When it comes to wood finishing, danish oil is one of the common wood finishing oil with lots of uses. Danish oil is made mainly by blending linseed oil, tung oil with mineral spirits. There are different types of danish oil from different manufacturers available in the market because there is no clear mixing ratio between those ingredients. So, you need to have good knowledge about the danish oil type you going to use for your next woodworking project.
As a full-time, woodworker, I have worked with danish oil to finish my most woodwork. In this article, I have included everything you need to know about danish oil with its uses. So, let’s discuss when it comes to wood finishing, Danish oil Advantages and Disadvantages.
|Waterproof oil||Need regular maintenance|
|Dries faster||Less durable|
|Food safe||Can only apply to bare woods|
|Improves the sheen||Can occur Sudden Ignition|
|Easy to apply||Doesn’t smoothen the Wood Grain|
|Can use as a Primer|
But that’s a quick snapshot. Let’s discuss each advantage and disadvantage of danish oil in detail.
Advantages of Danish Oil
1. Waterproof oil
Danish oil has great resistant to water and other liquids. Danish oil works as a waterproof coating on your woodwork.
Danish oil is made because of the polymerization of small particles. So, it can give a strong surface after drying. Water molecules cannot penetrate through this surface, this is how its waterproofing activity works.
@philskyross1962 #gardening #gardeningtips I am a big fan of Danish oil for timber in or outdoors. Her is my new bench freshly made oiled & halfway through Winter. Water resistant and breathable deeply penetrates the wood. The dirt is surface dirt and will wash off in Spring pic.twitter.com/ptRapRbirP— 🌱Jason Richards (@JrRushden) December 27, 2020
The reason for building this kind of strong water-resistant layer is that the particles that are contained in danish oil react with atmospheric oxygen for a highly polymerized strong solid structure. Moisture cannot penetrate through this surface. This makes danish oil great for outdoor furniture.
After years of working with danish oil, I know Danish oil is Water resistant, Alcohol resistant, and Food resistant.
2. Danish oil Dries faster
Danish oil has the ability to dry faster than many other finishing oils available in the market. The average time oil takes to dry is around 6 hours. But this time can vary drastically upon the environmental temperature and humidity.
If it’s colder weather, you could have to wait longer till the danish oil coating is completely dried. Colder weather and high humidity delay the drying time.
Warmer weather and when the humidity is low the drying time is shorter.
Apart from that, the drying time of Danish oil can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
New chair at new workshop under new canopy while the Danish Oil dries. pic.twitter.com/OTI3LZvKXD— Jeromy Rowett (@YealmptonChairs) August 19, 2014
So, my advice you to keep a minimum of 3 days for the completion of the drying process of danish oil after applying the coat 2-3 times.
Danish oil is completely non-toxic. You can apply it to children’s toys any other household furniture without any problem. Danish oil is safe for babies’ toys and accessories.
There are no toxic additives and ingredients are available in danish oil. Once it’s fully cured you can use it anywhere you wish. But I recommend you don’t use the furniture until the danish oil coat is fully cured for better safety. Because many wood finishers are toxic in liquid or uncured states.
So, keep in mind that “non-toxic once cured”. Danish wood is safe to use on toys and kitchen furniture and other kitchen accessories.
4. Food Safe
Danish oil is food-safe. You can apply danish oil over any wooden tool, furniture, or kitchenware. It is completely safe to apply Danish oil on cutting boards, kitchen cupboards, salad bowls, banisters without any issues.
Danish oil can use on butcher block as well.
But wait for the application to use until the oil is fully cured. This because of its polymerization ability, once it gets fully cured, it doesn’t release anything outside or to the foods.
It can take days or weeks for the completion of the curing process. But you should wait because if you use the kitchen item with uncured danish oil, definitely the oil will get mix with the food and cause a lot of trouble. So, patience is the key.
Danish oil bonds with the wood and become essentially inert.
In my experience, once I applied danish oil to the cutting board and kept it around 30 days until it fully cured. As long as you keep waiting, the result will be so useful.
5. Improves the Sheen
By applying danish oil, not only gives good protection to the furniture but also improves the look. Danish oil has the ability to absorb the wood and give protection for any exterior defects and protect the interior without getting any damage. The extra sheen, glossiness helps to increase the beauty and the appearance of the furniture.
The low sheen and the darker color given by danish oil add a unique look to the wood. It also gives good chemical and heat resistance to the wood by remaining the extra glamour.
The sticky oil that is left on the wooden surface after rubbing the surface is the reason for its silky sheen.
If you want to have a soft sheen or rustic finish, such as decorative tables, clocks, jewelry boxes, picture frames, which don’t require tough rough coating, Danish oil is the best solution.
Spalted beech small bowl 185mm x 52mm before & after Hampshire Sheen Danish Oil. Beautiful colour & spalting. pic.twitter.com/LIt1Bwv4kK— MissTee's Woodturning (@msteesrv) May 15, 2020
Danish oil enables you to refinish the wood easily.
I recommend you apply nearly 3 coats of danish oil with proper drying to get an excellent sheen out of most wood types. But this totally depends on the type of wood you’re using.
6. Easy to Apply
You can easily apply danish oil on any type of wood with a brush or a cloth. Make sure to apply through the grain direction for better results. It can easily penetrate the wood.
Apply nearly 3 coats to get better results according to the wood type. After each coat leaves the surface to dry completely for at least more than 6 hours. When you feel the surface is completely dried and smooth by touching, do the second coating and repeat drying the process.
Here I have listed down the summarized steps of How is Danish oil applied.
- Sand the wood with 220 grit until the surface is nice and smooth
- Remove the sanding dust
- Apply the first coat with a brush or cloth through grain direction
- Let the oils soak well
- Rub the wood with a rag to get the sheen and smooth surface
- Leave the wood for several hours to dry
- Once you feel the wood is completely dried, apply the second coat after rubbing the surface with 600 grit sandpaper after dipping it in danish oil.
- Let the surface dry for a minimum of 2-3 days.
The simple apply and reapply is one of the main reasons for danish oil to become such a popular wood finishing oil.
7. Elastic ability
Think of your wood contracts or expands because of any reason, the best finish you can go for that type of wood is danish oil. Danish oil has a unique stretching ability. The elasticity of danish oil doesn’t go even when it is fully cured and turned into a solid polymerized structure.
Because of the wonderful elastic properties, once it applies to wood, it can expand and contract along with wood without affecting the finish. The protection will remain the same.
Some woods expand and contract under temperature fluctuations. For those woods, danish oil is the best finishing oil you can go with.
Due to its elastic properties, danish oil can have great compatibility with wood which is not common on other finishing oils available in the market. There will be no scratches, cracking, or dull spots that will remain on the wood due to expansion with the danish oil coating.
8. Can Use as a Primer
Because of being a hard drying oil, Danish oil can use as a primer or sealer. It can apply on bare wood before applying the finishers.
You can paint over danish oil with any oil-based paint once the danish oil layer is completely cured. By using danish oil as a primer, the efficiency of the wood paint will increase and give extra protection to the wooden surface from cracking and scratching.
Danish oil gives better adhesion chemically and physically by bonding perfectly with the paint you are going to use.
As we have discussed the advantages of danish oil, let’s turn the table to talk about the disadvantages of danish oil. When it comes to danish oil advantages and disadvantages, there are lots of advantages of danish oil than its disadvantages, which make the oil so special.
Disadvantages of Danish Oil
1. Need Regular Maintenance
Careful and consistent maintenance is an essential thing when it comes to danish oil. This of one of the main drawbacks of danish oil, because regular cleaning is very time-consuming.
If you’re going to apply a danish oil wood finisher, make sure to clean the furniture regularly to keep its appearance the same as earlier. This will give refreshment to the wood as well.
The polymeric oil structure of danish oil works as a magnet for dust particles. Even though they don’t penetrate inside, they stick on top of the wood, and that makes the wood dull. So, make sure to keep the surface clean to remain the shine forever.
To clean the surface, use polish of shammy cloth. Wipe the dull areas. To repair the cracks and scratches, reapply the danish oil coatings.
The re-application of 2-3 coats is recommended for every year. This will keep the wood natural fresh.
2. Less Durability
When it comes to durability, even though Danish out compatibilized perfectly with the wood itself, it doesn’t give a durable finish as we expect. There are many other wood finishing oils available in the market that give better durability results than danish oil.
Because of its low durability, the resistance to scratches and cracks over time will be reduced. With dirt and other defects, the scratches will easily appear over time. Reapplication will be needed.
Paint and Varnish which we use as finishes for our household furniture, give better protection to the wood than Danish oil because of having high durability. Also, tung oil gives better durability than danish oil as well.
So, I recommend you think twice before applying danish oil as a finisher for the items that we use mostly in our day-to-day lives.
As I discussed earlier, danish oil finish works like a magnet to outside dust particles. They stick on the wood and don’t go away naturally. So, you need to clean the wood regularly to keep the sheen continuously.
Here I have listed, Durable wood finishes than Danish oil,
- Tung oil
These durability issues are mostly depending on the types of ingredients danish oil has. Because the ingredients and blending ratios can differ manufacturer-wise. So, always go for the top quality danish oil for better protection and durability.
3. Time Consuming
Patience is the key when working with danish oil. Because, after applying each coat you must wait for 2-3 days until it’s completely dried before applying the next coat.
This drying time is mostly depending on the type of danish oil you’re using for the purpose and the item type. For example, I had to keep my cutting board for over a month after applying danish oil to complete the curing and drying process.
Worked on the table top today: before, after tea & homemade stain, after 1st coat danish oil. Just done a 2nd coat of oil 👍 pic.twitter.com/NRxfAAMGCQ— Tesha (@farmingmum) January 27, 2017
During each coating, sanding is required with 600 grit sandpaper. Also, I recommend applying at least 2-3 coating for most woodworks. So, this requires a lot of time and patience.
So, if you’re going to apply danish oil for an item that you commonly use, please keep an alternative item ready, because you won’t be able to use the previous item for days until the coatings are fully dried and smooth.
4. Can only Apply to Bare woods
The application and efficiency are limited on Danish oil. Danish oil gives proper perfect finishing with bare, untreated wood surfaces. But it’s limited to that purpose.
Danish oil quickly absorbs into porous woods. The oil can penetrate easily through the porous structure. This is a major problem, because once the oil gets inside the porous woods, the strength of the wood will lose, and cracks and scratches can happen easily.
So, I recommend pay extra attention when using danish oil as a finisher for porous woods such as,
Alder, basswood, birch, maple, and willow.
By applying danish oil, the tone of the wood surface can change. It lows the sheen of the wood and darkens the color. So, make sure to test the wood with danish oil before directly heading into the application.
Also, danish oil is not suitable for woods that are used for cutting.
5. Can Occur Sudden Ignition
When danish oil is exposed to the air, it reacts with atmospheric oxygen and makes the surface hardening. This is an advantage.But on the other side, danish oil is a highly volatile extremely flammable liquid blend with hydrocarbons distilled on petroleum oil.
But when it comes to exothermic conditions, danish oil is flammable and you must be careful when working with danish oil surfaces when the fire is near. Because the oily surface can easily catch on fire. When the oily rags are dry, the heat produces. They can react with oxygen and lead to spontaneous combustion which leads to fire and can do the destruction.
To avoid this, you need to pay extra attention to the rags that you use. It’s beaten to dry the rags before disposing or you can soak the rags in water.
I'd always heard it said that a rag used to apply Danish oil could catch fire, so never ball it up as it could become kindling, essentially. Just had it happen to a cloth I'd thankfully left flat. Used it a few hours ago, now it has a nice little hold scorched in it… pic.twitter.com/DhVeqcDai5— Malboury Jones (@Malboury) February 9, 2019
6. Doesn’t Smoothen the Wood Grain
Danish oil doesn’t have the ability to smoothen the wood grain naturally. So, after each coating, wet sanding is required to get a smooth surface. The brush marks also will be removed because of wet sanding.
So, you need to have proper guidance before finishing the surface with danish oil because it is a type of finisher either can enhance the quality of the wood or ruin the whole wood just in seconds of misuse.
So, as I discussed above there are lots of advantages and disadvantages of using danish oil as a finisher. In my point of view, Danish oil is a great finisher which can improve the properties of the wood in every aspect if you use it with proper guidance.
To cover up everything you need to know about danish oil advantages and disadvantages, I have listed down frequently asked questions about danish oil.
What is Danish Oil Use For?
Danish oil is a versatile popular choice when it comes to wood finishing.
Danish oil is commonly used for,
- Wood tool handles
- Kitchen worktops
- Cutting boards
- Butcher bench
- Food utensils
- Other household furniture
It dries hard and gives better protection and a better appearance than most of the wood finishes available in the market.
How many Coats of Danish Oil should you Use?
The number of coats you should apply depends on the type of wood you are going to use and the type of danish wood.
An average minimum of 3 coats of Danish oil recommends for most of the wood types.
Is Danish Oil Good for Oak?
Danish oil is perfect for oak wood furniture. Danish oil avoids cracking, scratching, and stains and enhances the sheen of oak wood with an attractive appearance.
When it comes to oak wood floors, danish oil is mostly used to get the modern look.
Can you use Danish Oil on Pine?
Danish oil work perfectly on pine. Pinewood furniture, paneling, flooring, cabinetry, and framing are the common applications we use danish on as a pinewood finisher. It gives better durability with enhancing appearance.
It protects the wood from cracking, scratching, and stains. Normally the color of pine wood tends to go away over time, but by applying danish oil coating over the surface, the color will remain the same for a long time with regular maintenance.
A red wine barrel top side table with black painted pine base. 22 1/4" in dia. and 28" tall. Danish oil finish. pic.twitter.com/0tDGLErOH0— BrooksideWoodDesigns (@BrooksideWoodDe) August 28, 2016
Can you Wax Over Danish Oil?
Don’t use wax over danish oil. Wax doesn’t give any protection. It attracts dirt. Three coatings of danish oil are completely enough to protect the wood from any kind of external effects.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Danish Oil Advantages and Disadvantages
In this article, I have widely discussed the danish oil advantages and disadvantages that I have learned with years of woodworking and working with different finishing oils available in the market.
Danish oil is a great oil in terms of protection, appeal and it gives good strength to the wood as well.
Always make sure not to use the wood until it’s fully cured and dried.
Pay more attention when applying danish oil over porous wood. Make sure to apply the danish oil only over bare wood.
I have discussed the qualities of danish oil that make it perfect for any type of woodworking project.
Ultimately, I have answered all the possible questions that can occur when you’re working with danish oil.
I hope reviewing danish oil pros and cons, now you can have a clear idea to take the final decision according to your personal preferences.