Linseed oil for wood products
Linseed oil should be used to finish bare or previously oiled wood. Ideally, it should be limited to indoor wooden surfaces. However, it can be used in any indoor location you like, from floors and beams to paneling, moldings, and even woodworking figures.
Of course, there’s a lot more to using linseed oil than just knowing when to use it. If you’re hoping to become a pro with this finishing material, you’re in the right place. This article will cover everything you need to know about linseed oil, including the best uses for the material, the pros and cons of this finishing oil over other options, and any other questions you may have.
Benefits of linseed oil on wood
- Linseed oil is generally food safe. However, make sure to read the ingredients if you’re buying boiled linseed oil from the market – some brands include additives that you shouldn’t ingest.
- Natural alternative to synthetic products
- Easy to use for novices
- Does not form a film (unlike many vanishes)
- Finish is also waterproof, wear-resistant, and elastic.
- Affordable option
- Easy to care for the linseed oil finish in the long term
- It doesn’t require special care to dry – you can allow it to dry due to natural evaporation. Boiled linseed oil also dries relatively quickly, and each coat will be fully dry within 12-24 hours.
- Helps bring out the natural beauty of the grain in the wood you worked with
- Penetrates deeply into the wood, protecting more than just the top layer
- Doesn’t affect the natural color of the wood very much
Drawbacks of linseed oil on wood
- As mentioned above, commercially available boiled linseed oil can often contain small amounts of additives that are not safe, especially if you’re looking for something to use on kitchen items. However, you won’t face this issue if you opt for natural (raw) linseed oil.
- Natural (raw) linseed oil can take a long time to dry – about three days or more per coat.
- If you live in a cold environment, linseed oil can also take a long time to dry. Additionally, in some cases, it may not dry properly at all, leaving the surface of your wood sticky. The solution to this issue is to make sure you always apply thin coats of the oil and ensure the surface of your wood is fully dry. You can also consider thinning the oil with a small amount of turpentine to reduce this risk even further. Finally, make sure you allow each coat to dry fully before moving on to the next.
- It does not offer any light or UV protection, making it an issue if you’re using it on wooden surfaces outside your home.
- Can sometimes encourage mildew growth
- Doesn’t harden enough to be okay for use on outside floors, such as deck floors
- Can be challenging to remove from wood, especially if you’ve used it for several years and there are several coats worth of oil build-up.
- Can only be applied on bare wood or wood that has previously been oiled. Using it on other finishes, including paint, varnish, and wax, will affect how well linseed oil can penetrate into your wooden object.
Best uses for linseed oil on wood
This oil can also be used as an effective wood conditioner to prepare your wooden items before applying a stain. Some woods, such as pine and poplar, don’t take stains very well and look blotchy and uneven. That’s where linseed oil comes in.
This material helps ensure that your stain creates an even color on the wood you’re working with. All you need to do is combine linseed oil and turpentine and use it to treat the wood. Wipe away any excess liquid and let the oil mixture settle for at least 24 hours before moving on to staining the wood.
Linseed oil and turpentine should also be on knotty woods. These woods also often result in an uneven stain or paint coat, and like with pine and poplar, the mixture ensures you can paint/stain your knotty wood surface evenly. This allows you to keep the great texture that comes with working with knotty woods while also ensuring the finished product looks professional.
Additionally, if you’re using an oil-based stain (or an oil-based paint) on your wood projects but don’t have time to wait for them to dry, linseed oil can be a huge help. Add a small amount of the oil to the stain or paint before you apply it to the wood’s surface – this will cut down drying time significantly.
Finally, linseed oil can also be used on a daily basis as a polishing agent. Make sure to only use it on softer woods, like poplar. It’s an ideal choice for wooden furniture and doesn’t clog up the pores of your wood pieces, which would affect their longevity. If you’re planning on using linseed oil as a polish, you should combine it with water (in a 1:1 ratio).