Danish oil wont dry?

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Forum topic by watermark posted 07-31-2013 05:28 AM 10613 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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483 posts in 1941 days

07-31-2013 05:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

Update from last time I posted about the same project. After waiting a long time it finally dried enough to coat with poly but I and more importantly my wife didn’t like the look so … many hours of sanding later I went back and re-coated with danish oil according to the directions on the can, only difference was using the method of sanding when applying. 2 weeks later and I am still getting seepage back to the surface and it’s felling tacky still.

Anyone else had this problem? I brought it in from the enclosed garage to the house today to see if anything changes.

Thanks for any advice in advanced. Original post below.

I put my 3rd and final coat of Watco Dark Walnut Danish Oil on the Mango dinning table I am making for my wife 8 days ago.

I waited at least 2 days between coats and wiped off excess oil bleeding back while it dried. I just went to check if it would be ready to top coat with poly for more protection and had some stain rub off on a paper towel.

It feels dry to the touch and no longer smells of danish oil. Is it ready to top coat? And is oil based poly the best choice? Looking at some other threads it seems to be a popular choice.

Thanks for any advice

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

16 replies so far

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1929 days

#1 posted 07-31-2013 10:07 AM

I wait 7 – 10 days after the last coat of oil before applying poly. Looks good

-- Coach Mancuso

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1815 days

#2 posted 07-31-2013 11:29 AM

Watco says give it 72 hours, as a rule that’s not long enough. Above comment is about right. If you can still wipe off color, it’s not dry, and even if you don’t get color it might not be dry enough. Last month used Watco, waited 5 days, top coated and had a top coat of oil based poly that was still tacky more than a week latter. Never had the problem in the past, and I’ve used Watco with a oil based poly as a top coat for years. However here the Upstate of SC we have had rain almost every day for about two months.
That top has interesting grain, never used any mango, what’s it like to work with ?

-- Fredj

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2359 days

#3 posted 07-31-2013 12:32 PM

The oil was a mistake. Scrub it down with naptha until the rag doesn’t pull any color, wait a couple days, and finish with several coats of poly.

-- 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 watermark's profile


483 posts in 1941 days

#4 posted 08-01-2013 04:13 AM

Thanks coach.

Fredj – Where I’m at in Hawaii we get rain almost everyday and it’s even more humid then normal lately. I don’t have a lot of experience with different types of wood but from what I have worked with Mango has been nice. Some people have a reaction too it similar to Poison Oak These are all cross cut from the same log QS would have shown off the curl a little more.

Clint- No mistake it’s the colour my wife wanted and a happy wife is a happy marriage.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2435 days

#5 posted 08-01-2013 09:04 AM

watermark – Don’t wait that long between coats with Danish oil. It’s not a pure oil, it’s a blend of oil (usually tung or linseed), mineral spirits, and a varnish of some type. You need to apply each coat to the last while still wet. Apply to the wood so its well soaked. After 15-20 minutes repeat. Do this one more time for a total of three applications. Wait one hour and wipe any oil off, do it again in another hour. The next day check for any oil bleeding out and wipe again. You can top coat after three or four days with your finish of choice or leave as is. If you leave as is do not wax since you will need to renew the finish every so often.

In your case, since the Danish oil was not put on in the above manner, you may have to wait a couple of weeks or more for it to cure enough for top coating.

Clint thinks it was a mistake because he doesn’t seem to believe in any finish but straight poly. :) In this case his suggestion to wipe it down and start over may need to be done, if the table is still tacky. If it’s not tacky or bleeding any oil, wait another week to ten days for a full cure. Feel free to top coat after that. A nice poly would be my choice for durability.

Good luck!

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 1941 days

#6 posted 08-02-2013 06:55 AM

Thanks tefin lots of good advice.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2266 days

#7 posted 08-02-2013 07:30 AM

put a fan on it when it is no longer wet feeling coat it.Mango is like a time do all oli coats one day easier same effect.I used to do that lazy now just spray laquer 2 hours 4 coats ready to go.

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 1941 days

#8 posted 08-03-2013 03:48 AM

Mahalo Joseph. I have been running the fan while at work the last couple of days seems to be doing the trick.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 1941 days

#9 posted 12-08-2013 03:16 AM

Went back to just Danish oil and 2 weeks later still not dry. Anyone else in places with high humidity have similar problems? Whats the remedy? Patience? Thanks for any advice

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4985 posts in 2491 days

#10 posted 12-08-2013 01:13 PM

Was that finish fresh when you applied it? That is, had the can been opened some time back? If true, that may be why it’s not drying. If not true, to be honest I’ve never had to wait that long for it to dry out to the touch. Waiting may be your only choice, short of stripping and starting over. When you do top coat, remember “popular” may not mean “best”. We collectively have been seduced by the dark side from guys like Norm who “applied a coat of poly”. That said, it may be the only thing available; but look around for a non poly varnish. This would be something like Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish, Pratt and Lambert #38 (my favorite), or maybe Waterlox Original. Waterlox is a particularly tough finish. The urethane finishes have a plastic look to my eyes, the alkyd ones look much nicer (again, to me eyes). They are easier to apply (sanding between coats not needed unless you are smoothing out dust nibs). You might also consider a good waterborne, General Finishes make some good ones. Waterbornes are crystal clear, so they won’t change the color you now have; the oil based ones may give it a different hue.

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

View CharlesNeil's profile


2399 posts in 3868 days

#11 posted 12-08-2013 01:22 PM

The wood has a natural oil and the danish oil is intermixing with it , like a rose wood or other oily wood, it may never totally dry ..Clint has it right , wash it down with naphtha and use a different finish, a coat of dewaxed shellac with a good varnish oil , Like Arm R Seal, Minwax Poly oil, Formby tung would be a good choice, these oils will form a fim finish, which is what you need.

HOWEVER Arm R Seal has some good driers in it, you MAY be able to put a light coat on ,After the wash off and allowing it to dry well, it may dry ok , if you do and its not dry with in 24 hours, its back to the shellac , which is being used to seal the natural oil in .

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2435 days

#12 posted 12-08-2013 03:23 PM

I think it’s time to give up on the Danish oil. I’m with Charles. I’ve never used mango and don’t know any of it’s attributes, but if it’s a naturally oily wood, he’s right about it probably causing the drying problem. Finish it just as he says. If you really have to have it darker to please the wife, add some trans tint to the shellac. Test on scrap first, you’ve had to do too much to this table already.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2912 days

#13 posted 12-08-2013 03:37 PM

  • Would adding a small amount of Japan Drier to Watco Danish Oil ever help in situations like the this?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3040 days

#14 posted 12-08-2013 03:47 PM

i had a step stool that wouldnt dry last summer and I ressorted to setting it out in the sun while I went to work (about 10 hours) and that did the trick

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3306 days

#15 posted 12-08-2013 04:14 PM

Whenever I work with an oily wood I always wipe it down with acetone because the acetone will pull a lot of the oil from the wood surface. I learned this many years ago when doing wooden boat restorations and working with a lot of teak…an oily wood.
whether gluing or applying a finish, the acetone works quite well

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