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.