Which Wood Finish Oil is Best For Your Next Project?


Another name for Tung Oil is China wood oil and it is a drying oil. The seed is taken from the nut of the Tung tree and is pressed to obtain the oil. When exposed to air, Tung oil hardens and therefore coating can be transparent and looks somewhat like plastic.

Uses of Tung Oil:

For application on wood, Tung oil is applied in multiple fine coats and once dried it turns into something of a satin wetted wood and has a slight golden tinge. Most times it is diluted with a hydrocarbon thinner to allow the oil to penetrate deeper and enter even the finest grain wood.

It resists liquids and water in liquid better than almost any other finish, however doesn’t provide so much protection against water vapor or scratches.

Additionally, Tung oil has been known to not darken over time and more resistant to mould. Tung oil is often also used on paper to make traditional umbrellas in China.

The oil makes protects the paper from the water and therefore makes it waterproof. It is sometimes also used on surfaces that are susceptible to getting stained by fluids. Several thin layers are applied with a high solvent to oil ratio. This makes the coating even more permanent and durable.

Application of Tung Oil:

  • The traditional application of Tung oil is a dilution of 1 part oil and 1 part solvent and a successive application in multiple layers using a soft non-fuzzy cloth. This allows the deepest color of the wood to be brought out and permitting the matte finish at the same time.
  • The solvent can be a spirit, turpentine, naptha or citrus based thinners. The decision as to which thinner to be used should be made depending on how fast you need the coating to set.
  • In case of Tung oil preparations or polymerized oils, the thinned oil should be applied and allowed to penetrate the surface and fill the pores.
  • Following this, straight oil should be applied moderately. This works to adhere to the surface and provides a base for thick gloss layers.
  • The polymerized oil should then be applied as a thick single layer and should be buffed with sand paper and steel wool once fully dried. The surface should be cleaned with a moistened rag. To finish off, apply a fairly thick layer.


Danish Oil is another wood finishing that Is made with either polymerized linseed oil or Tung oil.  It is a hard drying oil and can be polymerized into solid. It provides water resistant and hard, wearing satin finish. Sometimes it is also used on bare wood as a primer before application of varnish or paint in the form of a mixture of three parts varnish and one part oil.

Uses of Danish Oil:

When applied as a coat on wood, Danish oil hardens into a satin finish that is well resistant to liquids. The finish is similar to that you can see on utensils or tool handles, as opposed to the glossy and slippery finish that other material gives. This quality gives extra resistance to water and leaves the wood a little darker in terms of shade.

Application of Danish Oil:

Danish oil is usually applied in three coats with a brush or cloth. The finish has to be left to dry for a day between each coat. The excess should be wiped off a little while after application.


Linseed oil is obtained from the ripened and dried seeds of flax and is therefore also called flaxseed oil. It can also be polymerized and can therefore be used individually or after blending with other oils, solvents, resins, varnish or drying oil finish. It seeps into the wood gives a wet look. It has a slight yellowish tinge. It is used as a preservative for wood, rope, natural hemp and masonry and sometimes also as an additive in oil based paints. It has many advantages for e.g. it is water resistant and easy to apply since it only needs to be rubbed on. In case the original layers gets damaged it only needs to be re-applied. The oil is also very flexible and protects the wood even on expansion and contraction. Although it takes a little extra time to dry, if you boil it, it takes lesser time.

Uses of Linseed Oil:

Linseed oil is used mainly for its drying properties, where it is initially liquid or malleable and eventually hardens.

One of it’s many uses are as a paint binder. It is used a carrier in oil paint. It is used as a medium while painting or making the oil paints more fluid glossy or transparent.

It is also used for making putty, which is a paste of linseed oil and chalk powder used to seal glass windows, etc. Wood finish is another common usage of linseed oil.

The difference between linseed oil and varnish oil is that rather than covering the surface the way varnish does, linseed oil soaks into the pores on the surface of wood, therefore gives a shiny but not glossy appearance while still showing the grain of the wood. Linseed oil, however, provides no barrier against scratching, but can be repaired easily.

Wood could have a yellowish tinge and can darken over time. Since it enters the pores of the wood, it protect the wood from getting dented. Linseed oil is often used for protective coating on cricket bats, cue shafts for billiards, wooden records and even on wooden surfboards. It is also used for reconditioning guitars, mandolins and other stringed  instruments.

Linseed oil is also used in traditional oil gilding. Linseed oil has a longer working time as compared to a water based one and also gives a more firm and smooth surface. Another important usage of linseed oil is used to bind wood dust for manufacturing floor covering linoleum.

Application Tips for Linseed Oil:

Apply the oil onto the cloth and on the surface to be worked on as well. Rub along the grain and remove any excess oil. Buff the surface to heat the oil and increase penetration into the wood. Let it dry for at least 24 hours and rub with steel wool for a smooth finish. Repeat this entire process after a rest period of half a day. Apply three layers for best results.


Teak oil more of a wiping varnish than a finishing oil and contains a resin derived from plants or synthetic plastic.


  • Remove any dust from the surface and sand it with grit paper.
  • Remove existing finish, for which you should use either a solvent or a chemical stripper.
  • Sand with grit sandpaper to remove residue of the stripper. Preferably use 150-grit paper to do the final sanding.
  • Apply the oil liberally and use either a rag or paintbrush and apply it using strokes that go parallel to the grain and let it soak in.
  • Leave it be for 30 minutes and apply once again in a similar manner.
  • After 15 minutes, wipe the surface and let the oil dry for 10 hours. You can also apply a third layer.
  • Scuff the wood using 220-grit sandpaper which will smooth the grain. Wipe off the dust with a damp rag and apply the oil once again liberally.
  • After waiting for 15 minutes, wipe off whatever excess oil remains and let it dry for 10 hours again.

Are you a DIY Enthusiast? Have you ever done small projects at your home, kitchen, bathroom, garage, bedroom?

You can check out some of our awesome guides to learn about tools you will need for your next DIY project :

Garage Air Compressors | Sawzalls

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments