Linseed Oil (Rot Prevention?)

Many woodworkers turn to oil and wax finishes for their first attempt at finishing, and for good reason. Raw linseed is used as a food product in Sweden, it does not go rancid in the way that other veg oils do instead it cures when exposed to oxygen. I apply the oil with a piece of wet or dry sandpaper, 220 first coat, 320 second coat, on a small sanding block. The general mixture is 1 part oil (BLO), 1 part mineral spirits (or any type of thinner); and 1 part polyurethane. True spar varnishes, formulated with tung oil as a base, are expensive but worth the extra bucks; cheaper versions from the big box stores are polyurethane based. They are still intact today because of the linseed oil’s ability to prevent water from soaking into the wood surface.

Linseed oil paints have been used for several hundred years and have an accumulated history that is greater than all other families of paints put together. Boiling the linseed oil may well drive off light fractions, but linseed oil has a molecular weight of about 1000, as do most of the triglyceride oils. The woods are saying… Thank you!” I will never use anything else on new wood again.

Linseed oil is one of the oldest penetrating finishes, but it tends to become sticky in humid weather. The linseed oil paint consists of traditional colors that are proven to last for 50, maybe 100 years when properly maintained. Danish Oil naturally has a low-sheen finish, which can be buffed slightly with a fine grade (000) wire wool. One can also add his own drying agents to linseed oil, as long as instructions are carefully followed. One warning though, like all oil finishing products, don’t leave rags laying in a pile with BLO on them.

Though it’s termed a surface-building finish, most of the first coat of polyurethane is absorbed into the wood. Since we’ve installed the floor, we’ve been using it on butcher blocks, cutting boards, metal tools, stone, and wood carvings. Using vegetable oil in chain saws is no different than using vegetable oils in place of diesel fuel in a diesel engine. If there is dust, the oil will connect with the dust, which will become a microscopical paste upon the surface when the oil is spread.

We recommend cleaning your brushes with Krystal brown soap If you’re using a brush repeatedly on a project, just wipe off any excess paint and suspend it in raw linseed oil between uses. Extracted from English walnuts, walnut oil is similar to linseed oil with a few added drawbacks and benefits. I’ve been looking into the same thing since I need to treat a lot of wood for both inside and outside use. Danish oil, often lumped in as an oil finish, is actually a thin oil and varnish mixture. I supposed this is due to VOC content or some such BS. Good thing I don’t live out there; I’d have to jerk a knot is some tree huggers arse, sooner or later.

However direct sunlight baking a surface after a fresh” application can quickly polymerize the oil and result in a dry rubbery frosted appearance or a distinctly more glossy finish than the surrounding area. There are so-called linseed oil paints on the market that don’t soak into the wood and, just like plastic-based paints, stick like tape on the surface. Oil finishes should be scheduled for maintenance every 24 months for optimum results.

I’m considering either applying another coat of oil (I would prefer not to have to do that as I’ve applied a layer of batting on the seat cushion already and stapled down) or adding a wax layer on top. It is good fun to use your fingers to get the oil into the wood, helped by your body heat. As a result, oil makes wood look richer and more translucent without adding a film on the surface.

Because linseed oil paint is completely free of VOCs, solvents and other nasties, it’s a particularly good choice when you have children and pets. Perhaps the only reason to consider using linseed oil as a preservative is the price. I share you enthusiasm for linseed oil, and this last year have been using it in some paints and in it’s pure raw form.


I have recently found a good contact for raw linseed oil, and would like to use something like this to preserve my wood. Boiled linseed oil is less prone to catch spots so you can substitute that for raw linseed oil, at least for the last applications. I typically use Mahoney’s Walnut or Walnut Oil and wax on anything that will touch food. It is said that no surface treatment will soak any deeper then a few cells in the wood. Do this two to three times a week to help keep your delicate furniture glossy and also help protect the wood.

Fill the rest of the way with vinegar, leaving a little room at the top for the lemon oil. It’s very simple, you just buy a can of clear acrylic or acrylate from your local home supply store, and start painting it onto the wood. I also use linseed oil for finishing wood, especially my hardwood handles on axes, hammers, ect. Depending in the mixture you either get a finish you can paint or rub on the wood.

The only way to bring back the glow to oiled wood is to re-oil it with a hard drying oil such as tung, or boiled linseed oil, which should be done yearly. Bartow and Son’s Vegan Board Oil is a coconut based cutting board oil that is food safe and has added lemon oil essence for antibacterial purposes. I like my oil because it is almost colourless where many linseed oils are very yellow. To treat a piece with oil may need successive treatments to get the best penetration.

One interesting aspect of this process is that it provides a pure oil that can be used to finish food contact surfaces. Danish Oil will cover about 10-15 square metres per litre per coat depending on porosity, surface texture, and thickness applied. All my woodware is treated with this oil, the dry wood soaks it up and with time it sets in the wood and no further treatment is necessary. To diminish the contracting and expanding of the wood, boatbuilder replaces water with oil and unlike water, the oil does not dry out and the timber remains more stable.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program CMP has a good article on how to protect and preserve the stocks of battle rifles. They are natural oils so why not use those oils, a 50/50 mix of turpentine and raw linseed oil is a good outdoor oil for decks that need oiling or outdoor furniture. Unless you go out of your way, BAAQMD will not let you use off the shelf tung oil at least not in anything more than a one quart can.

Although shellac is a good moisture barrier, it’s brittle, and is likely to crack and peel on an exterior door unless the door is well protected from the sun and weather. After the second or third treatment any excess oil should be wiped off and then the piece left for 3 to 6 months to allow the oxidation process to take place. Linseed oil is a natural product made from linseed-a crop that is grown throughout North America.

Small localised areas of damage such as a ring mark for example can be removed by a very light sanding in that area alone and then re-application of the oil. That’s good on a full size axe where your hands need to slide during the swing, but on hatchets not so good, as it makes them harder to grip. Eliminating the process of replacing defective wood and repainting is a gigantic cost savings over time. Remember neither oil nor wax really protects against mechanical damage (scratches), nor will they give the wood UV protection.

Most wood available in the USA is extremely dry and readily soaks up the linseed oil. If you are looking for a more durable finish then some type of urethane would probably work best but for a more classic look I would use rubbed tung oil. Hand-rubbed oil finishes can be beautiful, but only if they’re properly applied. Just ruined a beautiful homemade table top I made by treating it with the walnut oil recommended on this site.

Since anti-rot is mainly thinner, no furher poison nor oil can be absorbed by wood cells before the thinner has evaporated. Some areas of the wood will absorb the oil more quickly; there is no need to be concerned about this and apply a little extra here as the oil is absorbed. You can use whichever type of linseed oil on your decking; the deciding factor is generally drying time.

Polyurethane is no good either: it is too hard, and if it chips it is difficult to feather the touch up. The fact is, unless the original finish of a piece of furniture was an oil finish, then oil has no place on a piece of furniture. A Pure Tung Oil finish mixed with Citrus Solvent is an all-natural organic finish that is environmentally safe and food safe. Sadly, that’s very true, but linseed oil impregnation isn’t a surface treatment.