it will turn it a yellowish color. If that’s what you want, then use it. If you want the poplar to keep the milky white, use something else.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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WoodCop

29 posts in 994 days


#2 posted 09-27-2012 12:24 AM

What is that “something else?”

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

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benchbuilder

121 posts in 1204 days


#3 posted 09-27-2012 12:30 AM

I have a workbench made of poplar and used BLO on it for the past 25 years. its very dark now and the grain is very hard to see, this may be good on the edges wher you will get a lot of wear, but it does darken over time. Remember, what ever you put on the top of your workbench you have to put on the bottom side of the top to help it stay stable

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Don W

15578 posts in 1321 days


#4 posted 09-27-2012 12:30 AM

It really depends on what you want it to look like. To darken it a little, I’d use a colored danish oil. You could also just wax it. I like poly over poplar to. You will find a love hate relation with poplar. I really like it. I cut a lot of native poplar with my sawmill, so I use it a lot.(well a lot compared to some other wood, I don’t really use anything a lot anymore)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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WoodCop

29 posts in 994 days


#5 posted 09-27-2012 12:45 AM

Im looking to keep the color of the poplar light to give a nice contrast to the oak top. I would need something that will absorb and harden in the wood, like a BLO, however not change the color.

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

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bandit571

7525 posts in 1437 days


#6 posted 09-27-2012 01:05 AM

To not change the colour, use a water -borne poly like the one from Minwax. Goes on milky-white, dries crystal clear. Low to no odor, apply with a towel wrapped around a squeegee. Re-coat in a few hours. Poly-crylic I think is the name.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1912 days


#7 posted 09-27-2012 01:32 AM

I don’t care for poplar just because of how plain it typically is…and therefore oil doesn’t really do much for it, like Don mentioned above. But if you like the look, then do it. I’d be more inclined to use a wood like pecan/hickory for that same whitish look. Of course, maple as well, but that’s so unoriginal! ;)

My problem is using the poly on a work bench. It will do nothing to really protect your bench from the types of abuse your bench will take and will look ugly pretty fast. Then, it’ll be a pain to strip it.

I’d just go with oil and wax. That way, you can easily replenish the finish on occasion without the painful need of stripping.

I’d use tung oil, however. IME, it doesn’t shift the color to the yellow as much as BLO, which is why I don’t typically use it. Plus, it seems to harden more than the BLO. You might try some polymerized tung oil, which is the 100% stuff thats been cooked off a bit, akin to BLO. It helps the drying time, which still takes days and maybe weeks. BLO will dry much faster by comparison.

BTW, typical danish oil uses tung oil. I don’t see the advantage of using BLO ahead of it. But since I’ve never thought to try that, I just might be incredibly close minded. ;)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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WoodCop

29 posts in 994 days


#8 posted 09-27-2012 01:46 AM

That leads me to my next issue. How does one know in what order to layer finishes? i.e., shellac under a poly, or a danish oil under/over BLO?

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

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Charlie

1064 posts in 1039 days


#9 posted 09-27-2012 01:58 AM

Waterlox original. Done

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1912 days


#10 posted 09-27-2012 02:49 AM

I use shellac in between everything. Oil first for best saturation. As for Danish oil, that depends on the Danish oil. A true oil/varnish blend would go on after the BLO if you want to apply both. This is because once the varnish part hardens, the BLO can’t really do anything. If its a Danish Oil like Watco that actually has no varnish in it – check the product data sheet – then it probably doesn’t matter the order. I’d still put put down the BLO first just in case.

Shellac under poly poses no problems…that’s more of a myth, IMO. Just use dewaxed shellac.

Still, as many have said, you are really over thinking this. Squirt the sucker with your choice of oil and be done with it. Reapply regularly for everlasting beauty. The beauty of the poly topcoat will be short lived, at less if you use your work bench the way I would.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Dusty56

11688 posts in 2441 days


#11 posted 09-27-2012 03:09 AM

I can’t think of any reason to use more than one type of oil finish….obviously you want a finish that soaks into the wood and becomes one with it , not one that lays on top of the wood (ie: poly) just to get nicked and chipped if you plan on using your bench.
If you look up “Danish” oil , you will see that it is mostly solvent 60% and 20-30% Linseed oil and the balance are chemicals. So , essentially , you are putting Linseed oil on twice , and most of the “D” oil is just evaporating around you : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Rick M.

4509 posts in 1133 days


#12 posted 09-27-2012 03:11 AM

Woodcop, you’ll be way ahead to pick up a book on finishing. I have Flexner’s but there are other good ones out there.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1912 days


#13 posted 09-27-2012 03:33 AM

Ditto on the Flexner text. Highly recommended.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1114 days


#14 posted 09-27-2012 04:13 AM

If you want a drying 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

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WoodCop

29 posts in 994 days


#15 posted 09-27-2012 10:58 AM

Sounds like picking up a book is the best place to start, since I have the time as only the top portion of my bench is complete. The legs and stretchers won’t be started until next week. Lastly, as far as finishing BOTH sides of the bench, I covered 2×4 w oak flooring. Since only the oak flooring will be getting the finish, I don’t believe the underside of the 2x’s need a finish, correct?

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

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