It is not uncommon to find DIYers in a difficult situation trying to decide what to use over a piece of furniture with an oil finish that is already drying out. This problem with making the decision is that a proper understanding of the oil to apply is important for a successful restoration. Other problems may include the color and the sheen quality.
For this reason, many DIYers often wonder if Danish oil can be used over linseed oil.
This article discusses the practicality of using Danish oil over Linseed oil and many other important things.
Can I Use Danish Oil Over Linseed Oil?
Yes, you can use Danish oil over linseed oil. Unlike many synthetic oil-based finishes, linseed oil does not form a film on top of the wood. It penetrates deep into the wood grain to bring out the color of the grain underneath the wood.
It also works to protect the wood against abrasions and other elements. But it does not seal the wood as it does not contain any synthetic alkyd resins like lacquer and polyurethane.
So, if you have coated your piece of furniture with linseed oil and want to cover it with Danish oil, you can do so. But you would have to sand the wood lightly for better results.
The problem would be using linseed oil over Danish oil. Unlike linseed oil, Danish oil contains varnish, which is a synthetic alkyd resin. Danish oil is more of a sealer than a penetrator.
Danish oil will seal the wood by forming a film over the surface. Once you seal the surface with Danish oil, no other oil will penetrate the wood. If you apply any other oil to the wood, it will come off after you wipe it because it will only remain on the surface.
But since you are using Danish oil over linseed oil, there should be no problem because the linseed oil will penetrate the wood while the Danish oil will set a seal upon the wood for protection.
Some things You Should Know Before Using Danish Oil Over Linseed Oil
How exactly Does Danish Oil Work?
Danish oil is not a natural oil like Linseed oil. Although there is no universally accepted formula for making Danish oil, it is essentially a blend of linseed oil or tung oil, mineral spirits, a varnish, and a few other ingredients.
Many manufacturers add other ingredients to their composition to make their Danish oil more durable or appealing to the market. Many DIYers also make their Danish oil themselves, especially when they do not trust the products of the brands on the market.
Danish oil, as a blend of natural wood protection oil and varnish, works as a sealant to seal the wood surface from the elements. This means that any other oil applied to the wood will have no contact with the wood surface since the Danish oil will have sealed off the wood surface.
Danish oil, when applied to the wood, penetrates the wood surface and oxidizes upon exposure to oxygen. This makes it harden as it hardens into a sealing film over the wood surface. The degree of dirt and moisture resistance depends on the composition, but the final result is usually non-greasy.
It usually dries fast, within four to six hours. Upon its polymerization, the oil hardens to make the wood one whole mass. This is one of the reasons the wood becomes durable. But there are other alternatives that are tougher than Danish oil.
Does Danish Oil Darken the Wood Color?
Danish oil usually appears glossy with a slight sheen, but it generally darkens the wood color. You can control how much glossiness you get by mixing the oil with other oils.
On the other hand, linseed oil does not change the wood’s color much. Linseed oil usually gives a yellow to golden brown color after some time. It works to highlight the innate color of the wood.
If you plan to use Danish oil over linseed oil, it would be best to first try out a spot on the workpiece to see how it comes out. This will help you decide whether to thin the Danish oil more or not. You will also be better informed about whether to mix another oil to enhance the color you want.
The Choice to Sand the Wood Surface
The decision to apply Danish oil over linseed oil is usually made when trying to restore the wood finish of a furniture piece that was treated with linseed oil.
Since this is the case, it would be best to sand the workpiece lightly to ensure the Danish oil adheres properly to the wood surface.
On the other hand, if you have used linseed oil to enhance the color of the wood to your preferred taste and wish to finish with Danish oil, it is very important to let the linseed oil cure fully before applying the Danish oil.
In this instance, there would be no need to sand the workpiece since it would be a shame to sand off the color you have achieved. But it would be best to try it out on a spot to see how much color change will be occasioned.
However, since it is a new piece of the woodwork without linseed oil on it yet, you may skip the linseed oil and go on to apply the Danish oil only. The result is hardly too different from when you apply the linseed oil first.
Some DIYers may still want to apply the linseed oil first because of its ability to penetrate the wood deeper than the Danish oil will before applying the Danish oil for its sealing properties.
If you opt for this style, it is important to ensure that the linseed oil cures fully before applying the Danish oil.
As long as the linseed oil is properly cured, you can apply Danish oil over it. Danish oil is a drying oil and should dry to seal the wood surface from the elements.
Danish Oil Over Linseed Oil (Application Tips)
It would be best to apply the Danish oil in very thin coats to get the best result. You want to use a piece of cloth. The piece of cloth you choose is very important. You want to avoid any piece of cloth that will leave short fibers on the wood surface (a lint-free cloth).
It would be a mistake to use a brush. Using a brush will make Danish oil leave brush marks, and this will adversely affect the final results. So, using a lint-free cloth is the best option.
You also want to watch out for pools and puddling. This usually occurs when you apply too much at a time. It would be best to use a very small amount at a time.
A very little amount of Danish oil can go a very long way. You want to rub it very quickly as you work it around the wood surface until the wood surface is dry. Having a lot of residue on the rag after rubbing clearly indicates that you have used more than the appropriate amount.
Always allow the Danish oil some penetration time after the application. You can let it set in for at least five minutes.
Rubbing the coat with a soft cloth as though you were polishing it will improve the sheen. You can also use 0000 steel wool instead of a soft cloth. And if you want to deepen the luster, you can add more coats. But three coats are usually enough for a project.
To clean the treated surface, you can clean the surface with a wood-safe cleaner. Another great option for cleaning is Murphy’s soap.
In the case of a scratch, you can sand down the affected area and treat it as though you were applying Danish oil on bare wood.
There are a few things to know about using Danish oil over linseed oil. Understanding the nature of both oils and their components is perhaps the first step to knowing whether it is possible to use one over the other.
It will be a waste of time to use linseed oil over Danish oil because Danish oil contains varnish and, as such, will form a film over the wood surface to prevent the linseed oil from penetrating the wood.
But using Danish oil over linseed oil is possible because the Danish oil will seal in the linseed oil, which would have penetrated the wood to hold it together as a whole mass.
Other things to remember include using a lint-free cloth instead of a brush for application. This is especially important if you desire a good result.
Most importantly, it would be best to touch a small spot with the Danish oil to see how the new color compares with the one from the application of the linseed oil. This will let you know whether to loosen the Danish oil more or add another oil for the desired color.