Boiled Linseed Oil over Stain – Will It Work Well?

Boiled linseed oil has been used as a wood finish and preservative for centuries. It is made by heating raw linseed oil to evaporate water and other impurities, producing a thicker, more durable product. Boiled linseed oil penetrates wood deeply and protects it from moisture and rot. It can also be used over stains to provide extra protection and give the stain a richer, deeper color.

Of course, today, the BLO is made with the help of chemical products and is not actually boiled. But it still has all the proper effects on the wood.

In this post, we will be looking at the pros and cons of using boiled linseed oil over stains, as well as how to properly apply it. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of whether using boiled linseed oil over stain is a good idea for your next project.

We will start by looking at what makes boiled linseed oil work as a wood finish.

How does boiled linseed oil work?

Boiled linseed oil has several natural properties that make it ideal for use as a wood finish.

It is a natural resin, which means that it will polymerize, or harden when exposed to air. This gives boiled linseed oil its protective qualities.

Boiled linseed oil works by penetrating the wood deeply and bonding with the fibers to create a waterproof barrier. It also contains UV inhibitors that help protect the wood from sun damage. The natural properties of boiled linseed oil make it an ideal choice for outdoor projects like decks, fences, and garden furniture.

Now that you have an understanding of how boiled linseed oil works, let’s take a look at how to apply boiled linseed oil in 4 simple steps.

How to apply boiled linseed oil?

  • Step 1:Clean the surface

The first step in applying boiled linseed oil is to clean the surface of the wood. Boiled linseed oil will not adhere to dirty or dusty surfaces, so it is important to make sure that the wood is completely clean before you begin. You can use a mild soap and water solution to clean the wood, or you can use a commercial wood cleaner.

  • Step 2:Apply the oil

Once the surface is clean, you are ready to apply the boiled linseed oil. You can use a brush, cloth, or sponge to apply the oil. Boiled linseed oil is very thick, so remember to work it into the wood in thin layers.

Start by applying a small amount of oil to the surface. Use a brush or cloth to work the oil into the wood in a circular motion. Continue applying thin layers of oil until the wood is saturated.

  • Step 3:Wipe away excess oil

Once the wood is saturated, wipe away any excess oil with a clean cloth. Be sure to remove all of the excess oil, as boiled linseed oil is very thick and can take a very long time to dry if it is applied too heavily.

  • Step 4:Allow the oil to dry

After you have applied the oil and wiped away the excess, allow the wood to dry. Depending on the temperature and humidity, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the oil to fully dry. You can make sure that the drying process is complete by testing the wood with your fingers. If the wood feels even slightly tacky or sticky, it is not ready for another coat.

Once the oil is dry, you will notice that the wood has a deep, rich color. The final step is to apply a top coat if desired. Applying a top coat is not necessary, but it will help protect the finish and make it last longer.

Now that you know how to apply boiled linseed oil, let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of finish.

Advantages of using boiled linseed oil over stain

  • The appliance does not require any specific equipment or skills

Whether you are a woodworking novice or a seasoned professional, boiled linseed oil is easy to use. All you need is a clean lint-free cloth and the willingness to take your time. As a beginner, the only thing you should be aware of before using boiled linseed oil is that it can take longer to dry than some other finishes.

  • Affordable

Compared to other wood finishes on the market, boiled linseed oil is very affordable. This makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious DIYers and homeowners.

  • Easy repairs and touch-ups

One of the advantages of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that it is easy to repair and touch up if necessary. If you get a scratch or chip in your finish, simply sand down the area and reapply the oil.

  • Long-lasting

When applied correctly, the finish can last for years without needing to be redone. When compared to common alternatives like varnish or polyurethane, boiled linseed oil is much more durable and will not yellow or crack over time.

  • Enhances the color of the stain

Another advantage of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that it can enhance the color of the stain. The oil penetrates deeply into the wood and bonds with the fibers, resulting in a richer, deeper color.

  • Offers great protection from sun damage

Boiled linseed oil contains UV inhibitors that help protect the wood from sun damage. For an outdoor project in an area that sees daily, intense sunlight, boiled linseed oil is an ideal choice.

  • Natural product

Boiled linseed oil is a natural product made from flax seeds. It does not contain any synthetic chemicals or VOCs (volatile organic compounds). This makes it a safer choice for both you and the environment.

Disadvantages of using boiled linseed oil over stain

  • Can be difficult to apply evenly

Another disadvantage of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that it can be difficult to apply evenly. This is due to the fact that the oil is very thick and can seep into cracks and crevices. If you are not careful, this can result in an uneven finish.

  • Stains can bleed through the oil

Another disadvantage of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that stains can sometimes bleed through the oil. This can happen if the wood is not properly prepared before staining or if the stain is not fully dry before applying the oil. To make sure that this does NOT happen, always sand the wood thoroughly before staining and make sure that the stain is completely dry before applying the boiled linseed oil.

  • Stains can be difficult to remove

One of the disadvantages of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that stains can be difficult to remove once they have been applied. If you are not careful when applying the oil, it can seep into the grain and cause permanent staining.

It is important to note that boiled linseed oil will darken the color of light woods like maple and birch. If you are using a light-colored stain, be sure to test it on a scrap piece of wood before applying it to your project.

  • Can take longer to dry

Another disadvantage of using boiled linseed oil over stain is that it can take longer to dry than other finishes. Boiled linseed oil can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to fully cure. During this time, it is important to keep the area completely free from dust and dirt by using a tack cloth or vacuum with a HEPA filter.

How to make boiled linseed oil?

Boiled linseed oil is one of the most commonly used homemade wood finishes. It is easy to make and can be done with just a few simple ingredients.

Of course, you can just by a ready-to-use product (and this is recommended) but you can also prepare the BLO by yourself.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of flax seeds
  • A pot
  • A strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • A container for storing the oil

So, here’s how you can prepare BLO in your workshop:

  • Step 1:Boil the flax seeds in the pot for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Step 2:Strain the boiled linseed oil through a cheesecloth or strainer into a container. Be sure to catch all of the oil as it can stain surfaces.
  • Step 3:Allow the linseed oil to cool completely before using it on your project. Store any leftover oil in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Now that you know how to make boiled linseed oil, you can use it to finish your woodworking project. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and test the finish on a small area before applying it to the entire project.


Ultimately, it comes down to the specific project you are working on as to whether boiled linseed oil over stain is a good idea. If you are working on an outdoor project and want to use something that will provide great water and sun resistance, then boiled linseed oil is a good choice. However, if you are working on something that needs to be finished very quickly and does not need heavy resistance to elements, then there are other options that might be better suited for your project.

If you do decide to use boiled linseed oil, then make sure to follow the directions carefully and always test the finish on a small area before applying it to the entire project. Boiled linseed oil can be a great way to protect your woodworking projects from the elements, but it is important to use it correctly in order to achieve the best results.

For now, it is time to wrap things up. We hope that this article has given you some insight into whether boiled linseed oil over stain is a good idea or not. As always, thanks for reading!

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