Tagged: linseed oil
- This topic has 13 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 1 month ago by Anonymous.
I’m soon ready to finish my sawbench/sawhorse. My plan is a simple linseed oil.
Scanning the web there are many opinions about how to apply the oil for best result/protection.
First linseed oil is available in different forms: raw pressed cold, raw pressed warm and boiled.
As I understand it raw oil has smaller particles and will penetrate the wood deeper but dry (or should I say oxidize?) slower.
Boiled oil will dry faster.
Some recommend thinning the oil with white (mineral) spirits/turpentine and others claim that is just bogus.
And finally, should I sand the surface prior to application or go with smoothed plane surface? I find sources recommending sanding during application and/or two hours after…
So what is your experience with linseed oil and various methods of application?
Located in Jönköping, Sweden.
I have only finished a few projects with Linseed oil so I hope others with more experience can help out as well.
I have only used the boiled linseed and I used a rag to apply. Please be aware of the dangers associated with Linseed oil and read this before you start to use it.
The projects I have used it on were workbenches and I found that it gave a good deep-soaking finish but did not really fill the grain. This was ideal for the workbenches and probably for your sawhorse. I applied three coats (24+ hours apart) the first quite liberal (it soaks in a lot) and the second and third as just a film. On the last coat I applied it and then wiped off the excess pretty much straight away.
As far as drying time and sanding:
I found it took quite a while to dry (even just dry to touch). It makes a huge difference what temperature/weather conditions you apply it in. I don’t believe that there was any time that I could have sanded it easily between coats but perhaps you could if you left it a couple of days between coats. The way I was using it it would have been too sticky. It gave a fairly good final finish and I think this was down to the final wipe down after the last coat.
I certainly wouldn’t use this on household furniture but this may be because I am not applying it right.
I hope this helps and if you have any questions ask.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 10:58 am #4194
Jesper, I email’d a guy I know that uses it. This is what he came back with.
Rub the boiled linseed oil on your project using a clean, lint-free rag, starting from the innermost parts and working your way out. Apply the oil in the direction of the wood grain so that you do no cause streaks when it has dried. Allow the oil to sit on the piece for no longer than 20 minutes, then make sure that you wipe off any excess with a clean rag. When excess linseed oil is allowed to pool on the piece, it can become gummy and ruin your final finish. Allow the piece to dry for at least 24 hours between coats.
Between each coat, lightly buff your project with 0000 steel wool. This will help each additional coat stick to the previous one, and will help create a perfect final finish.
Rub on additional coats of finish. Make sure that you wait at least 24 hours between each coat and remove the excess oil within 20 minutes of applying each coat. Since boiled linseed oil is such a slow drying finish, you will need to allow at least a month for the project to cure if it’s going to be handled or sat on.
I hope it helps
Ken 😉Anonymous4 December 2012 at 11:47 am #4197
I’m sorry I’m late in replying, but Joseph and Ken have both hit the nail on the head. I tend to reserve boiled linseed oil for utility projects such as (As Joseph rightly recommended) saw horses, benches, cricket bats, etc.. Items intended to take a bit of abuse, whereas – if moving onto furniture – I tend to set a baseline using blonde shellac as a sanding coat and then work with whichever material I intend to use and finish with. Shellac works very well as a means of sealing timber and reducing nibbing, plus a basis from which you can work with most finish types. 🙂
I have no experience of using linseed oil directly, but my cousin owns an industrial cleaning company that burned to the ground recently due (the fire investigator believed) to spontaneous combustion caused by linseed oil in materials (tightly packed overalls and cloths) that had been sent for cleaning. It was one of the biggest fires in Hampshire for a good few years apparently. Pays to be really careful storing or disposing of rags that have been used for this purpose.
Yorkshireman currently living in Hampshire
I am also ready to apply a finish to my saw bench , looking back at the Chris Schwarz instructions he says to coat with an oil / varnish mix after spending some time on internet I think I have found that I could make such a mix by mixing together oil (BLO) varnish and mineral spirit in equal parts or I could use Danish oil which is already made up from the above contents, I am therefore going to try the Danish oil I am off to Screwfix to get some. There are a number of videos on youtube showing how to apply the Danish oil
Wigan, Lancs. England :
Here on the farm we use boiled linseed oil for tool handles. The benefit is that with this finish, the wood is still porous and when your hands sweat, the wood will still soak up the sweat. If the finish sat on top of the wood or sealed the pores, the water/salt from your sweat would build up between your hands and the handle and you will get blisters. We apply it by lightly sanding the handles with 220 sandpaper to clean off any accumulation of dirt or grime, then lightly apply a coat of boiled linseed oil with a cotton cloth. Once we get through the tools we’re working on, we go back and wipe the handles off with a clean cotton cloth.
Linseed is made from flax. You can get unboiled or regular linseed oil, which is marketed as Flaxseed Oil from many health food stores. I get mine from Puritan’s Pride online store because they run “buy two, get three free” sales every so often. Flaxseed Oil is approved by the FDA as a food additive and it also works well as a finish on any wooden surface food will come in contact with. I use it on cutting boards and an antique baking table we own.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 2:45 pm #4201
We used to soak the end grain on mallet heads and tool shafts/handles as a means of preventing them from splitting. Another dividend is it adds heft to the tool. It’s surprising just how much boiled linseed oil a malet head can absorb before reaching saturation. 🙂
Thank’s for the extensive answers 🙂
I put paper and rags used with linseed oil on the grill. That should be safe enough if they bust into flames…
Hopefully I can start applying the BLO as we approach the weekend.
An image update of the completed sawhorse is mandatory and will appear in my build thread.
Thank’s again for the input, this forum is great 🙂
Located in Jönköping, Sweden.Anonymous5 December 2012 at 7:55 pm #4292
All of the above are correct, however I’m suprised that no one mentioned Japan Drier, which accelerates the polymerization process which results in a harder finish. Additionally it is important to use fresh linseed oil, as it will slowly build once the can is opened and the oil gets exposed to more air. Also never apply linseed oil to the inside of a drawer, as the lack of air circulation will result in a stickey mess that will never harden even if it is later put out in the open. Unlike varnish or shellac, linseed oil needs to be re-applied after a period of time as time, absorption and the elements take it’s toll faster than with other finishes. There is no denying that when the old timers put 6 coats of linseed oil on an exterior surface like redwood, they really knew what they were doing.
The sanest solution for wooden planes, mallets, chisel handles, work benches, saw benches. As Joseph points out, there is one critical safety issue. I drown the rags used in water, put them in a plastig bag and tie the bag closed. I wipe own my bench top every couple of months. My wooden planes annually.
Hi. New here & figured I’ll have to jump in at some point, so here goes.
Linseed oil is one of my favorite finishes because it’s easy, & has a great look & as long as you’re not looking for a build up of the finish, you’re fine. I used it recently for a workbench I built. I noted application techniques from simple to complicated. I believe in simple as long as nothing more is required, and with linseed oil, nothing is.
Slop it on heavy, let it soak in for 10-20 minutes, wipe off the excess & let it dry til tomorrow. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until you get the saturation you want. As to the rags, that’s simple too. I hang them up to dry. That’s all I to do. They’re not a problem as long as you let them breathe. (as a disclaimer, here, check out the web & always follow all the safety procedures that everyone specifies, don’t do what I do)
As to the added Japan drier, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Boiled linseed oil isn’t actually boiled, it has metallic salts added to facilitate curing. Adding more may upset the chemical balance & at the least, not be an improvement, and at worst, cause problems.
I tried it once & it didn’t help. Anyway, that’s my first input. It’s always free…and worth every penny.Anonymous10 December 2012 at 3:17 pm #4483
Thanks for your input Tom, and welcome to the family. Keep ’em coming buddy.
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