Danish oil is a type of finish for wood, composed of a mixture of vegetable oils, resins and other chemical components. The result is a resistant and durable product, with a predominantly matte finish that enhances the natural beauty of wood, nourishes it and offers both internal and external protection.
Danish oil characteristics
- It penetrates the wood without forming a layer that can come off like other finishes. For example, varnishes, lacquers or enamels.
- It is waterproof, so it can be used outdoors. But it is microporous, allowing water vapor to pass and allowing the wood to breathe.
- Easy application. It does not require air compressors or any other type of tool. It is simply applied with a brush or cloth.
- Slow drying. It will depend a lot on the amount of volatile and drying compounds added by the manufacturer, but normally the Danish oil dries slowly. Up to 24 hours to apply a new coat, between 4 and 6 to the touch.
- While some of the basic components of Danish oil are natural, others are not. In other words, we are facing an industrial product that may contain toxic or potentially toxic compounds, such as varnishes, paints, etc.
- Some manufacturers meet the requirements for labeling their Danish oil as suitable for toys and food after drying.
- Unlike varnish, its odor is limited and disappears when it dries.
Danish oil finishes and colors
The normal result is a matte finish, with very little shine, which enhances the grain and darkens the wood slightly, so little that we can consider it transparent or colorless.
It is common to find mixtures to which dyes have been added to change that color, or rather, lack of color, common.
Danish oil types
It is a product of industrial manufacture, although the main components are oils of vegetable origin. This means that each manufacturer will change the percentages and even the components to obtain different characteristics or properties.
There are mainly two types of Danish oil according to the main type of oil used for their manufacture.
The quality and price of Danish oil is largely determined by the amount of solid content, that is, less volatile compounds.
As we have already said, the combinations made by the manufacturers can be very varied and include, among other products: tung oil, linseed oil, different varnish types, natural and synthetic resins, mineral oil, poppy oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, turpentine, drying agents, solvents, alcohol …
Danish oil is an easy-to-apply finish. Basically, the steps are as follows:
- The wood is prepared. Previous finishes are removed if any, and sanded to leave a smooth and even surface. If the wood were simply dyed, there would be no problem applying it over the top.
- Multiple layers are applied, usually 3, respecting the drying times established by the manufacturer (usually between 6 and 24 hours). It can be applied with a brush or a cloth dipped in oil.
- After finishing the application of each layer, and after about 20 minutes, they should remove excess oil with a cloth that can remain in some parts of the wood.
Overcoating will depend on usage, usually between 1 and 3 years. For this new application, if we do not change the product and the wood does not stain, simply clean it before applying the new layers.
If there are stains or defects we can sand and then apply the finish.
Danish oil uses
- Internal and external carpentry: doors, windows, coverings, floors
- Internal and external furniture.
- Musical instruments.
- Sculpture and turning.
- Countertops and other surfaces for food preparation (provided they are labeled and approved for this use).