How to use boiled linseed oil

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Forum topic by Sanderguy777 posted 03-04-2015 05:12 AM 1556 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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179 posts in 1402 days

03-04-2015 05:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak cedar pine plane finishing

I got some boiled linseed oil the other day and I need to know how to use it for the best result. I am going to use it on a shelf that I built for my hand planes. The bottle says to use it 50-50 strength with mineral turpentine for the best preserved surface. What is your recommendation?

Should I use a brush like the bottle says?

I don’t know what wood is in the project since it is all scrap. But I know that the back is plywood (pine?), the actual shelf, I think, is oak, and then the little front molding that keeps the planes from falling off might be cedar. All of the wood except the plywood is planed smooth.

I live in a VERY hot and humid area (90 degrees with 90 or 100% humidity, DAILY) so I have problems with random pieces of wood literally molding!!! I had a hammer with an unfinished, handmade handle, that was totally green! Anyway, thanks in advance.

-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?

7 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5174 posts in 2693 days

#1 posted 03-04-2015 12:15 PM

I always dilute mine 50/50, but it’s to make the oil a little easier to handle. Do so if you want, or not…neither way is right or wrong. You can brush it on, or wipe it on with a rag (my approach), just be sure to wipe it off (about 15-30 minutes or so) with a rag. Read up on proper disposal of those items as well (I use a 5 gallon bucket of water to soak them), to avoid burning you shop down. It will probably have to cure a few days before you put your planes on it.

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

View rwe2156's profile


3170 posts in 1680 days

#2 posted 03-04-2015 12:30 PM

I also dilute it. Just use a brush, especially on a large area/let soak/wipe off.

Its true about the rags. I know a guy who’s car shop caught on fire from oily rags in a metal drum.

Interesting about the mildew. Thought that only happened to me.

I know MDF coated with BLO will mildew but my never had that problem with my workbench.
I stopped it on my TS sled by coating with shellac. Only happens in summer.
I also keep all my planes in a plastic tote with a can of DampRid.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2890 days

#3 posted 03-05-2015 01:45 AM

I mix mine 1:1 with mineral spirits and apply with some t shirt materiel. But rather than flooding the surface, waiting, and then wiping off excess, I just keep rubbing until it is relatively dry to the touch. This prevents having sticky areas that are hard to wipe off. My wife and I did this technique on my office floor in a lot less time than I imagined. Really quick for smaller projects.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Sanderguy777's profile


179 posts in 1402 days

#4 posted 03-05-2015 02:29 AM

Thanks for all the great advice. I think I’ll try all three methods on scrap and see which I like. That will also give me an idea how long it takes to dry.

My shop is VERY dusty, should I have a fan on to help it dry? Or would it just get dust all over the finish? Do I need to sand it down with steel wool or is the finish the last step?

How many coats will it take? Is one enough? Or will more make the color darker? Thanks again

-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 1379 days

#5 posted 03-05-2015 02:32 AM

Another option is making your own wipe-on poly. Most articles just recommend equal parts BLO, varnish/polyurethane, and mineral spirits.

-- Lee

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2890 days

#6 posted 03-05-2015 02:42 AM

If you use the ‘rub til it won’t soak up any more’ technique, it will be nearly dry when you’re done. One application should be enough for your shelf. If I am not going to apply a film finish over it, I usually wax for a nice, ‘touchable’ feel. A lot of my “shop furniture” is finished with BLO and wax only.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Shadowrider's profile


183 posts in 1409 days

#7 posted 03-05-2015 04:04 AM

You don’t have to worry about dust. I’ve used BLO and pure tung oil on gunstocks many times and never have an issue with dust, that’s one of it’s beauties, you can do it just about anywhere that’s out of the way and still work in the area.

BLO isn’t a finish that builds on the surface because you are wiping it all off. If you don’t wipe it all off you will have a sticky mess, so make sure to look at it for several hours after wiping to see if it needs another wiping as it will weep out of the pores. It penetrates into the wood and may take 6 or 7 coats but that’s pretty extreme. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours between coats. The mineral spirits help it penetrate deeper, that’s all. Once completely dry it’s gone because the spirits evaporate off leaving the oil behind. If you thin it, it may take more coats but it should in theory have finish deeper in the wood. You’ll also have to give the wood another coat from time to time also.

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