Water based equivalent to Danish Oil?

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 04-19-2015 11:38 PM 2581 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1202 posts in 1964 days

04-19-2015 11:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry water based finish danish oil

I’m thinking ahead to water based finishes. I like the idea that they dry faster and smell better. I have messed around on some scraps with a water based top coat from GF that seems to perform well. But I have come up with a situation I would like to put in front of you more experienced finishers and see what you say. I am currently working on a set of tables in cherry. My finish plan (which several of you helped me come up with) was to use danish oil and then topcoat with Arm-R-Seal.

In the picture below, you can see one table with the Watco Danish oil (natural color) applied, and the other as-milled/sanded.

I love the color the danish oil applied to the wood. As the cherry darkens naturally I’m sure it will be even better. I don’t have any pictures, but the GF topcoat, even though it says it gives some of the ‘amber’ feeling of a traditional topcoat, has no where near the same effect as this penetrating oil. It says on the can that it can only be applied over oil based stains that are completely dry. I am not sure Danish oil is a finish that ever completely dries, so i am thinking it can’t be used under the GF water based topcoat.

So aside from water based stains or dyes, are there any other water based products that I can get the same effect from as the Danish Oil gave me here?


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

11 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


17968 posts in 1825 days

#1 posted 04-19-2015 11:50 PM

You should be able to use dewaxed shellac over the Danish oil and then you can use the water based finish over that.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2226 days

#2 posted 04-19-2015 11:57 PM

Brian, you can take a look at Target Coatings’ WR4000. It is listed as a stain, but you can also get it as the clear base. It is a linseed oil product that does highlight natural grain. I have used it as a base coat on projects to pop the grain and have been happy with the results. Unfortunately, I haven’t used it on any unstained/undyed projects. HTH

-- Art

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4051 posts in 2278 days

#3 posted 04-20-2015 12:31 AM

Exactly what Dainsh oil you using.



Tried & True

A home made blend?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View bbasiaga's profile


1202 posts in 1964 days

#4 posted 04-20-2015 01:22 AM

Watco Danish Oil.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View RobS888's profile


2406 posts in 1814 days

#5 posted 04-20-2015 03:17 PM

I use 3 coats of Arm-R-Seal over dried Danish oil.

The cats and dogs scratched up the Danish oil a little too much, so I started using Arm-R-Seal on the top surfaces. One dog loves to stand on the sofa and put her front paws on a radiator cover in front off the window and bark at the letter carrier, she is 95lbs and easily pulls up paving stones to dig under them! I thought it was refinishing time the first time I saw her do it, but no claw marks…yet.

I love the look of Danish oil on white Oak, so at first the Arm-R-Seal seemed a bit plasticy, but I’m ok with it now. I use 3 wiped on coats with very light sanding with 800 grit sand paper between coats. Arm-R-Seal is pretty forgiving and seems to level on its own well.

On a table top I would use a foam brush and lay it on.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View bbasiaga's profile


1202 posts in 1964 days

#6 posted 04-20-2015 09:51 PM

I realize danish oil isn’t so much of a protective finish. I just love the look it gives with cherry. I am trying to determine if there is a product out there that is water based that does the same thing. That would allow me to use it with the water based topcoat which, like Arm-R-Seal, is a nice protective finish.

My current project should be done in finishing Wednesday. Danish oil, and 3 coats of arm-r-seal.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2431 days

#7 posted 04-20-2015 11:29 PM

I’d use Osmo, wipe in finish. It will enrichen Cherry, it’s easy to use and buffs out to a gorgeous finish. 4-5 coats and you’re good.

View bbasiaga's profile


1202 posts in 1964 days

#8 posted 04-20-2015 11:35 PM

Interesting stuff. Hadn’t heard of it. It is also oil based though.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View jdh122's profile


996 posts in 2786 days

#9 posted 04-20-2015 11:45 PM

I recently watched an old episode of the New Yankee Workshop and Norm applied a finish that he said was Waterbased Danish oil. Not really sure what that means, but I did manage to find this in a web search:

I’ve used the Ikea wooden countertop finish (Behandla) before and they say that it’s waterbased too.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Ripthorn's profile


1454 posts in 2954 days

#10 posted 04-20-2015 11:45 PM

A light amber shellac would do much the same. Also, I have put waterbased coatings over Danish oil before with good success. Danish oil is more dryers and varnish than straight up oil.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1360 days

#11 posted 04-21-2015 01:37 PM

You could get somebody from Denmark to ship you some bottled water.

I fear that Danish Water would probably raise the grain though.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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