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finishing after Danish oil

Loutro's picture

Hi, I have a walnut bench that I have applied three coats of Danish oil to, wet sanding the second two.  I have just a little woodworking experience and this is the first time that I have used Danish oil.  

I've read that the danish oil finish will loose its lustre and need to be refreshed after a couple years.  This will be difficult to do in the case of my bench which will have a danish cord seat (the cording will wrap around the wood surface).  I would like to put a final finish over the oil finish that will protect it and extend its life before I do the cording work.  I've read that Watco's solvent wax is a option as is a coat of polyurethane.

I'm wondering if anyone here has an opinion on either of these options, or any other advice that might be useful.  I don't want the finish to be overly thick, I like the smooth texture that I have now, but I would like it to not require re-finishing anytime soon.


SteveSchoene's picture

Wax won't be of benefit--it (post #170962, reply #1 of 5)

Wax won't be of benefit--it wwould require refreshing long before the watco would.  You can apply a varnish, but the look of the finish will be different since it will build a film, though it need not be thick.  I wouldn't recommend a polyurethane varnish, I prefer the clearer look of non-poly varnishes.  Waterlox makes a line of three varnishes.  You might like the semi-gloss look of the Sealer/Finish which comes thinned to be used as a wipeon varnish.  That's about the easiest method of applying thin varnish coats.  You would likely need only two or three thin coats to get the added durability you want.  Waterlox also makes a Satin version which gives less shine.  It comes a bit thicker but a little added thinner will give it a good viscosity for wiping. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

Loutro's picture

more on Waterlox (post #170962, reply #2 of 5)

Steve, thanks for your response.  If I use the Waterlox Sealer/Finish as you recommend, do I need to do any sanding to the danish oil-treated wood surface before the first coat?  The surface is smooth, but not glossy.  I applied the oil coats 2 and 3 with a 400 grit sanding block.

The info on the waterlox website discusses wiping it on vs. using a brush, and if I understand correctly, the recommendation is 3-4 coats brushed on, or about 4 times that if wiped on.  Are you recommending just 2 - 3 coats wiped on because I have already applied the danish oil, and because I don't want a thick looking finish?

Is the wiping technique the same as for the danish oil application: wipe on, then wipe off after 15 - 20 minutes?


HowardAcheson's picture

>>>>  Is the wiping technique (post #170962, reply #4 of 5)

>>>>  Is the wiping technique the same as for the danish oil application: wipe on, then wipe off after 15 - 20 minutes?

No, wipe-on, wipe-off is an application technique for oil/varnish (Watco, Danish Oil, etc) finishes.  A thinned wiping varnish is applied and then left to dry just as it you had used a brush--no wiping after application.

Westchester's picture

Finish Protection (post #170962, reply #3 of 5)

Don't stress over what may happen 3 years from now.  The oil finish is the best look - suggest leave it alone -

The cording could wear out before the finish depending on how the chair is  treated.  Don't over do this you wont like the result.


j_saenz's picture

You can also opt to use (post #170962, reply #5 of 5)

You can also opt to use shellac as your last coat. Let the oil cure for at least 72 hours and apply a wash coat of dewaxed shellac and wipe some vanish on it. Shellac adds the protection that you need in order to maintain the glow in your bench. J.S