Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to finish wood with Danish Oil

Danish oil is a great product to use as a penetrating oil finish. Some wood projects call for Danish Oil as the finish. This finish has multiple steps and requires a few days of drying time and application, but the final finish is worth it. Here is how you do it!

Lay the piece of wood you are going to finish out on a table, or in your prepping center. Gently sand the wood surface with 180 or 220 grit sandpaper to prep the wood for the finish.

Wipe down with a tack cloth to remove all dust particles
Wipe the entire piece down with a tack cloth to remove any sawdust, particles, or grease.

Brush on liberal amount of Danish Oil
Danish oil is a great product to use both as a stain and a final finish. Danish oil comes in a variety of colors to help suit your finished product as well as a natural oil color. If you chose to use a colored version of the Danish oil, you will need to also pick up the natural color. When applying Danish oil to your finished product, it is important that you apply the natural color first to the end grain areas of your project using a natural bristle brush. This will seal the grain and help to keep the end grain from looking darker than the rest of the finished project when you apply your colored Danish oil. End grain always gets darker and sucks up stain. Let this dry for about 30 minutes.

Now you can apply the colored Danish oil or the natural Danish oil to the rest of your project. You want to apply Danish oil very liberally to all of the surfaces of the wood. Lay down a first wet coat of Danish oil using a natural-haired brush. You want the Danish oil to penetrate into the wood.

Let the Danish Oil sit on the surface of the wood for about 30 minutes to fully penetrate the wood. You want to keep the surface wet for about 15 minutes of the entire 30 minute cycle, so watch the surface of the wood for areas that are starting to dry up and apply more Danish oil to those areas.

Wipe off the Excess Danish Oil
After 30 minutes, the Danish Oil should start to get a sticky or tacky feel to it. Quickly press your finger into the Danish Oil and see if it will hold your fingerprint on the wood. If it does, then it is ready to be wiped off. Take a clean, dry, lint-free shop cloth and wipe the Danish oil off the wood. I recommend you use a lint-free white cotton cloth. Yes, that's right, I said to wipe it all off now.

Once you have finished wiping down your wood project, you are going to want to immediately apply a second wet coat of Danish Oil. We want this coat to sit on the wood for about 15 minutes or until it starts to become sticky or tacky.

Just like in Step 5, wipe all oil off of the surface using a dry, lint free cloth.

The interesting thing about Danish Oil is that it will seep out of the wood grain and back onto the surface of your wood project. We want to avoid having this Danish Oil sit on the surface and harden up. After you have applied both your coats of Danish Oil to the wood and wiped them off, let your project site for 30 minutes. Go have dinner, a coke, or just relax for a bit.

After 30 minutes, check back up on your wood project to see if any of the Danish Oil has collected on the surface. If it has, wipe it off with your cotton cloth. If it has not, check back on your piece in another 30 minutes or so. You will want to check on the surface every 30 minutes for the next two hours or so or until you do not see any more Danish Oil pooling on the surface.

Let this sit and dry for a day. You can apply two or three more finishes to get the desired amount of protection you need for your project. If you decide to apply a few more coats, do it on alternating days to allow for drying time. You can use either colored or the natural version of the Danish Oil for your project at this point in the finishing. Put away the bristle brush and use the 400 Grit black wet-sandpaper to wet-sand the additional coats onto your project.

Wet Sand the Wood with Danish Oil
To wet sand your next few coats of Danish Oil onto your project, take your 400 grit black wet/dry sandpaper pour the Danish Oil over it. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the sandpaper with the Danish Oil. Now gently sand your wood piece with the Danish Oil soaked sandpaper. This will work the oil into the surface and give you a final smooth surface. You want to avoid applying too much Danish Oil to the surface at this point, and you also want to only go over your surface 2-3 times with the sandpaper rag.

After you are done applying the Danish Oil with the wet sandpaper, wipe all of the excess oil from the surface with a clean cotton rag before it becomes tacky. Do this each time you wet sand your finished wood project. Do this until you are happy with the finish - alternate days for applications.

After you have applied all of your final coats of oil and let them all thoroughly dry, you need to put on a final finish. To do this, get some Watco solvent wax and apply it to your wood project using the wet sanding method described above. As an alternative, you could use a colored paste wax wiped on with a rag and buffed out.

Applying this finish takes a long time so be prepared for at least 3-5 days for finishing.


Danish Oil gives the smoothest finish.

Danish Oil is very easy to repair and restore

Soft porous woods will bleed the Danish Oil more than hard non-porous woods.

Apply a coat of Danish Oil and wax every two years to restore the sheen.

Danish Oil is not as durable as film finishes.

Danish Oil requires periodic maintenance to keep it sheen

Danish Oil has to be applied to bare wood and not over pigment or gel stains.

1 comment:

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