Best Oils For Wood 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

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Top pick

SUNNYSIDE Boiled Linseed Oil

 

The Best Oil for Wood

 

No doubt, Sunnyside is №1 oil for wood on the market. I and other customers can say that this is a high quality product. It’s a perfect choice for your dry wooden pieces.

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That beautiful rocking chair your grandfather made. Your classic hardwood floors. The butcher block surface you added to your kitchen. Wood is a lovely material with such grace and history. To keep it looking its best, you need to condition the wood, and you may need to refinish it.

You have a few different options for a finish, but one type of finish suitable for a natural look is an oil. There isn’t a lot of shine, so it’s ideal for imperfect surfaces. It brings out the natural grain and prevents drying.

We’ll take a glance at the best oils for wood. Plus, I’ve answered a few questions you may have about how to choose the right one. Let’s take a look.

Best Oils For Wood in October, 2020

 OilCoverage (quart)Dry time (hours)Sheen 
1SUNNYSIDE
Editor's Choice
100 - 150 sq ft12-18gloss Check Price
2Watco Danish up to 170 sq ft6satin Check Price
3Watco Teak250 sq ft8-10satin Check Price
4Osmo - Polyx100 - 150 sq ft24-48satin-matt Check Price
5Formbys Finish 100 - 150 sq ft24semi-gloss Check Price
6CabotStain125 - 150 sq ft24semi-gloss Check Price
7Minwaxup to 170 sq ft8satin Check Price
8Tried and Trueup to 250 sq ft8satin Check Price
9OSMO Topup to 250 sq ft8-10satin Check Price
10Watco Tungup to 200 sq ft24semi-gloss Check Price
11Star Brite Oil100 - 150 sq ft24semi-gloss Check Price

Here is the list of the best oils for treating wood available today.

1. SUNNYSIDE CORPORATION Boiled Linseed Oil – Top Option for Dry Wooden Furniture

Linseed oil is a plain, classic wood oil that brings out the grain finish without changing the natural color of the wood. It’s used to strengthen the existing finish on your piece and prevent damage from over-drying and cracking. You can use it both for interior and exterior projects.

Boiled Linseed oil has a faster drying time than raw. Sunnyside goes on uniform and dries in only 12 to 18 hours for a smooth, uniform finish. It repels water and prevents chalking. It’s safe to use on most furniture finishes and antiques.

You won’t want to use this particular kind for any food preparations surfaces such as butcher block. The agents that speed drying aren’t safe for consumption. Make sure you read the label clearly before using.

It’s excellent for conditioning dry wood including furniture and antiques.
Pros
  • Faster drying time than raw linseed oil
  • Brings out wood grain without changing the color
  • Strengthens existing finishes
  • Repels water
  • Both interior and exterior
Cons

2. Watco Danish Oil – Great Performance on Tight Grained Woods

Watco Danish Oil is actually for interior wood with a varnish additive. It has the finishing properties of a true wood oil with the protective feature of a varnish.

The Walnut color brings out a deep, warm tone to the wood. It’s easy to apply and penetrates deeply into the surface for a beautiful finish. You can safely use it on sanded, bare and stripped wood.

It’s excellent with tight grained woods and surfaces with interesting grains because it can penetrate deeply without hiding the patterns.

It’s not quite maintenance free because it doesn’t completely seal the wood. You’ll have to reapply it every so often to prevent the project from drying out.

If you don’t want the color to get darker each time, I recommend a wax or a plain oil finish after the first round.

Pros
  • Beautiful, warm tone with the look of a hand rubbed finish
  • Won’t hide the natural grain
  • Easy to apply and safe for both bare and stripped and sanded wood
  • Varnish gives much more protection
Cons
  • Not a one and done operation. It will require some periodic upkeep
  • Reapplying the varnish year to year darkens the wood color
  • Only interior

3. Watco Teak Oil Finish – Good Choice for Dense Woods Such as Teak

Watco’s Teak Oil Finish is suitable for more difficult woods such as teak, rosewood or mahogany. It penetrates deeply, protecting the surface from within without leaving a film or cracking later.

It dries in just eight hours, making it great for quick projects. It’s water and UV resistant. It’s also suitable for marine use above the water line. It’s appropriate both for exterior and interior use.

There is a bit of varnish in this oil to help further protect your hardwood from the elements. It may cause the color of your wood to darken over time if you reuse it to the condition. However, the initial color is warm and has the appearance of a hand-rubbed finish.

It isn’t food safe, and you’ll need to make sure you allow any used rags to dry completely, so the fumes don’t cause spontaneous combustion.
Pros
  • Penetrates hardwood deeply to protect from within
  • Dries quickly (only about eight hours)
  • Water and UV resistant
  • Suitable for above the water line marine use
  • Exterior and interior
Cons
  • Not food safe
  • May cause combustion if rags aren’t cleaned properly
  • Not suitable or softer woods such as pine

4. Osmo – Polyx – Great Oil for Wooden Floors

Osmo’s Polyx is a combination of different oils and waxes. It uses sunflower, thistle, and soybean oil as well as both Carnauba and Candelilla wax.

This product applies a simple mineral spirit as a solvent. It has a lower odor than other, similar products. You can easily apply it, the coat will last a few years with proper care.

Although it’s great for larger spaces like flooring and windows, it’s somewhat expensive. If you’re looking for a budget option, this isn’t going to be the right one for you. However, if you want something that will last a few years, this is a good option.

It’s best for indoor floor finishes to condition your hardwoods and prevent damage from drying.

Pros
  • Great for wooden floors
  • Uses both oil and wax to create a satin finish
  • Low VOC and emissions compared to other similar products
  • The finish lasts a few years
Cons
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Routine maintenance is required to prevent scratches
  • Indoor use only

5. Formbys Low Gloss Tung Oil Finish – Top Finish Option for Wood

Tung Oil is another classic oil that protects the finish of the wood without hiding the natural grain. It resists both water and mildew and helps prevent chalking. It dries clear, so it’s safe to use as a complement. You should use it only for interior projects.

Formby’s low gloss option gives the wood a hand-rubbed finish without highlighting imperfections. You can continue to condition your piece, working with the natural strength of the wood and finish.

The glossier the surface, the more you highlight any scratches or dings. It comes in various sizes so that you can choose the right one that fits your need.

Tung oil isn’t as glossy, so it’s perfect when you want a satiny finish, or if the wood has a lot of imperfections.
Pros
  • Low gloss option is better for surfaces with multiple imperfections
  • Complements an existing finish
  • Water and mildew resistant
  • Dries clear
Cons
  • Not recommended for floors
  • Only for interior use

6. CabotStain Australian Timber Oil – Great Option For Outdoor Wood Furniture and Hardwood

CabotStain’s option is a matte finish oil that penetrates deeply into the wood to protect it from within. You can control the sheen by adding a few more coats, but it never finishes as a high gloss.

It’s a combination of Tung and Linseed oil. It’s going to take it a while to dry, but once it does, it’s UV and water resistant. You’ll need about two full days to get it completely dry with no tack so make sure you understand what you’re getting into.

This one is strong enough to get through the grain. It’s solvent based so make sure you have plenty of ventilation.

It’s excellent for both hardwoods and natural grain.

Pros
  • Good for hardwood grains
  • Matte finish with a single coat and increasing sheen with multiple coats
  • Moderately UV and water resistant
Cons
  • Solvent based, so you need ventilation
  • Takes a long time to dry

7. Minwax Tung Oil Finish – Good Interior Oil for Reconditioning

Minwax Tung Oil is perfect for pieces that are already finished and need reconditioning. It penetrates the wood deeply to prevent chalking and cracking. It’s water and mildew resistant and helps neutralize any acidity or alkalinity.

Tung oil is easier to refinish than varnish, so it’s suitable for pieces you may want to rejuvenate after some time or that you might want to change later.

It’s not pure Tung oil, but you should have a better result with the added solvent and varnish without having to refinish a piece completely. It dries more quickly than pure, classic tung oil so you can get layers without as much wait time.

It uses a solvent, so make sure you have plenty of ventilation. This option helps to recondition the indoor wood completely, but you don’t want to use it near any food prep areas.
Pros
  • Penetrates wood deeply to condition
  • Water and mildew resistant
  • Easier to refinish later than pure varnish
  • More durable than pure Tung Oil
Cons
  • Not safe for food prep areas
  • Not 100% Tung Oil
  • Solvent requires ventilation
  • Not suitable for exterior use

 

8. Tried and True – Ideal Product for Interior Use

Danish oil is pure linseed oil that’s been moderately polymerized. It’s economical and produces a nice finish to your wood. It has better penetration than boiled one, but it may take longer to finish.

There’s no varnish and no other additives. It conditions the surface, bringing out the natural grain and complementing the finish.

You may have to reapply it periodically to prevent drying. It doesn’t have a color, and there’s no gloss. The sheen is suitable for wood with some imperfections. This option conditions and enhances the grain.

It doesn’t have a toxic aroma like other finishes. It’s safe to use indoors and on food prep areas.

It does have a faint cooking oil smell that some might find off-putting, but it fades after a while. This option doesn’t protect wood well, beyond just making sure there’s no cracking associated with drying out, but for indoor furniture and wood pieces, it’s beautiful.

Pros
  • Suitable for indoor pieces
  • No harsh, toxic smell and no VOC
  • Ideal for food preparation areas
  • Suitable for surfaces with some imperfection
Cons
  • Smells like cooking oil
  • Won’t protect against damage

9. OSMO TopOil – Food Grade Oil for Wood

Osmo’s Top is an oil and wax mixture best suited for things like furniture and food prep surfaces. It conditions the wood, bringing back the shine. It’s water repellant. You can protect your food prep areas against staining agents like wine or things with a strong smell.

It’s clear and dries with a satin finish. It resists scratching and helps you clean dirt and grime off easier. You can keep conditioning your wood piece without having to remove the top oil coat and without sanding things down.

It’s easy to use, and it doesn’t add any color to your piece aside from deepening the color slightly due to conditioning.

The biggest benefit is that this one is definitely food grade.
Pros
  • Food grade conditioning oil can be used in all your food prep areas
  • Water repellant
  • Resists dirt and grime, making it easier to clean
  • Low odor
  • Satin finish suitable for imperfect woods
Cons
  • Only comes in a half liter size

10. Watco Tung- Nice One to Enhance Natural Wood Tone

Our final product is Watco’s Tung oil. It’s not a true Tung oil, but it will dry a lot faster than traditional Tung oil thanks to a blend and drying ingredients. It takes about 24 hours, but after that, you’ll have a beautiful color with a beautiful deep grain.

This option penetrates the grain of even hardwoods to condition and protect. It won’t darken with age, and it’s easy to apply. It doesn’t leave any tack the way pure Tung oil will. Watco does have a solvent, so make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area.

It can be challenging to smooth excess because of the driers in the formula. Make sure you work with small areas a time to get the right amount of product in place.
Pros
  • Should satisfy most budget requirements
  • Dries quickly
  • Isn’t as tacky as pure tung oil
  • Won’t darken with age
Cons
  • Not pure Tung oil
  • Solvent based and will need ventilation

11. Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil – Easy to Use

This oil can be used for any wood, not only teak.

Quick, Easy, And Effective

You couldn’t ask for an easier to use product than this. You just put some oil on a cloth and rub it into the surface of the wood. You could use a brush, but it’s better to give it a good rubbing. By doing this, you push more of the oil into the pores of the wood.

Oil treatment is also a one-step solution to many problems. It functions as a sealer and a top-coat, eliminating the need for either of these jobs. I also like the way that it imparts an amber-gold color to the surface of your wood. As you might guess, this kind of oil was originally intended for teak wood, but it can be used on any wooden surface.

The Problems

In spite of their effectiveness, oil finishes are a little bit less long-lived than polyurethanes for example. As the oil wears away, you will need to re-apply. Thankfully, this kind of thing doesn’t need to be done very often. Still, it’s an extra chore that you might not want to do.

This product is also both toxic and combustible. As such, you want to be a little more careful when applying it to the surface of your wood. Wear some kind of breathing protection, and take care to keep it away from sparks or open flame.

Pros
  • Very easy to use
  • Time-honored solution
  • Seals and finishes in one step
  • Imparts a warm, golden color
  • No need for curing
Cons
  • Must be repeated more often
  • Both toxic and flammable

Buyer’s Guide

There are all kinds of finishes for wood, but how do you know which is the right one? Let’s go through a few things to consider before you choose.

What Are My Choices?

Different finishes are appropriate for different situations.

Wax

Wax isn’t a finish by itself. Instead, it helps further condition wood and prevents the loss of color through drying and aging. It’s better to use in addition to another finish.

Linseed Oil

Most linseed oil used for wood finishing is boiled. Raw linseed oil just takes way too long to dry to be effective. Boiled linseed one goes on smoothly and dries to protect the wood. If you want true boiled linseed oil, look for “heat treated” or “polymerized.” All other types are actually chemical additives in raw linseed oil. They speed up drying time, but they can add a lot of toxic fumes to your workplace.

Tung Oil

Tung Oil is very similar to linseed oil. It takes a very long time to dry, so most wood finishes are either heat treated or have chemical additives to speed up drying time. It’s more moisture resistant than linseed oil. It’s penetrating, so it’s suitable for hardwoods that need more power to deal with their tight grain.

Varnish

Varnish has a bit of color to it. It’s a synthetic resin that penetrates wood and helps seal it. It cures by the same process (polymerization: the act of drying into a solid state), but it’s more durable than oil. If your main purpose is to seal wood surface to protect it from moisture then sealer would be a more appropriate option for you.

Oil and Varnish Blends

These have the best of both worlds. The oil helps the application and conditions the wood while the varnish enhances the color and increases durability. They’re far more water and weather resistant. Plus, some of the finishes are UV resistant.

Other Finishes

Other types of high shine finishes include things like shellac and lacquers. These create a layer of material on the surface that’s very reflective. For perfect woods, these can also enhance the grain. They aren’t suitable for woods with surface imperfections because the gloss makes imperfections a lot more obvious. They’re known as surface finishes because they dry on top of the wood instead of inside it, creating their signature shine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Oil Wood Furniture?

In many cases, furniture oil provides a great way to finish the surface of a wooden item. It offers a beautiful sheen, resistance against the elements, and a convenience factor that is second to none. Like any other tool, furniture oil isn’t suited for all situations. There are times when it’s worth using and times when it isn’t.

You should consider the current state of the wood. If it’s already painted or coated, you will not be able to use a furniture oil. This is because furniture oils must be able to penetrate into the wood, which they cannot do if some other finish is in the way.

On the other hand, unfinished wood is usually a bad idea. Unless you are talking about a cheap and temporary construction, any wooden furniture should have its surface treated in some way. You have several options for finishing but oil is probably one of the easiest. You simply rub it into the surface and let it do its work. Wherever you see a dry patch of wood, that’s where you need to apply more oil.

What Oil Do You Use On Wood Furniture?

There are a wide variety of furniture oils on the market. These might include tung oil, Danish oil, linseed oil, teak oil, or Roalman oil. All of these products offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. Still, you should get similar results from all these products as long as you follow the instructions.

Will Oil Darken Wood?

Yes, most oils will darken the wood once applied. While it will not change the color of the wood, it will make it a shade darker. This has the effect of bringing out the grain and making it far more visible. However, the overall darkening effect of an oil-based finish will keep it from gaining too much contrast.

Not only does oil darken most wood, but this darkening process also gives you an easy way to know when your wooden furniture needs more oil. When you see a pale spot of wood, you know that it’s thirsty, and oil is its favorite drink.

Does Oil Seal Wood?

Furniture oil is not the same thing as a sealer. However, it does greatly improve the ability of wood to resist moisture. Because all types of oil will naturally repel water, it will act as a sealer to some extent. In the days before wood sealers and clear coats were invented, oil impregnation served as a useful technique for preserving the life of a wooden object.

At the same time, you cannot expect a furniture oil to function as well as a sealer. Both of these products will penetrate the surface of the wood and provide a waterproof top layer. However, most commercial wood sealers are plastic-based and made of synthetic polymers. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your perspective. On the good end, plastic will last a lot longer than oil, which has to be re-applied once or twice a year. On the bad side, plastic is not environmentally friendly at all. Furniture oils tend to be made from natural substances, but this also increases their price somewhat.

What Is The Difference Between Tung, Linseed, And Danish Oil?

At first glance, the subject of furniture oils can be kind of confusing. With so many types of oil out there, it is indeed difficult to understand everything. Let’s take a look at three of the most common types of furniture oil so that you can understand their qualities.

Tung oil is obtained from the seeds of the Tung tree and was first invented in China (where this tree grows). After pressing it from the seeds, ancient herbalists found that this oil would gradually harden on contact with the air. This forms a thick but transparent layer that serves to protect a surface from moisture. Before long, they started using this new substance for umbrellas, ships, and quite a few other things.

When it comes to Danish oil, the subject gets a little more confusing. There isn’t just one formulation for this stuff, so it can be made in more than one way. Sometimes, it is made from tung oil, linseed oil, or other such substances. In its cheaper form, it is basically an artificial substitute for tung oil. You never really know what you’re getting here.

Linseed oil, like the other two, is an oil extracted from plant seeds (the flax plant, in this case). Like the other two, it also hardens gradually when in contact with air. As you can see, there are a number of plants that yield oils of this type. These self-hardening oils are called “drying oils,” and they are the original form of clear-coat. These products are still commonly used in the making of various musical instruments but have been phased out of many other applications. This is because the oil is sticky and somewhat hard to use.

How to Apply Oil?

best oils for wood buyers guideYou’ve decided that oil is a good finish, and lucky for you, it’s one of the easiest to apply.

The first thing you should do is identify the type of wood you’re working with. Really porous woods may not do well with oil because the wood soaks it all up leaving very little on the surface. Getting an even coat is difficult.

Once you’ve identified your wood, sand the surface gently to remove any dirt or grime before you apply the oil. Work from coarse sandpaper to fine to ensure you won’t have any deep scratches left on the surface of the wood.

Apply the oil gently with a high-quality rag. Lower quality rags can pill and leave those annoying little pieces of fuzz everywhere. Wipe up the excess and make sure to clean your clothes carefully.

Allow the proper amount of time to dry before adding a second coat. The drying time will depend on the product you’re using. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly.

How to Clean Up Oil?

Any oil with a solvent has the potential to be a fire hazard. Most experts recommend submerging the rag into a bucket of water with an airtight lid, but very few people actually do that. You should make sure the cloth is flat and can dry completely.

If you bunch the rag up after using it, escaping fumes turn up the heat and are in danger of combusting. You may find yourself walking into a fire hazard.

Oils should never puddle on your wood surface. Make sure you’ve correctly wiped the excess away before allowing it to dry.

Options that contain solvents will need more than just water to remove. You’ll need a paint thinner or other removal agent.

What Are Safety Procedures for Wood Oils?

Oils can be harsh on the skin. If your product also has a solvent added to help with the application, you may need to wear gloves and eyewear. The biggest safety concern is ventilation. Fumes from the oil or varnish blend can cause severe respiratory issues and danger to your eyes and brain. If you can’t ventilate the area, you should consider an alternative to the product you’ve chosen.

Never leave oils around where children or pets can find them. Also, if you’re conditioning something in your food prep areas, make sure your oil is specifically labeled as food safe. Otherwise, you risk ingesting toxins.

How Much to Pay for Wood Oil?

Pure oils can be a bigger investment than oil blends. Some of the products on our list are well within most budgets and can be used again and again.

More expensive options include oil and wax blends with ultra-conditioning properties. You can justify the expense because you won’t need to apply them very often.

If you have large areas, you may be able to save by buying in bulk. Otherwise, you can use a more expensive product on woods such as antiques or delicate finished woods.

I would never discourage you from trying to save money, but sometimes you get what you pay for. If your product protects your wood and prevents damage from drying and aging, it’s worth it to spend just a little bit more. You save yourself from spending a lot more on significant repairs.

Final Thoughts

Wood oils can prolong the life of your wood piece and help prevent repairs. Choosing the right option brings out the wonderful grain quality in the surface and helps keep the structure of the wood intact. A project may dry over time or change shades, but a good quality oil can breathe new life into it.

Leave a Comment

82 thoughts on “Best Oils For Wood 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Hi Will,
    I have a butchers block table and and have been looking for a product to use on it , it’s really dry and gone very light in colour , please could you recommend a product and the best way to apply ect … would I need to sand it first ,
    Cheers
    Rach x

    Reply
  2. We are a medium sized flooring and furniture maker in Thailand primarily Teak and Oak.Recently made a few indoor chairs for export but am not happy with the finishes reckon our painter used local lacquer and the finishes hide all the natural features of natural look of Teak. We are currently using Osmo UV wax oil for our wood floor and customers are happy. Would you recommend us going to food grade Osmo Oil or just regular oil as we do make dining tables too.

    Reply
  3. Hi, we have just purchased a dining table and buffet made of Tasmanian Oak. Can anyone recommend a good polish/oil for a weekly clean and maintenance.
    thank you………..

    Reply
    • Hi, Joan.

      Oils don’t need to be applied every week. Instead of that use some spray conditioner, for example, Trinova Wood Cleaner and Conditioner.

      Reply
  4. My two hundred and
    thirty+ year old walnut windowsills keep popping their paint off. It is obvious that bare wood has been exposed to weather at some point possibly for decades. Is there an oil treatment compatible with painting again at a later date?

    Reply
    • Hello Catesby.

      Yes, tung and linseed oils can be painted. You can use oil-based or latex paints, make sure oil is fully dry before painting.

      Reply
  5. Hi William . What is the best oil option for an old mesquite dining table that will sit outside under a portal? Ive read Tung oil?? Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Hello.
    I have no idea what i need! I have a dresser which needs attention but I don’t know what the wood is, it’s a rustic style dresser and looks like it’s made from crates ?! It isn’t a smooth glossy dresser by any means . A stamp on the back says Mexico. It now looks very dry and faded and chalky and I would think it would benefit from conditioning but don’t know with what. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
    Lyn.

    Reply
    • Hi Lyn.

      It’s now always necessary to know which type of wood you have. There are oils that work well with all types of wood. Pick up Sunnyside, it’s great for interior furniture.

      Reply
  7. I am about to oil our outdoor table and side tables. They are under cover but expased to the Queensland heat. I don’t know the wood type. What would you recommend?

    Reply
  8. I have a house full of cedar trim and cupboards. Not sure of the finish but they’re about 20 years old. I want to clean the wood and am told I should oil it occasionally to keep it from drying out. Can I use Watco Danish oil on it? I have a lot of it. Should I use something else to clean the wood first?
    Thanks,
    Judy

    Reply
  9. I have a solid oak desk that has been stained and then had polyurethane put on it. It is now starting to crack and split between the boards. Do I need to sand off the polyurethane before I treat it? What treatment would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Karen.

      Yep, you need to sand down the areas where polyurethane is damaged. But why you want to use oil? You can reapply polyurethane on damaged areas.

      Reply
  10. Hi
    I have beautiful Tas Oak decking. I used a natural oil that had UV protection. It has turned it all yellow! No more shades of pink or honey. I hate it. I am going to redo it and will never use UV protection again. I want an oil to enhance natural colour. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Hi Peta.

      Oils tend to give the wood a yellow tint, more or less. For decks, I can recommend , choose the natural color. I suggest you oil a little piece of wood before finishing the entire decking just to make sure you love the color.

      Reply
  11. Can I use oil on previous stained garden furniture – mainly Cuprinol garden furniture stain ?
    If yes what would you recommend .

    Reply
  12. Hi this is a great guide!
    Someone used a harsh cleaner to remove construction chalk lines from my pine ceilings, leaving the cleaned areas looking “chalky” or “washed out” (paler than the rest of the ceiling). The wood is bare. It will probably stay that way. Could I use a very light oiling to these pale areas to restore their color to match the rest of the ceiling? Would I apply the oil to just the damaged areas or over the entire ceiling? I’m thinking Tried & True or Food grade Osmo oil because they seem to have the lightest touch.

    Reply
    • Hi Alexa.

      From my experience trying to ‘align’ the tone of different parts of the wood isn’t an easy task. Yes, you may use oil on pale areas to make them look darker but I can’t say how your ceiling will look like eventually.

      Reply
  13. i have a solid walnut desk and want to refinish the top. There are several marks from marking pens that need to be removed. I have found someone to help me by lightly sanding the surface and re-oiling it. What oil do you recommend? I do not want a glossy finish.

    Reply
  14. If you are looking for a non-toxic oil that will have a nice natural finish hemp oil works great.
    Hemp oil cures to a hard finish in about 1 month. You can also make an oil based polish made from 3 parts hemp oil to 1 part beeswax pieces. Just put your mason jar in a pot of water and boil until the wax melts and allow to cool.
    The problem with today’s Danish Oil is not the “oil” at all but the other toxins that are put into it. In the race to make it cheaper and faster, industrial coating makers have cut back the oil and increased the other ingredients which are toxic.

    Reply
  15. What is the best oil for red oak flooring? I have new sections and old sections and will be sanding down old sections to bare wood in one room. Also, in another room I have older red oak flooring and I don’t know what type of finish is on it, but it is scratched. Can I just apply oil over the old finish to freshen it up and skip the sanding?

    Reply
  16. Help!!!! I have a piece of furniture that I am the fourth generation owner. We have been told that it is Cherry Wood but not confirmed. The piece is very large. My family always called it the Press. It is 7 1/2 feet tall and 6 ft long, so it doesn’t move from it’s present position. When we were moving it into my home, it took 6 grown men to get it in. My problem is that we burn with wood exclusively and I am seeing some stress to the Press. There is a finish on the piece, but I have no idea what was used. I’m confused on what type of oil I should be using to moisturize this beautiful piece. Also, I assume that I will need to oil both inside and out if possible, correct? Any help you can give me would be great.

    Reply
    • Hi Pat.

      Definitely, you need some oil for antique furniture. Sunnyside would be perfect for your situation, it’s designed especially for that type of wooden pieces. Yes, it’s better to finish your Press both inside and outside.

      Reply
  17. First, I want to sincerely thank you for all the information you’ve provided here. I have been researching for days in order to make the ‘right’ decision and your content has made me understand the options much more.

    That said, I am still not confident in making a decision and would love your advice. I have an only wooden floor, hardwood but not sure what kind. It will be sanded down to its natural state. What I am looking for is an oil that will provide some tint, but preferably on the golden yellow side, preferably not dark or reddish.

    We will be doing this one section at a time, thinking that we will go with the wood pattern around the perimeter first. I don’t think that will be an issue, but I wanted to confirm with you.

    From what I gathered from your post, I should use boiled linseed oil, the first listed. As it will not give a darker coloring and is safe applying indoors.

    As I am just learning about all the available options, I was hoping I can ask for your thought.

    Thank you again, Li

    Reply
    • Hello Li,

      The first option on the list (Sunnyside) is great for furniture but not for floors actually, it just won’t withstand floor traffic. Go for Osmo Polyx, it’s specially designed for wooden floors. As for tint, first, try to apply it on some small inconspicuous area. You will make sure that you’re okay with the tint by doing so.

      Reply
  18. I am building an outdoor dining table and will be making the top out of red cedar. What would be the best oil to use for this project, I want to make sure I use something water and UV resistant. Or would I be better off with a different product all together. I just want to keep the natural look of the cedar without color additives. Thank you. Alison

    Reply
    • Hi Alison,

      Oil or sealer would be a good choice but they add a bit of tint to the wood. Instead, try some exterior clear polyurethane such as Helmsman. Urethanes create a protective layer over the wood, unlike oils and sealers which penetrate the wood, but urethanes are clear.

      Reply
  19. Hello,

    I am looking into turning an old antique english manogany end side table cabinet into a vanity sink. I want to protect the wood from damage when people are washing their hands. What would you suggest for this?

    Reply
  20. Do you have a suggestion for 100+ year old wood slats in an antique trunk? I’ve sanded and am researching what may be best for this dry wood but it’s confusing. I’m leaning toward Danish oil or Tung oil but already have varnish and polyurethane on hand so I’m just not sure. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      It depends. As I understand it, you need a finish for dry wood, so oil is the best option here. Varnishes and polyurethanes are designed for different purposes.

      Reply
  21. it might sound ridiculous but I want to make homemade wooden spoons and chopping board so I came here to search for a good coating. From my reading Cosmo top oil seems to be the ticket. Am I getting it? Thank you

    Reply
  22. Hi there, I am making hot plates from slices of logs. Looking for the best finish to apply that will hold up to hot temperatures, a casserole dish coming out of the oven, a pot off the stove- etc. Minwax says there products are rated at 120*F.
    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    D. C.

    Reply
  23. My dad used to always use lemon oil on our teak furniture. Any thoughts on this? I have two teak side tables with glass inserts on the top that I have cleaned and am about to sand a bit on the top frame but am debating what to use on it to finish it. I don’t want any sort of varnish containing oil, just some type of oil. Am currently looking at tung oil. Do you have a citrus oil you like to use as a thinner for the tung oil?

    Reply
    • Hi Charles,

      Lemon oil is a cleaning solution and polish rather than finish in most cases. I haven’t used citrus oils. I personally would choose tung oil since it’s a more ‘common’ solution.

      Reply
  24. Hi I have some very old furniture that is starting to crack along the grain lines. Some of this furniture is bare wood, some has a lacquered finish. A friend of mine suggested I get teak oil and a big syringe, and squirt the teak oil into the cracks weekly over a period of months to bring back deep moisture to the wood. To the best of my knowledge the various pieces are made of European oak, rosewood, mahagony, and elm from China, and mahogany from the Philippines.

    Do you agree with this recommendation?

    Reply
    • Hi Tess,

      I oiled wood many times but I’ve never done ‘deep’ oiling. I think you should try this method, at least it won’t make things worse.

      Reply
  25. Recently sanded old style pine kitchen cupboard had 3 layers of paint
    Do not want to paint
    Can you suggest a good oil to finish it please

    Reply
  26. I am purchasing a kitchen island that is perfect for a bathroom vanity. I would like to make the counter top a darker wood (dark walnut) and the bottom half white, it will have a vessel sink.

    I am not sure on the stain or oil to use to keep the top water resistant.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hi,

      If you chose stain you would also need a sealer because stain colors the wood but not waterproofs by itself. Speaking of oils, go for Danish Oil, it got many colors for walnut.

      Reply
  27. I have a wooden stairway, not sure which kind of wood. Maybe oak. Which oil would you recommend regarding the high foot traffic?

    Reply
  28. Great info!! Thx! I have a patio set made of Acacia wood. Have had it a year. It has had a polyurethane treatment at the factory. It looks dry and I want to maintain it. Is there an oil I can apply without sanding and that has a low odor?

    Reply
    • You can use linseed oil on the wood, the only downside is it takes a while to dry and will need a few layers. There are other oils out there too such as danish and teak oil as well as tung oil that just needs a light sanding in between coats. The oils shouldn’t smell too bad but if you are looking for something completely odorless, there are odorless sealers at Walmart or any hardware stores that will keep the wood nice as well.

      Reply
  29. Hello. I have a wooden swing I am refinishing made by my father 20 years ago. He used cherry wood. I wasn’t able to find any cherry wood to match the damaged slats, so I’m replacing with cedar boards found at my local Menards. It’s going to be out in the elements in Ohio. From my research, I thought tung oil would be best for cherry, but boiled Linseed for the cedar. Is this correct? I don’t want the cedar to turn grey, and I want to leave natural colors. I thought about using oil and then using spar urethane on top. Could I mix the 2 oils? What would be your recommendation to finish this. Thank you.

    Reply
    • What you found from your research should work. Both tung oil and linseed oil are great to use on wood. I wouldn’t mix the oils, I would do a coat at a time because if the oils aren’t mixed properly or they don’t want to mix, the finished product won’t look the best it could. Spar varnish is a really good finish to use. I would recommend a spar varnish by Minwaxor TotalBoat.

      Reply
  30. Hi, I’ve just purchased some jarrah hardwood sleepers for a small retaining wall. I’ve sanded them down and was hoping I could put an oil on them but not sure it its possible?? Any help will be gratefull.

    Reply
  31. Hi William. I have a Knotty pine Barn Door that I’d like to use oil on. I’m not sure if i should just use Mineral oil or the Watco Danish Oil “one step finish”. I don’t want a glossy finish nor do i want to darken the finish. I’d love your thoughts on this… Mineral or Danish Oil?
    Thank you
    Donny

    Reply
    • Both of these oils are great options. Most people use mineral oil to keep a natural look to the wood. If you use too much mineral oil you might get a slight gloss look. Danish oil might darken the wood a little unless you get a natural color Danish oil or a color close to the wood you have. I have used Danish oil many times before and haven’t really gotten a glossy look. In your case, I would go with Mineral oil but both would most likely achieve what you want.

      Reply
  32. Hi William,
    We just purchased a used draw leaf table made in Denmark. We’re not sure if it’s teak or white oak. When you “draw” the leaves out, there’s quite a difference in the color from the center of the table. We’d like to liven up the center, but don’t want to use the wrong thing and make the wood turn yellow or too dark. Any suggestions? And any pointers to determining whether it might be teak or white oak?

    Reply
    • To tell what type of wood it is look at the grain. Teak wood usually has a straight grain that looks like streaks or lines of darker color. If you really want to know what type of wood it is, you can buy a white oak test kit. As far as trying to bring out the color in the wood without it yellowing or darkening too much, I would suggest using tung oil, teak oil, or even danish oil. Tung oil is considered to be the finest and most natural wood finish but it leaves a wet wood look. Teak oil is suitable for both exterior and interior surfaces. It beautifies the wood and protects the wood from sunlight and water. Danish is the fastest to dry and can protect the wood against chemical damage, heat exposure, and surface scratches and stains. All of these oils are good, it just depends on what look you want and protection.

      Reply
    • Hi Lisa, to repeat the finish it is good to know what the old finish is.
      For example, if it is a varnish and you want to apply oil, it is good to remove the old varnish beforehand or to re-apply the varnish on the same base (of course if it has worked well so far).
      If the windows are treated with oil, you can simply apply a little.
      Teak oil like this is very suitable for your case like this one by Star Brite, which is a cleaning kit with which you can restore the wood (if necessary), works well for both teak and other tree species.
      In addition its resistant to saltwater (can be used in a boat above the waterline).
      It’s a good idea to renew the coating at the first sign by simply applying a new one.

      Reply
  33. Fantastic resource – glad I found your blog!

    I am a bit undecided on how to treat my wenge bathroom cabinet – it has cracked along the veins and looks like it could use some love, but I am afraid to apply an oil that is going to leave it shinny

    Similar to Alexa here-above, I have a black wooden credenza – very grainy and matte – which has been cleaned with some sort of detergent (maybe windex?) and it now has ‘washed out’ stripes. Is Osmo the way to go?

    Thanks for any input

    Reply
    • Hi James, I am happy to know that I have been useful to you!

      Yes, Osmo is a good brand proven over time.
      This oil has a matte finish so it will not make the surface shiny.
      For a black wooden credenza after washing well you can apply oil with black color and then transparent top oil for better protection.

      Reply
  34. Hi William,
    We’ve recently purchased a French provincial style reclaimed pine dining table.
    I love the distressed look of the wood with the differing grains and knots but it is unprotected and I’d really like to protect it with something but I’m unsure of what oil to use. I’d like to enhance all of the above and prefer not to change the colour of the wood if at all possible. There are a couple of cracks on the base and I’d like to try to prevent any more occurring if I can!
    What would you recommend using please?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Rebecca.
      I also like the natural look of the furniture, I congratulate you for wanting to keep your table in its natural look.
      You can use oil no.1 in the list by Sunnyside, it does not change the color of the wood, adheres well to the existing coating, and prevents new cracks (it can even cover some small cracks). It also gives good protection.
      It is good to apply periodically or at the first signs of wear.

      Reply
  35. I have a barn wood cabinet I use in my kitchen for storage, it doesn’t appear to have any kind of treatment on it. What would be the best to use?

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara, you can use oil number one on the list.
      Boiled linseed oil adheres well to old coatings, renews them, and gives good protection to the furniture.

      Reply

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