What Everyone Should Know About Finishing Oak

Welcome to part 2 of our series on wood types. This week I’ll be discussing Oak. If you haven’t already read part 1, feel free to go check it out here: All about Pine Wood.

A little history of Oak

Oak (or quercus as it is known in Latin) is a hardwood with some 400 known species. It has always been a popular wood in The UK, but in recent times it is even more widely used in construction and also as internal fixtures in clubs and gyms etc. For furniture construction oak has become ever more the wood of choice, a trend expanding year on year since the year 2000 when China, India and Indonesia substantially increased their export markets. Pine has been the wood to suffer from oak’s popularity as it is more widely available in the Far East.

The flowers of many oak trees are known as catkins and they are produced by oaks when they reach their reproductive age which is typically aged 20. They are triggered by rising temperatures in spring. Ultimately it is the catkins of many oaks that turn into the acorns, so maybe that popular phrase… ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ should be ‘mighty oaks from little catkins grow’ although it doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?

Treating Oak wood

With regards to finishing and treating oak there are numerous possibilities but there are certain requirements that are asked for time and again… Often we are asked how external oak can be kept looking natural. Whilst the question is easy, the answer is not so straight forward. These are the necessary considerations: –

  • When water penetrates oak it reacts with the high tannin content within oak, resulting in ‘blackening’.
  • The Sun’s UV rays will turn the oak to a silvery hue over time.
  • Clear products are inevitably not completely clear so they tend to ‘bring out’ the natural colours of the oak, normally making it a bit darker and warmer.
  • The levels of rain, wind and sun will make a difference to how quickly the oak changes colour.
Oak affected by the sun

Oak affected by the sun

Oak affected by rain

Oak affected by rain

If the requirement is to keep the oak looking as natural as possible, whilst preventing blackening or silvering as much as possible, then the following is the best system we know of: –

Osmo 420 extra offers UV resistance and also contains biocide which is important for external timbers as it prevents the wood from becoming diseased with wet rot, dry rot and blue stone etc. The oil also repels water, thus preventing it from going black.

If the requirement is to protect the oak whilst keeping the silvery appearance then the following is the best:

Tung oil is one of the clearest oils on the market and doesn’t offer UV resistance.

If the exterior oak needs to be coloured then the following system is recommended:

If blackening on exterior oak needs removing then a scrub with a fungicidal wash is recommended. On the other hand it may be the silvering that needs removing. If so, a scrub with Osmo wood reviver (which contains oxalic acid, amongst other active ingredients).

Unfinished Oak

Unfinished Oak

Finished Oak

Finished Oak

One of the most common enquiries we get is how to keep internal oak looking natural. This is not just a case of simply applying ‘clear products’ as they bring out the natural colours of the wood, thus making it little darker and more golden. A very good indication of how your oak will look once it has been finished with a ‘clear’ coat is to apply water to a test area. The look achieved when the wood is wet is very close to how it will look once a clear varnish or a clear oil has been applied.

Some customers like the way oak colours when clear coatings are applied to it whilst others want it to be as close as possible to how it looks in its natural state. This natural look can almost be achieved by adding some white to your chosen top coat but test areas are vital because each wood needs a different mix of clear top coat to white. Here are some guidelines: –

Clear wax polish is the one exception to the above… If a clear wax polish is applied to bare oak (or just about any other wood for that matter) then the colour is kept very natural indeed, it’s just a question of whether a wax polish is going to be durable enough. Internal doors, for example are considered, by most people, to be ideal for finishing with a wax, where as a floor will look nice once waxed but regular maintenance is required, so most people don’t opt for wax for this reason.

If the oak needs to be made darker then hard wax oil is ideal because it colours and protects the wood in the same application. It is always good to try and finish with a clear coat if possible because if the wood gets scratched it is the clear coat that scratches before the coloured coat and therefore the scratch is not as noticeable.

Oiling consideration

If oak is being oiled it is a good idea to sand it with a sandpaper that is no finer than 150 grit. The reason for this is that the pores of the wood are more open thus allowing the oil to sink into the wood better. Better absorption equals greater protection.

Interesting Oak Stats

  • Oak bark is rich in tannin, and is used by tanners for tanning leather.
  • Acorns can be used for making flour or they can be roasted for making acorn coffee.
  • Tannin dissolves and escapes from the wood. Wine barrels are made from oak and it is the tannin that helps to give the wine its’ colour.
  • Sessile oaks of Europe and can reach heights of up to 40 metres.
  • Oak trees regularly live to be 500 years old, although 1,000 years old oaks are also known.
  • A mature oak tree can produce up to 50,000 acorns!

Oakey Dokey then – tune in next time when we’ll be discussing………… Teak!

146 Responses to “What Everyone Should Know About Finishing Oak”

  1. Cheryl Emery Says:

    I have a raw oak dining table which I would like to leave as natural as possible. What should I treat it with to protect it whilst keeping it looking natural?

    Cheryl Emery

  2. peter davis Says:

    I have client who is considering using an oak dining table as a dining table in the garden. Is oak furniture treated with any finishes which would degenerate in an outdoor environment?

    Thanks Peter

  3. nick Says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    As the table is bare wood, a couple of products to consider would be Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural or Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044. Both of these products are designed to keep freshly sanded or bare wood looking very much the same while offering a good level of protection. Both products are resistant to heat such as hot plates and cups and completely food safe so ideal for a table.

    These products are available in a sample size and depending on the size of the table, one or two sample pots may be enough to complete the project.

  4. nick Says:

    Hi Peter

    The first thing to establish is does the oak table already have a finish such as an oil, wax or varnish? Is it bare wood or going to be sanded back to bare wood?

    If it is bare wood or being sanded back, the wood can be treated with two coats of a clear wood preservative such as Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative followed by two coats of Osmo Teak Oil. This combination of products will help to protect the table from things such as mould. algae, dry rot and other wood related pests and diseases.

    Pay special attention to end grain such as the bottom of the legs. These can be dipped in the preservative for several hours or overnight so that the preservative can penetrate deeply into the base of the legs to offer the best protection. Once the preservative has fully dried (24 to 48 hours) apply the Osmo Teak Oil, again giving the bottom of the legs extra attention.

    Always follow the instructions on the tin.

  5. Stuart Martin Says:

    Thank you Nick for a very useful post. Please can I ask whether your recommendations apply to something a little more architectural – such as external oak weatherboarding on a barn, or an oak door in an oak boarded wall? In these situations I would like to put up new oak boards and joinery, and have it weather to silver ASAP. Should we go for your preservative + tung oil option, or will this stop the oak from silvering?

    Thanks, Stuart

  6. Lauren Says:

    We have some oak we are planning to sand (as very rough at the moment) and use as a fireplace surround with a wood burner in situ, we want to keep looking as natural as possible and not have a very shiny finish, would clear wax polish be the best or hard wax oil as hear resistant better?
    Many thanks

  7. Catherine Says:

    Hi we have raw European Oak beams and I would like to know what to finish them with they are have been drying out and cracks some large have appeared .. we don’t have heating in the room where they are at the moment but shortly will have…. How can I prevent any further cracking crevices from appearing ?…. What could I use to enhance the wood…. So much information out there and want to use the right information so as not to damage the wood…

  8. nick Says:

    Hi Catherine,

    The best way to help prevent Oak beams from cracking and splitting is to feed the wood with an oil or wax based product. I see in your question that you would like to ‘enhance the wood’. A product that will do all of these things is Osmo Polyx Oil. This will enhance the natural grain and colour of the timber while also feeding the wood with a blend of natural oils and waxes. A good way to see how the beams will look with the oil before purchasing is to wipe a section with a damp cloth or sponge, the appearance of the wood when damp is a good indication of what it will look like with the Polyx Oil on.

    If you prefer to keep the natural, untreated appearance of the wood but with the benefit of being protected, Osmo Polyx Oil Raw would be a good alternative.

    I hope the above helps and good luck with your project.

  9. nick Says:

    Hi Lauren,

    If you plan to keep the wood looking natural as in freshly sanded, the best product to use is going to be Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044. This product gives a matt finish so it’s not shiny and helps to keep the wood looking natural. Polyx Oils also have good resistance to heat and can be easily replenished with a fresh coat of oil if the wood starts to look like it is drying out. Simply apply 2 thin coats and allow to fully dry before exposing to heat.

    If you were to use a clear oil, it will darken the timber giving it a damp look and draw out the natural grain and colour of the Oak. Depending on the age and type of Oak, this could give the timber a golden or reddish appearance, not what you are looking for.

    As with any of the products we offer, always do a test area and follow the instructions on the tin.

  10. nick Says:

    Hi Stuart,

    A good combination for your weatherboarding, Oak door and Oak boarded wall, that will give good protection while allowing the timber to silver would be 2 coats of Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative in Clear, followed by 2 coats of Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment. The wood preserver will protect the wood from the biological threats such as mould, algae and insect attack while the Log Cabin Treatment offers protection against wind and rain. As neither the wood preserver or Log Cabin Treatment contain any UV filters, the timber will silver naturally.

    I would recommend the Log Cabin Treatment over using Tung Oil as although it is more expensive, it has better durability and will not require re-coating as often.

    If possible, it’s always a good idea to soak the end grain of the timber in the preservative so that it reaches saturation and then the same with the oil ones the preservative has fully dried (allow 48 hours) as it is normally the end grain that is most susceptible to the elements.

    As with any project – Always follow the manufacturers instructions on the tin and always do a test area first.

  11. Becca Says:

    Great, comprehensive article. – Just what I needed.
    Thank you !

  12. Becca Says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks again for all the info. I have one more question if that’s ok…

    I am building some shelving units in a bathroom and using a variety of oak floor boards. Most of the boards are untreated and previously unused, while a couple have had some kind of varnish or other treatment which I will sand down.

    Based on your article and answers above I thought I would begin with a clear wood preservative (because of the humidity and occasional splashed water in a bathroom) and then follow with either Osmo Polyx Oil Raw or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural as I want to keep the natural, pale colour of the wood.

    So my question is, in this situation will these two finishing products keep the natural look as you suggest, or will the preservative darken or warm up the colour?

    Or maybe clear wax polish would be suitable in this situation? I wouldn’t mind the maintenance, but I want something which will prevent too much staining from water.

    Thanks so much.

  13. nick Says:

    Hi Becca

    The best way to protect the wood from the damp conditions while retaining the natural sanded look is to apply 2 coats of Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative initially, followed by 2 coats of Osmo Polyx Oil Raw or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural.

    Where possible, try to treat all parts of the wood i.e. both sides, edges and especially the end grain. Although these products are touch dry within several hours, allow 24 to 48 hours drying time between coats of the preservative and 24 hours between coats of Osmo Polyx Oil Raw or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural.

    When applying the wood preservative, the colour of the wood will darken, giving a damp appearance, but will return to its natural look when the preservative has fully dried. The Polyx Oil Raw or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil should be applied thinly to keep the wood looking similar to the natural sanded look when dry.

    Wax Polishes can be used in these environments but is easily marked and stained by water splashes and spillages. We always recommend Polyx Oils or Hard Wax Oils in bathroom and kitchen areas in stead of waxes.

    Always do a test area before starting the main project and follow the instructions on the tin.

  14. Becca Says:

    I will do what you recommend.

    You are so generous with your time and your expertise! Thank you!

  15. Nicky Bramble Says:

    Hi, I wonder if you can offer some advice on looking after a huge, heavy, very old door made of oak?
    The door now hangs inside, opposite a large window, and has done for at least one hundred years, but it may have been used externally before that. It is several hundred years old and has not been touched for a long, long time – it looks dried out and uncared for. What would you recommend to care for it but retain it’s character?
    Thank you for any help you can offer.

  16. nick Says:

    Hi Nicky,

    Sounds Amazing. We would recommend Manns Liquid Beeswax Polish in this type of situation. This product comes as a custard/liquid beeswax consistency at normal room temperature, is easily applied with a brush, cloth or roller and dries within 15 minutes if applied as a thin coat. This will help to feed the wood and can be buffed if desired to produce a sheen.

    If your Oak door is exceptionally dry, it may take several thin applications over time for the wax to penetrate in to the timber of the door. The great thing with Manns Liquid Beeswax Polish is that it will not change the colour of the door.

    Always do a test area before embarking on any project to make sure that you’re happy with the results that the product gives.

  17. Rob Says:


    I’m looking to buy a dining table and have seen one I like with a solid oak top and oiled finish. Can I expect oiled oak to withstand the rigours of family life? In particular I’m concerned about food and red wine stains, toddlers banging the table, and regular cleaning as we’d be eating 3 meals a day at it.

    Thank you for any advice,


  18. Stefan Says:


    I have recently purchased some nice oak sleepers and was planning on cutting one and oiling this for a fireplace.

    Can you please suggest suitable treatment to get a nice finish for the fireplace.


  19. nick Says:

    Hi Rob

    Oiled finishes are perfect for Oak table tops. Products such as Osmo Polyx Oil and Fiddes Hard Wax Oil are stain, heat and liquid resistant. They are also easy to maintain and repair if the surface becomes worn, stained or scratched.

    When cleaning, avoid large quantities of water and harsh supermarket cleaners as these will degrade the oil finish quicker than if using a damp cloth and a specific wood surface cleaner such as Fiddes Wood Surface Cleaner or Osmo Wash and Care.

  20. nick Says:

    Hi Stefan,

    You can use an oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil to protect, feed and enhance the natural appearance of the timber. Both of these products will enhance the natural grain and colour of the wood. If you wish to keep the timber looking more like it does in its natural state but wish to add a slight sheen, you could use either Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish Clear Wax or Manns Beeswax Polish. Wood waxes are less durable than Hard Wax Oils but will not darken (give the wood a damp appearance) or enhance the natural colour of the timber.

    Always do a test area before embarking on any project to be sure that you are happy with the result that a product gives.

  21. Mary Says:

    We have an oak mezzanine ceiling which we oiled when we put in. We’d now like it to look lighter. Can we change it at this stage, through using a stripping product or sanding?
    Thank you!

  22. Gordon Says:

    I am having a new American White Oak staircase installed which will need treating. I want to retain the natural look as much as possible and do not want a high sheen finish.

    Can you suggest the best way to go about this and presume I will need to treat it with more that one coat. If so,what should I do between each coat prior to the finishing coat?

    The steps of the staircase will not need treating as I propose covering them with carpet.

  23. Karen Says:


    We bought an old door to use as a headboard. There is absolutely no paint on one side and is mainly grey, but the other has a faint bluish tint to it in places which works well with our wall color. It is rough to the touch. Is there something we should put on it to preserve it and maybe make it a little less rough on our pillows? However, we don’t want to compromise it’s current color, so willing to sacrifice pillows if needed.



  24. nick Says:

    Hi Mary,

    Sanding will probably be the best option to return the wood back to its pre-oiled colour. If you’re looking to retain the natural untreated or freshly sanded look which is lighter, consider Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. Both of these products offer a good level of protection while retaining the more natural look of the wood.

    If you would like to make the wood lighter by giving it a subtle or perhaps stronger white wash effect, it may be worth considering Osmo Polyx Oil Tints White 3040 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints White.

  25. nick Says:

    Hi Gordon,

    To retain the natural look of the White Oak consider using 2 thin coats of Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. Both of these products are designed to keep the wood looking as natural as possible while offering a good level of protection. Both products produce a Matt finish.

    Full details on how to apply these products can be found on the relevant product pages of our site.

  26. nick Says:

    Hi Karen,

    To retain the colour of the wood and provide a smoother finish, try Clear Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish. You may need to apply several layers to achieve a smoother surface. This product does become more shiny when buffed so you may find that the sheen level may increase over time where the pillows are in contact with the wood. The sheen can be taken down again by just applying a fresh layer of wax and not buffing it.

  27. Mary maidens Says:

    we have a solid oak kitchen table, how do we get the old polish off and start again.

  28. nick Says:

    Hi Mary,

    If the table has just wax or polish on it, try Manns Wax and Polish Remover. Alternatively, it can be sanded but the polish tends to clog up the sandpaper quickly meaning that you may need to use a fair amount of sandpaper to get back to bare wood.

  29. Steve Says:

    Hi Nick
    Brilliant website, thanks. We’ve bought an old oak front door from a reclamation yard and have now stripped the outer side back to bare wood with a combination of varnish remover followed by hard scraping with an edge of a scraper held at right-angles to the wood, then sanding – phew! The weather board at the bottom is still darker (presumably it got more rain in its former life) but we’re happy with that character.
    The door is in an enclosed (glassed in) porch, north-east facing, so won’t get any rain & almost no direct sun. We want to keep it looking as natural as possible with no shine, so I was concerned that the beeswax you suggested for Nicky might leave a sheen.
    Any suggestions gratefully received.
    Steve R

  30. nick Says:

    Hi Steve,

    The Beeswax Polish recommended to Nicky wouldn’t be suitable for your exterior door.

    For your door, i recommend 2 coats of Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative initially as this offers good protection against things such as mould, algae, dry rot and insect attack, conditions more associated with environments that receive less direct sun light and are therefore perhaps more damp. Although this product is ‘touch dry’ in just a couple of hours, allow a full 48 hours between coats and before applying an exterior wood oil.

    In terms of a top coat, consider Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra 420. Although one of its key points is that it offers UV resistance to wood that gets a lot of sun, which in this case isn’t required, it also offers great durability against general weathering and lasts well before needing any maintenance. It also dries to a Satin-Matt finish so has very little reflectivity in terms of sheen.

    Always do a test area and read the manufacturers instructions on the tin or container before starting any project.

  31. Gordon Harradine Says:

    We’ve recently purchased a pair of salvaged solid oak old church doors which we’ve scrubbed, repaired and sanded, and which are now looking lovely. We want to finish them with a soft, subtle sheen but one which will also protect them against the elements. We do not want to end up with a hard brittle shine. Any ideas please.

  32. nick Says:

    Hi Gordon,

    The best way to preserve and protect your church doors now that they have been cleaned and are back to bare wood is to first treat them with a preservative such as Barrettine Premier Clear Wood Preservative. This will protect the wood from biological threats such as mould, algae, dry rot and insect attack. For the best results, apply 2 coats of preservative allowing at least 24 to 48 hrs drying time between coats and before applying an oil.

    To protect the doors from the elements including wind, rain and sun, 2 coats of Osmo 420, UV Protection Oil Extra are recommended. This will enhance the natural grain and colour of the timber as well as darkening it slightly to give an almost damp, satin-matt finish.

    Always do a test area first and follow the manufacturers instructions on the tin.

  33. Nicola Says:

    Hi there,
    Wondering if you could help me. I bought a whole range of dining room, livingroom furniture about 2 years ago from the Cambridge Oak range from Next in the u.k. It is predominantly solid oak with oak veneer. Last week I bought one more piece from the range which has been changed to Cambridge Light. I presume this is white oak they are using now in the furniture range. I love the new piece and the lighter colour oak and was wondering what I could do to lighten the rest of my furniture. Two years ago when I bought it, next recommended treating the oak with tung oil. I applied a couple of coats of this without thinning it for the first few coats with white spirits which it stated on the back of the tung oil bottle. I used Liberon pure tung oil. The furniture has darkened an awful lot in just 2 years and has an orangey look to it and I am really disappointed as I paid a lot of money for the range. Was it because I did not thin down the first few coats of tung oil that caused it to darken so much and is there anything I can do to lighten it without making a mess of it and ruining it altogether. Would appreciate any help you can give me and sorry for the long post, thanks

  34. nick Says:

    Hi Nicola,

    Tung Oil, as with most types of wood oil, will darken the colour of the wood as well as bringing out the natural grain and colour of the timber. You should be able to remove most of the tung oil by wiping with white spirit which will break down and dissolve much of the oil, have plenty of dry rags to hand. a light sanding with a 120 grit sandpaper will then take you back to the bare wood. To keep the lighter appearance of the freshly sanded wood, consider 2 thin coats of Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. These will provide a good level of protection for your furniture while retaining the lighter colour of the freshly sanded wood.

    As with any project, Always do a small test area on a low visibility section, perhaps the underside or back edge to be sure that you are happy with the results.

  35. Cain Says:

    Hi Nick,

    Great tips on the website thanks :)

    We have just finished installing a new kitchen and our builder made us a Tasmanian Oak timber frame for the stone bench top. Like a lot of the comments here, I want to protect the frame as best I can but still retain the natural look of the wood. I would prefer a matte, non-oily finish and could tolerate a slight deepening in shade but want to keep the natural look as much as possible. Can you please recommend how to best go about this?

    I am in Australia so unsure if the same products are available here, but the types of products I need and how to apply them?

    Many thanks!

  36. nick Says:

    Hi Cain,

    It’s always nice to hear that the information we provide on the website and blog is appreciated :-)

    I believe that Tasmanian Oak has around the same density as many European Oaks so using a good quality wood oil is going to be a good option. Hard Wax Oils are available in a Matt finish and also dry completely so no ‘oily’ or ‘greasy’ surfaces. Using a standard clear oil will always darken the wood slightly giving it an almost ‘damp like’ appearance, it will also draw out the natural colour and grain of the timber which in some cases, can be very different from the bare wood appearance.

    A way of testing the appearance that a clear oil will give is to slightly dampen the wood with some water on a cloth or sponge. This gives a fairly good representation of how the wood will look oiled without actually applying oil. Once the wood dries from being dampened, it will return to its original untreated appearance.

    If you prefer to keep the wood looking more like it does in its natural state, consider Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044. This oil has been specifically designed to help maintain the ‘Raw’ appearance of timber while still offering the same level of protection as the standard clear Polyx Oil.

    Osmo have a distribution network in Australia. Osmo Australia can be contacted here.

    It might be worth getting a small tester pot to try the product out first.

    Always do a test area before starting any project.

  37. Ben Says:

    Hi nick.

    I Have recently installed some fresh sawn feather edge oak cladding on a building. It’s over a dwarf brick wall which is also dressed in lead.

    The issue we have had is that the tannin is running out of the oak and causing a massive amount of staining on the wall and lead which looks unsightly.

    Before I do another part of the building and suffer the same fate, i wondered if there was a way of preventing this and if so what product would you recommend? It won’t be easy to retreat so ideally something which is a one off treatment. Ideally I want to completely seal the oak so none of the tanning can escape. It’s only a very small area I have left so I am even considering painting this last bit of oak if necessary as it’s a completely separate part of the building but given access issues I definitely don’t want any of this staining.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you can give a d great website.


  38. Colleen Says:

    Hi Nick,
    We have the tavistock oak range of furniture, and have had our fish tank on the coffee table for a little while, I know bad move! Having so,d the fish tank we have been left with black water ad bar to the surface, although the black has seeped further into the wood and leaves an obvious fish tank outline. I have sanded it back and was going to bleach the black out. Was wondering what finish to use to keep it the same as the rest of the table. Any help would be great!

  39. Viv and Roy Says:

    Hi Nick, we live in a 1930s house with a solid oak front door which has become unevenly stained and faded and could do with a facelift. The ideal thing would be to remove the door to renovate it but from a security point of view this is not practical! Can it be cleaned and treated in situ? Have you any advice please?

  40. Jan Matejcik Says:

    Hello Nick,

    So happy to find your website!

    I’m considering buying a dining table off Craig’s List; originally purchased from Crate & Barrel, the Big Sur, it has a White Oak top and heart wood legs, very natural looking wood. The original owner has applied bees wax to the entire table considerably darkening the wood and changing the look of the table completely.

    Can this table be restored to its original looking wood, both the white oak top and the heart wood legs. It can be viewed on Crate & Barrel website. Thank you for any help you can offer.

  41. nick Says:

    Hi Ben,

    Tannin that runs from the Oak is unfortunately a common problem.

    I’m not aware of a full proof way of stopping this natural process i’m afraid. If you treat the wood with a wood preservative and then an exterior wood oil, it will go some way to reducing the Tannin flow but will not stop it completely. The alternative is an exterior wood varnish which may contain the Tannin better but can be problematic in future years. Exterior varnishes tend to crack and peel as they break down over the years, when this happens it can be a difficult process to fully remove the remaining varnish before re-coating.

    Aged or weathered wood is the best option as the Tannin has largely been removed naturally by the elements, the wood can then be coloured and oiled with a product like Osmo Natural Oil Woodtstain. This will protect and colour the timber but will still require maintenance in the form of a fresh coat every couple of years depending on the location of the structure.

  42. Lionel Says:

    Hi Nick,

    I am planning on using two, 3ft oak stumps as table legs for my dining room table. I have managed to get my hands in the oak but it is freshly cut. What would you recommend I do to take it from it freshly cut state, to being used in my kitchen as the table. Also would it be a good idea to take the bark off the tree prior to drying out or after.

    Kind regards

  43. Michelle Says:

    Hi, we bought an oak dining table from next but it has grease stains on it which I cannot remove. I tried to use washing up liquid but this did not remove the stain and has now lightened the area! Do you have any tips to remove grease stains, darken the lightened area and protect to avoid this in the future?

  44. caroline Says:

    Hi Nick

    Really helpful site.

    All of our interior doors are oiled with Danish oil. I wondered how frequently they should be re-oiled and how the doors need to be prepared for re-oiling.

    Many thanks


  45. nick Says:

    Hi Colleen,

    It’s likely that the black in the wood is mould or algae, the same as you would find on wood around taps, sinks, baths and other damp environments. Black marks created by mould or algae can’t always be removed by sanding alone and should be treated with Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner once it has been sanded to kill off the mould or algae. One treatment should be sufficient but a second can be done if required.

    In terms of re-finishing the table top, it depends on what product it was finished with originally. Do you know if it was a wood oil or varnish? You should be able to find out by contacting the manufacturer directly. Although you should be able to get a close match between the renovated table top and the rest of table, it can be difficult to get an exact match.

    When you’re ready to re-finish the surface, do a small test area first to make sure that you are happy with the results that the finish gives before going ahead with the main project.

    If you need any further assistance, feel free to contact us again via the blog or through the ‘contact us’ link on the main site.

    Good Luck.

  46. nick Says:

    Hi Viv and Roy,

    Although it’s easier to treat all areas of the door when it has been removed, it can be done in situ. To renovate thoroughly, the door should be sanded back to clean, bare wood. If the door still looks patchy and uneven in colour when sanded, try Osmo Wood Reviver Gel 6609, this will help to restore the colour of the timber and even out any patchy areas with the surrounding wood.

    Once the door has been stripped (and treated with Osmo Wood Reviver Gel if required), treat with 2 coats of a good quality clear wood preserver such as Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative or Ronseal Total Wood Preserver. You should allow at least 24 to 48 hours drying time between coats and then again before applying the final finish. The wood preservative will help to protect the wood from mould, dry rot and fungi while the top coat provides protection against the elements such as wind, rain and sun.

    If you’re looking for a clear product that is easy to apply and maintain, consider Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra 420. Apply 2 thin coats on top of the preservative when fully dry, working the oil in to the grain of the wood for the best results.

    Always follow the manufacturers instructions on the tin and do a small test area before starting any project.

  47. nick Says:

    Hi Jan,

    You should be able to easily remove the Beeswax Polish by using Manns Wax and Polish Remover and having lots of dry, clean, rags handy to mop up the dissolved wax.

    To test that all of the old Beeswax Polish has been removed, wipe over the surface of the wood with a damp (not wet) cloth, areas of the wood where the polish has been fully removed will darken as the moisture soaks into the wood, areas that still have polish present will not. Re-treat these areas again with the Wax and Polish remover and repeat the process until all traces of the polish have been removed. The dampened wood will return back to its natural colour as it dries.

    Once the old polish has been fully removed and the table is back to bare wood, consider either Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. Both of these products will provide excellent protection against liquid spillages, minor scuffs, knocks, scratches and day to day dust and dirt while retaining the natural colour of the wood.

    Always do a small test area before starting any project and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tin or container.

  48. nick Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Do you know what sort of finish the table top has? is it oiled or varnished? A way to find out is to put a couple of drops of Olive Oil or cooking oil on the corner, if after a couple of hours it has soaked into the wood and left a small stain its oiled, if however it remains on the surface as a bead of oil it has be varnished or sealed in some way.

    If the table has been oiled, it’s probably best to take the table top back to bare wood with a quality wax and polish remover. Once this has been done, you can re-oil the table top with a hard wax oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. Both of these products are easy to apply and maintain and provide excellent protection against liquid spillages, minor scratches and knocks.

    The clear versions of these products will give the wood a slightly darker ‘damp like’ appearance and will draw out the natural grain and colour of the timber. Once the table top has been stripped, you can use a damp cloth and wipe it over a peice of the wood, this will give a good indication of what the wood will look like when oiled. If you prefer to keep the wood looking as it does with nothing on, consider Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044 or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural.

    Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tin and do a small test area before starting any project.

  49. nick Says:

    Hi Caroline,

    It partly depends on environmental conditions such as how warm and dry a house is and the amount of wear and tear the doors are subjected to. It’s normally noticable when a door needs re-oiling by the appearance of dry looking or slightly discoloured patches.

    Preperation for re-oiling is straight forward. Simply clean the doors first with a slightly damp, lint free cloth such as a microfibre cloth and allow to dry before re-oiling. If the doors have picked up some minor marks, stains or scuffs, try cleaning with a dedicated wood cleaning product such as Fiddes Floor Surface Cleaner or Manns Wood Surface Cleaner. If the door has areas that have become more heavily stained, marked or scuffed (including minor scratches), these can be ‘lightly’ sanded with a 120 grit sandpaper before re-applying a fresh coat of Danish Oil.

  50. nick Says:

    Hi Lionel,

    The good thing with oak is that it can be worked green, this makes it much easier to work with and is how Oak framed buildings where made. In short, you can use them as they are but be aware they will shrink or expand at different rates so you may need to trim the base to re-level the table in the future. Oak is also prone to splitting as it drys but this shouldn’t affect the integrity of the logs, its just a natural process and gives a lovely aged look. I would remove the bark and test the moisture content, a content of around 16% is good for this type of work. Oak logs take a long time to season naturally, usually year’s rather than weeks or months depending on size. Kiln drying speeds this up but can increase splitting and still take months.

    An approach might be to make the table, pack it to stop wobbling as needed, then trim as required in about three years. The legs should have lovely rustic look just like an old oak framed building.

    Applying an interior wood oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil or a Quality Liquid Beeswax Polish wax will help to feed the timber and will help to reduce cracking and splitting.

    Hope this helps.

  51. Ben Says:


    I am refitting a bathroom for a client, the house is in a swiss style chalet, timber framed with large oak beams. In the bathroom, they are having a wet room type shower function and at about 7″ high in the centre of the shower is a large oak beam which potentially will be exposed to significant splash and steam from the shower. Is there anything I can treat it with to protect it from becoming damaged/discoloured?

  52. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Ben,

    Thank you for your enquiry, I can recommend a couple of products Osmo Wood Protector and Osmo Polyx Oil that will offer a good level of water repellency, but will not over a long period of time be completely water proof. The Osmo Wood Protector applied first will make the beam Water repellent but also prevent the wood from becoming dry and brittle in any heat. And then on top of that for a better repellency you should use the Osmo Polyx Oil. It is important to know that the Oil will need regular maintenance coats in order to maintain the water repellency as there is no product that will with stand the long term effects of getting wet or damp. These products will darken the wood slightly and you can get an idea of how much by wiping a damp cloth across the surface of the bare wood.

  53. Karen Says:


    Stripped an oak chest of drawers in caustic solution, it was very light in colour with a golden varnish.
    It came out of the tank very dark oak colour.
    Any ideas why this would happen and how it could be made light in colour again please?

  54. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Karen,

    This is a difficult situation to explain, but it is likely that the Caustic solution has, in effect, burnt the wood. It is generally recommended that Oak or Mahogany is not dipped or stripped using products containing such strong chemicals as the effect is as you have described, making it darker. The only real solution to this would be to Bleach the wood, which in itself can be a complicated process. Bleaching is not something that we deal with here at Wood Finishes Direct, but I can tell you that when doing it you really need to have a well ventilated area and protective masks should be worn. It is also imperative that clean brushes are used and no other chemicals or product come into contact with the bleaching process. I would recommend, that if you do go down the Bleaching route, that some time is spent looking into the process first. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

  55. Gail Says:

    Hello Nick,

    We have recently had thick pieces of oak installed in our conservatory, to replace a piece of upvc that runs around the side wall, acting as a shelf.

    We would like the retain the natural look of the wood, but would like to provide uv protection as it is a conservatory, and also to provide a water barrier from inevitable spills and drips from plant pots/ drinks.

    Would you recommend using Osmo UV Protection 420 extra?
    What would you recommend preserving the wood with underneath?

    Many thanks in advance,


  56. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Gail,

    You are on the right track, in terms of the product although I would not necessarily recommend the UV Protection Oil Extra because it contains some Biocides for protection against Mould and Mildew, and so is not suitable for indoor use. Instead if you use Osmo Wood Protector 4006 first this will prevent the wood from becoming dry and brittle and offer great water repellency. And then for the top coat use the UV Protection Oil 410 this will also give good levels of water repellency and help prevent the wood from fading to silver in the sun. If you find that the wood is particularly exposed then regular maintenance coats may be required. Both these products give good levels of Water Repellency, however if water is left standing i.e from spillages around plant pots, on the surface over long periods of time it will begin to mark or stain the wood. If this happens then just lightly sand back the marked area until it has gone and then re oil with the UV Protection Oil.

  57. Gail Says:

    Hello Sam,

    Many thanks for your thorough response.

    I will treat accordingly.

    All the best,


  58. Tony Gartshore Says:


    I was searching for advice on treating oak and came across this page.. Almost too much information :)

    We have a garden room with solid, light oak window sills which we need to treat, I was thinking of using Fiddes Hard Wax Oil, we don’t want to darken the tone down too much. There is no problem with condensation etc..

    We are also about to have a kitchen installed using a thicker version of the same light oak as a worktop.. Given that splashes etc around the sink will be unavoidable will the Fiddes alone be suffice or should I be looking at alternatives ?

  59. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tony,

    Thank you for your inquiry, the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil would be suitable for both projects, it is worth noting however that the Oil will darken the wood slightly. If you wipe a damp (not wet ) cloth across the surface of the bare wood you can get an idea of how much it will darken, if you find it is too much then there is an alternative and that is the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this product is designed to leave the wood looking as if there is no product on there at all but still offering good protection.

    With regards to the sink area, the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is water repellent but any standing water will stain if left for long periods of time. You can improve repellency by using the Osmo Wood Protector 4006 first. Hope this helps you to make a decision.

  60. Tony Gartshore Says:

    Thanks Sam,

    Very helpful, will get products ordered soon…


  61. Sue K Says:

    We have had two oak posts erected externally in our new porch area. How do we protect them from the weather whilst maintaining the lovely natural colour and finish of the wood?

  62. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    hello Sue,

    We always recommend that you use a Preservative first, for any external project. Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative in a Clear Finish, this will protect against Mould, mildew, wood boring insect and much more. Then for a top coat product to keep the wood water repellent and help prevent against fading and silvering in the sun, Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra is an ideal product to use. Both these products are clear but the Oil will darken the wood slightly when applied. You can get an idea of how much by wiping a Damp ( not wet ) cloth on the bare wood.

  63. Wendy Says:

    We’ve had an pergola erected in the garden a few weeks ago. The oak was already black in places before it was erected. We are about to have it bleached with oxalic acid to remove the black marks. It is south facing and we want it to develop a silver hue over time. We had understood that this is best achieved by leaving it alone and not applying any products (advice given by a company displaying oak benches and tables at the Chelsea Flower Show) Once the pergola is bleached following the application of oxalic acid what is to stop it blackening going forward? Do we need to apply products to prevent further blackening occurring and if so how do we best achieve a mature silvery hue and not change the colour of the oak?

    Any advice on what to do or not to do would be gratefully received! Many thanks in advance! Wendy

  64. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Wendy,

    Once you have managed to deal with the Black marks, you can just use a clear preservative such as Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative this will protect the wood from mould, mildew, rot and much more. It will not however protect against the effects of the sun, which is what causes the wood to naturally silver. You may want to put a top coat of Oil on to give the wood some water repellency, but one with no UV Protection in it such as the Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment is the best option. But you would need to retreat every few years (dependant on the weather ) with the Oil, or with the preservative if you don’t use the Oil. Hope this helps -Sam

  65. Martina Keep Says:

    Hi there, I’ve came across the site and hoping you can help!

    In November last year we had some oak weatherboarding applied to each end of our property. For the first few months it looked great but fast forward to today and the oak has all dark marks appearing and has prominent cracks appearing, to say we are upset is an understatement! We were never told anything by the Chippie who applied the oak on how to clean, protect it etc

    We don’t really have the budget to replace the wetter boarding so am wondering on what we can do to firstly get rid of the black marks and clean it, protect it from happening again and also what we can do to protect it from cracking. I understand that this happens with timber, but not after a few months!

    Any help on what we can do would be much appreciated.



  66. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Martina,

    The first question to ask is if you know whether the boarding has any treatment on, it sounds like it doesn’t. And because of this you have what is possibly Black Mould that is a result of Water ingress. To treat this you could use Barretttine Mould and Mildew Cleaner and then I would recommend a full treatment with Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative as this will protect against mould, mildew, wood boring insects and much more. Then a top coat of Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra , this will nourish and protect the wood. It will not get rid of the cracks as such, you may want to fill those but it will improve the look of the wood and prevent any further silvering. You can do a maintenance coat of the Oil when you feel it needs it in years to come with out having to worry about removing the previous treatment.

  67. Martina Keep Says:

    Hi Sam, thanks for your feedback.

    You are correct the weatherboard hasn’t been treated.

    We are happy for the oak to turn silvery as time goes on, we just want to protect it for the black marks and cracks, so would we still need the osmo-uv-protection oil?

    Ultimately we want the oak to remain in good condition for many years to come but are happy for it to take the silvery effect. So anything you can suggest would be much appreciated



  68. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Martina,
    As you are happy for the natural silvering to occur I would still suggest using an Oil after the Preservative, the preservative can be used as a stand alone product with regular maintenance will keep the wood protected, but for the best level of protection for your wood I would still recommend applying an Oil as this will make the wood water repellent. By keeping the wood as water repellent as possible you will avoid that black mould from re appearing at a later date.

    The Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment is a good cost effective product that doesn’t have UV protection in it.

  69. Jon Says:

    Hi, I am making two adirondack chairs out of English oak for the patio. Thanks for your article on finishing which has given me confidence about the tannin staining.
    Could you advise if special care needs to be given to any knots in the timber? I can try and avoid any when cutting but there may be some I cant avoid.
    Thanks, Jon

  70. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jon,

    If you are worried about the knots weeping Tannin we do a Sealer called Manns Shellac Sanding Sealer ,you can use this one if you intend to Varnish your chairs, this product can be used to seal knots and in fill minor scratches, it will help to prevent Tannin staining. If however you are planning to use an Oil to finish the Oak then it is not advisable to use the Shellac Sealer as it will prevent the Oil from being absorbed. Hope that helps – Sam

  71. Justine Lewis Says:

    Hi there – I have an untreated oak sideboard and actually want it to develop that slightly blackened/greyed look that oak gets when left outside – short of leaving it out in the rain can you help please? Failing that will leaving it out in the rain work and for how long!
    Many thanks

  72. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Justine,

    It would not be wise to leave the sideboard out in the rain, it may achieve the desired colour after a time but the wood will get damaged, warped and effected by mould and mildew. I would recommend trying a stain to achieve the desired colour. You could try the Manns Oak Woodstain in a watered down Ebony. If this is too dark it would be worth trying the Manns Pine Wood Stain in Driftwood. Both these stains are water based and so could have water added to lighten the colour and then you would need to seal both these products with a Varnish or Hard wax Oil, and it is worth noting that this will darken the colour as well. It may take a little bit of experimenting and test areas to get the right finish but it is achievable. Hope this helps.

  73. Mary Says:

    Hi Nick,
    I have a lovely golden oak kitchen with surface mounted hinges. I want to remove these but the wood underneath is darker due to the sun & time. How do I remove these darker marks where the hinges have been?
    Thank you

  74. Sarah malone Says:

    Hi there,
    We recently fitted oak work tops in our kitchen, we had them pre treated before they arrived, we have found that if they are getting wet the area is going pale and rough in texture, any idea why this is? In addition anything wet leaves a mark even if it’s cold. We have only fitted them a couple of weeks ago and Have sanded and are oiling regularly with sadolin. Any tips really appreciated, could the roughness when water spilt be indicative off poor quality.
    Thank you Sarah

  75. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mary,

    It will be easier for you to bring the lighter part of the wood up to match the dark area of your wood. It can be tricky to lighten wood and difficult to get the colour that you wish to achieve. Using a Stain such as Manns Oak Wood Stain and top coat finishing product you can bring your wood up to the original colour. I hope this helps.

  76. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Sarah,

    This is a fairly common query which points to insufficient oiling. Wood that doesn’t have enough oil in the surface is not water repellent or durable enough. An oil test will help you gauge how much oil is in the wood and whether the wood is still ‘thirsty’. Any oil can be used but most require 3-5 initial coatings plus a fresh coat every 3-6 months approx. Hard wax oils such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil are better because you only need 2 initial coatings with a fresh coat every 1-2 years approx. The downside is they cost more. Back to the ‘oil test’ then… It involves oiling the wood (ensuring oil is well worked in using thin applications). You can then drop some more oil on to test areas and wait an hour or so to see what happens. If the oil starts to sink in the wood is still thirsty, if the oils beads (like water on glass) then the wood is well oiled. In short your wood will never be sufficiently protected until you have a successful ‘oil test’. It is also important that you don’t ‘over oil’ your wood as excess oil forms a skin that is easily marked. Well worked in and thin applications is the order of the day.

  77. Philip Davies Says:

    My pal has planed off the drawer fronts of an oak map cabinet,but has been unable to remove the patchy appearance of the material. He wants a consistent golden finish. At present it looks as if it has been very unevenly sanded. Possibly this due to either the penetration of the original dark finish or spalting. I suggested either liming paste or failing that going over with a blowtorch! But do you have any advice?
    Apologies if you have dealt with this already. Thanks in anticipation
    Philip Davies

  78. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Philip,
    Its difficult to give a definitive answer on this one with out seeing the cabinet itself, but if there is some previous product left on there that is causing the staining then you may need to try a removal product such as Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover or spend some more time sanding the surface. If you would like to send some photos in to us at helpme@wood-finishes-direct.com so we can a better idea of how to advise you that would be great.

    Kind Regards

  79. Jessica Says:

    Great information on this site, thanks for sharing. We are looking at adding an oak cabinet to our existing oak kitchen. Our cabinets are 15+ years old and want to make sure everything comes together properly. We have been given lots of advise but it is contradicting. We matched our existing cabinet door in a show room to “natural oak”. The cabinet came in but is brown compared to my existing. We then discovered that the sample in the show room is aged and not what we were to expect. Cabinet manager tells me to wait 1-1.5 years and allow the cabinet to age naturally, other professionals tell me that they need to do a custom stain match and apply that. I want to go the right way, this is too expensive to just guess. I can send a picture of the colour difference if you would like to see.


  80. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jessica,

    In truth both options are correct, you can wait for it to age naturally , although in the mean time your current cabinets will also continue to age. Or you can try to colour match by staining, which could involve a little experimentation with some water based stains ( which are easy to remove if wrong )

    It is also true to say that it very difficult to match up two woods, even if they are from the same type of tree, they can still be very different in colour and grain.

    If you would like to send in some photos to our email address helpme@wood-finishes-direct.com and one of our experts can take a proper look and offer some more advice.

  81. Sam Says:


    I bought a furniture set for our living room about 5 years ago which I believe is white oak with a natural waxed finish which I love. We have been looking to add a small sideboard to the room but unfortunately the company we originally bought our furniture from no longer exists. I have been looking for over a year to get a sideboard which matches the colour of the rest of our furniture and have in fact bought 2 or 3 but they are always too dark. I can’t find anywhere that does waxed light oak leaving it in its natural colour.

    We have just bought another sideboard and again it’s too dark – I assume it has been varnished/oiled. I’m wondering if I can treat the wood to get it to a more similar colour to our old furnture? If I sanded it down would the natural wood be lighter in colour and then could I wax it?

    Thank you for your help,


  82. Chloe Says:

    We are currently building a workshop store designed to have oak cladding and timber side hung double doors. The elevation gets the weather with rain and wind and full sun for most of the day. The cladding planned is European rough sawn feather edge oak which we would like to weather naturally to silver. Would you advise any kind of treatment given the south westerly elevation? Our other query is the doors which is planned to be European air dried oak (planed vertical panels) – we would like these to be in keeping with the cladding in terms of appearance and natural weathering. We have seen examples of similar buildings where the cladding has a natural appearance but the doors look golden/orange from a treatment and this is what we want to avoid. We would be grateful for any advice you can offer.


  83. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Good Morning Chloe,

    There are two products that I would recommend for both your cladding and for the doors. The first is the Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative it comes in a clear finish and will protect your wood against mould, mildew, wet and dry rot and wood boring insects. Once this has dried I would recommend the top coat product you use is the Log Cabin treatment as this doesn’t have the UV protection and so will allow the wood to silver naturally over time whilst still offering good quality weather resistance. These two products combined will give you a really good level of protection whilst still achieving the type of finish that you require. The doors may silver at a slightly different rate to the cladding due to the difference in the woods but inevitably both will reach that natural finish. And we would love to see some photos if you have time – many thanks Sam

  84. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Sam,

    Colour matching is such a difficult thing to do in our business, even with two woods the same such as Oak, there are so many factors that could make it difficult to get the colour you want. A tighter or looser grain will have an impact, where the wood came from and which part of the trunk the cut is from will all affect the final colour achieved when applying a stain or treatment.

    Having said all that it is not entirely impossible, with a little bit of patience and experimentation, to get a very close match. Once stripped back to bare wood have a look at the Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish first and see if there is a colour in that range that you could use. Or alternatively the Manns Oak Wood Stain can be good to achieve the right colour. Remembering that a top coat product such as a Varnish or Oil will darken the stain as well.

  85. Hannah Says:


    I am using some planed oak (European) to make a sort of shelf to sit on top of a wall in our garden (if you imagine something a bit like a window cill).

    Is the best way of treating this wood to keep it looking natural for as long as possible (i.e. non silver and non-blackened) what you outline in the article, i.e. 1 coat of clear wood preservative followed by 2 coats of Osmo UV Protection oil 420 extra; or would there be something more suitable for wood which is inevitably going to have some water sitting on it (unlike a door where the water would more easily run off)?

    In terms of colour choice, to keep it natural as possible should the oil be clear as well as the preservative?

    And finally, how often would we need to re-treat it?

    Many thanks

  86. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Hannah,

    Osmo do not recommend using the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra on a horizontal surfaces, although we have had customers who have done so successfully. You would probably be better considering a Decking Oils although many of these only come in a 5 Litre tins which may be too much for you. One other alternative would be the Fiddes Exterior High Build Wood Oil which comes in a 1 Litre tin if this is more appropriate. You are right to use the Preservative first and then finish with the Oil, they are all available in clear finishes but it is worth noting that any Oil will darken the wood slightly. Maintenance coats should only need to be done every couple of years ( dependent on use and extreme weather ) hope that this helps and if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask.

  87. Hannah Says:

    Hi Sam,
    Thank you very much. It looks like the current price of Decking Oils and Fiddes Oil is approximately the same price at the moment – in which case which would you better recommend?
    Many thanks!

  88. Siri Says:

    I have just bought an interior oak dining table that we are putting outside in the garden. I want to know what to treat the table with to fully protect it, also tannin seems to be leaking from the table on to the patio, can I stop this?
    I want the table to look as natural and pale as possible, are there any treatments that keep the wood like this as I hate the look of darker/yellow wood? Thankyou for your help :)

  89. Helen Says:

    Hi Sam,
    We have bought some green oak sleepers to use as a small (approx 80cm) retaining wall, we plan to use halfs as up rights dug into the ground.

    We have been told that there is no need to treat them but after reading through all the posts and replies it would seem foolish not to treat these to protect against the mould and rot mentioned by other outdoor users! Would the barretine wood preserved be best for this?

    Although I bought them with the intention of them silvering now they are here I would like to keep the blonde look! Typical! I see you have recommended the osmo uv protection to others for this effect and would this need to be continually applied, say each year?

    Also I will just mention that they will be in afternoon sun and the soil here is quite a high clay content so quite moist!

    Cheers in advance!!

  90. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Siri,

    Thank you for your inquiry, it is fair to say that tannin is in all woods and generally speaking the newer the wood ( in terms of when it was cut from the tree ) the more it will have and is more likely to leak out. But also sunshine and and moisture can cause the tannin to come out. You haven’t said that there is any product on the table currently so I will assume that it is bare wood and if that is the case then you should start by wiping over the wood with white spirit to clean and de grease. If there is any stains or marks as a result of the leakage you will need to sand these area back.

    For the products that I would advise that you use , assuming the table is bare wood, a good preservative such as Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative this will protect against mould, mildew, rot and wood boring insects. It comes in a clear finish which may darken the wood very slightly, but more often than not will not alter the look. You will then need a top coat Oil based product such as Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra this will definitely darken the wood slightly as all Oils will do, but it is a clear finish that will enhance the finish of the wood. However if you are able to wait a little while then Osmo are bringing out a product that is designed to leave the wood looking as natural as if it has no product on, but still with a high level of protection. You should always do a test area to ensure that you like the finishes of these products. i hope this helps – Sam

  91. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Helen,

    As you haven’t yet put the sleepers in situ it would be worth treating them to help prolong their live. Getting as much preservative into the wood is only going to be a good thing and if you where able to stand the sleepers in a tub of the preservative for a while in order for the wood to soak it up this would be a good option. If this isn’t possible then a number of applications would be advisable. The Premier Wood Preservative will give protection against mould, mildew, rot and wood boring insects for a good few years, but obviously once in the ground you will not be able to treat the bottoms again.

    You can however treat the exposed areas and once the preservative is done you need to apply the Top Oil, the UV Protection Oil Extra that you asked about is exactly the right product for this and you can simply add maintenance coats yearly or Bi yearly when you feel that the sleepers need it. At about the 8/10 year stage you may want to strip the oil off and re coat with preservative. We would love to see some photos of the completed project if you get a chance to send some in to helpme@wood-finishes-direct.com

  92. Helen Says:

    Thanks Sam!

    All ordered so will get the soaking process underway whilst we finish digging, I will be sure to send some photos!

    Cheers for your help

  93. Gail Sinito Says:

    We steel woolen our oak table and finished it with Old English stain and scratch remover. After a week, it is still seeping out of the grain.
    We use this table every day. Is ther something we can finish it with that would be better? The table is 20 years old mad by the Amish
    Gail sinito

  94. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Gail,

    I am not sure about the scratch remover as I have not heard of this being used to protect a table before. If you could give me a bit more information about this product and what it contains, then I would be able to advise you correctly. If you are able to strip the table back to bare wood then I would advice using a Hard Wax Oil product such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints this is a colour and protection in one product. And can easily be maintained by adding coats or patch repaired. Thank you for your inquiry.

  95. Sarah Clarke Says:

    Hi Sam,

    We are in the middle of converting a barn and so now the high old beams will appear in bedrooms and I am wondering how to clean them. My main concern is what to do about the shakes (the horizontal gaps in the wood – don’t know if I’ve used the right word!). They have a lot of dust and debris in them. Can I fill them with something or would it be better to leave them as they are? I thought I would gently clean the beams with a duster and damp cloth and then beeswax them but I’m not sure how to clean out the shakes.

    Thanks for your help!


  96. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for your inquiry. ‘Shakes’ is the right term for those horizontal gaps in the beams. If you can find a long bristled soft brush to get as much of the dust and debris out as possible and then filling the gaps will be down to personal preference. Many people do like the character that they add to the beams and leave them unfilled. But I guess it will depend on the overall look of the room, that you are trying to achieve.If you do decide to use a filler you may need to build it up in layers if some of the gaps are quite big. A good filler to use would be the Osmo Wood Filler or the Bona Mix and Fill The only thing to watch out for is if you do leave them and apply beeswax, just have a cloth or brush handy to remove the build up of wax that can leave a white residue that can build up in the cracks and crevices. And of course we would love to see some photo if you get a chance, you can send them to helpme@wood-finishes-direct.com

  97. Sarah Clarke Says:

    Thanks for the advice, Sam!

  98. lee flint Says:

    good evening i rubbed down all my oak window frames to remove the o;d brown stain just sand paper and hard work no chemicals but now i just want a clear light golden Finnish but every time i put on a osmo oil or varnish the wood turns very dark.i also bleached one window frame but still the same effect when applying a product is there anything out there that will not change the colour from a light golden colour to a dark stain many thanks mr lee flint

  99. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mr Flint,

    There is a product that is designed to keep the wood looking as Natural as possible called Osmo Polyx Oil Raw if you have a wood that’s Natural colour is particularly affected by oil, there may still be some minimal darkening, but this is the best product to use. Always do a test area first.

  100. Jamie Tully Says:

    Hi Sam

    I have purchased some untreated planks of European Oak to make the uprights to shelf units (indoors) and want to keep them as natural as possible.

    It looks like a clear wax is possibly the answer, I have some Autentico Furniture Wax in the garage, but not sure this is suitable.

    Considering the outlay for the oak I want to protect it best I can and would rather spend a little more to treat it correctly.

    Many Thanks – Jamie

  101. matt Says:

    hello sam

    i am a builder and the architect has specified a no. of european oak feature walls externally.
    he does not want a shiplapped or weatherboard look so i was thinking of using an engineered floorboard with a 6mm oak veneer and then sealing it with an oil based marine varnish, do you have any advice on this.
    thank you in advance.


  102. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jamie,

    A Wax will give it great natural finish and minimal protection. But you might want to consider a Fiddes Natural this is a hard wax oil that will give more protection than the wax and still leave a Natural look to your wood. And a little will go a long way as it has to be applied thinly.

  103. Jamie Tully Says:

    Hi Sam

    Thanks for reply, I added your suggestion to my basket, but before I complete can I ask one more question. I have used pine planks about 20mm x 200mm for the horizontals and found in the past they have over time warped across the width to kind of curl. Can treating stop this?

    Dont want to postage costs, so if this is treatable I can order at the same time.

    Thanks for your time


  104. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Matt,

    I had a word with some of my colleagues about this one and we all agree that this would not be a viable option that we would recommend. We believe de-lamination would occur sooner rather than later and would not provide adequate protection. It is difficult for us to advise you on this as we are not specialist in cladding or external features, but rather the best finishing products to use. It has been suggested however that you would be better off using solid Oak tongue and groove, that should be treated with a good quality finishing product on both sides before installing. We would recommend the Sadolin Quick Drying Wood Preserver as a first coat protective treatment and then a product such as Sadolin Classic Wood Protection followed by Sadolin Extra Durable Clearcoat Sadolin produce the best exterior varnish due to its flexibility and durability. Hope this helps – Sam

  105. Richard Says:

    Hi Sam
    15 years ago, in return for a donation to the charity, the Woodland Trust provided a bench in memory of my belated parents which was sited in woodland in Yorkshire. It was made from a recently felled oak, and was or rustic design, with the both the seat and backrest sawn about 4″ thick from the trunk. The planks retained the sapwood and bark on each edge. On each pilgrimage to the bench, the family lovingly applied oil, but this has done little to stop the sapwood rotting out (the heart is still sound) and the bench needs replacing. If we replace “like for like”, what is the best way to treat a bench made from unseasoned wood.
    Thanking you in anticipation. Richard.

  106. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for your inquiry, because the wood is new it will have a high moisture content and so is unlikely to take a protective product such as an Oil or varnish initially . What I would recommend is to use the Premier Wood preservative for a couple of years until the wood has weathered more and able to take a product such as Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra which is durable hard wearing product. It would need a maintenance coat every 2/3 years dependent on weathering and general wear and tear. Hope this helps – Sam.

  107. Tom McG Says:

    Dear Sam/ Nick,
    Thank you for this extremely useful advice on oak finishes. It has been a pleasure to read!
    I am an architect and we are specifying a lot of high-quality external joinery in European Oak and Oak glulam for a big project in Cambridge. We would like all the oak to be pre-weathered or bleached so that it has the silvery weathered appearance from day one. Research has led us to an American product called Cabot Bleaching Oil but they will not ship this from the US to the UK. Therefore we need to find an available alternative.
    Are you aware of products that may be suitable? Ideally we would find something that does not require ‘staining’ the oak grey to achieve the weathered appearance. The Contractor has suggested Osmo Natural Oil Wood Stain (silver grey 905) but it would be good to find a ‘bleaching’ product.
    Would the 1 coat clear wood preservative and 3-5 coats tung oil be suitable?
    Many thanks for your help.

  108. lydia Says:

    Can you please help me. We have just had a modern kitchen fitted the oak worktops were the perfect colour. Now my husband has oiled them the colour is far too dark and dates the kitchen, plus no longer matches the floor. What can we do to restore and preserve the untreated colour? Please please help is it too late ?

  109. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lydia,

    The Oil that you have applied can be removed using Osmo Brush Cleaner and Remover. You may need to do some light sanding as well but a majority will come off with a good scrub, using some finishing pads and then you could apply a product such as Osmo Top Oil Natural this is still a protective Oil but is design not to darken the wood as much.You should always do a test area first to ensure that you like the finished effect. Hope this helps and you get the finish you are looking for.

  110. lydia Says:

    Thank u so much :-)

  111. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tom,

    My apologies in the delay in getting back to you, I have been speaking to our wood finishing expert Merv about this one as its not something I know a lot about. Here at WFD we don’t do any bleaching products or really encourage people to use them, but merely to allow the natural weather process to occur, if you would like that silvered effect. You can do this by using a clear product that doesn’t have UV filters in it such as the Osmo Decking Oil. And I would recommend using the Premier Wood Preservative as a first coat treatment before the Decking Oil I appreciate that in your case you may not have the time to be able to do this and as suggested the Osmo Natural Oil Wood Stain 905 will be the closest finish that we would recommend. You should do a test area as I’m sure you are aware different woods will take have an effect of the final colour that is achieved. I hope that your are able to get the look you require.

  112. Katina Brum Says:

    Hoping someone will have the answer! Just sandblasted the black paint of our 500yearold oak wall & ceiling beams. Oak very dry and old woodworm holes. How can I feed and what with? Not looking to change colour of wood, just make it look healthy and not so dry. Thanks

  113. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Katina,

    A good quality Wax such as Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish this is an ideal choice for nourishing and and restoring character to your beams. It comes in a clear finish or colour and is very easy to apply. Stockinette is the ideal cloth to apply with and if you apply sparingly allowing 10 mins for the Wax to dry, you can then buff to a required shine.

  114. Paul Says:

    Hi Sam
    I am having three exterior oak doors made and have been looking for the right product to treat them with.I want to keep them as natural as possible but don’t want them to go black or silver.Having read all the advice I had decided on 2 coats of Barrettine clear wood preservative followed by 2coats of osmo uv protection oil 420 extra but In a reply posted on Jan 30th you suggest that osmo uv oil should not be used inside as it contains biocides so do I have to treat the inside of the door differently to the out side thanks Paul.

  115. Susan Says:

    I have a modern oak table, but i have a couple of small patches where the varnish has been lifted, how can i repair this?

  116. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Good Morning Paul,

    We can not recommend that you use the UV Protection Oil Extra inside because of the Biocides, we do however have many customers who do so anyway. The alternative product for the internal side of the door is the Osmo Polyx Oil this will give the same finish as the UV Protection Oil. It is worth noting that these two products will darken the wood slightly, if you wipe a damp cloth on the surface of the bare wood, that will give you an indication of how much. If you would like a product that darkens less you could consider Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra Natural and the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw these will give the same level of protection but will not darken the wood as much if at all.

  117. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Susan,

    We would normally recommend that you remove the remaining varnish and start again with a fresh treatment. The main reason for this is that once the seal of the varnish is broken it leaves the wood underneath and the remaining varnish vulnerable. If you don’t wish to do this is it possible to repair the damaged areas and we have a good blog all about varnish repairs on flooring but the principle will be the same for your table http://www.wood-finishes-direct.com/blog/wood-flooring-varnish-repair/ I hope this helps and if you have any more questions please let me know – Sam

  118. Paul Says:

    Hi Sam
    Thanks for your advice,I am going wait until the doors arrive and then try the damp cloth be for I decide. Paul

  119. Jon Says:

    Hi, I’ve just finished two English oak Adirondack chairs with a preservative coat and two coats of Osmo 425 UV clear finish. I used a brushing technique rather than a roller or cloth.

    They look great and I’m really confident about the preservation qualities but, in places, the finish is almost glossy and I am hoping for more of a soft sheen.

    Is there an application technique that would achieve the desired finish?

    Thanks very much,


  120. Kathryn Fitzgerald Says:

    I have bought some oak poles to use as a banister……how do you suggest I treat them?
    Would just a clear wax be suitable?

  121. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Kathryn,

    Thank you for you inquiry. The Fiddes Supremem Wax Polish would be an ideal product to finish your spindles in.

  122. Bex Says:

    Hi, I made a sign for a customer out of solid air dried oak. Since mounting it has bled an orange stain down their white wall when it rains and they aren’t very happy obviously. I’ve never seen this problem before; could the oak have leached colour out? Or is the varnish faulty in some way possibly? It only had a very light coat of spray varnish as they wanted a natural look. Thanks I am at a loss and have had to refund but don’t want this issue again for future pieces.

  123. Mike Orpwood Says:

    Excellent advice being given on your blog. Could you advise me as to whether
    European light oak would be a suitable wood to use on a set of exterior, west facing doors? We want to have them made in Georgian window style but have been told that oak can. ‘move’. We do not wish to have doors that will warp and/or twist in years to come. Would appreciate your input as you seem to know your woods.
    Thanks, Mike Orpwood (Southend-on-Sea, Essex)

  124. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Bex,

    I’m sorry to hear about the problem that you have had. It would be difficult for me to give an answer without seeing the problem. If you are able to send a photo to wood@finishes.direct we can take a look for you. It does sound like tannins leaking from the wood and it would be good to know what product you used on the sign – Sam

  125. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mike,

    It is true to say that Oak would not be the best option, for the reasons that you have talked about. It is known to ‘move’ over time, some people like this and choose to use Oak for the ‘Rustic’ look that can be achieved with it.
    And so we would recommend a hard, tropical wood such as Teak or Sapele, these will naturally be rich in Oil and would need to weather a little before treatment can be applied. But they will not move or warp in the same way that Oak does. I hope that helps and we would love to see the progress of your project, if you would like to send us any photos you can do so to wood@finishes.direct

  126. Fran Says:

    Hi, I have just had all my internal doors, door linings and architrave replaced with solid oak in my house which I was so pleased with but came home today to find that my builder has somehow managed to use a natural oak satin varnish instead of clear so I am now left with shiny too dark oak everywhere instead of the lighter natural finish I wanted. I am distraught! Is there anything I can do!?? Grateful for any advice please. Thanks so much.

  127. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Fran,

    Firstly it is worth noting that even a clear varnish will darken the wood slightly, you can get an idea of how much by wiping a damp ( not wet ) cloth onto the bare wood. So deciding if the difference is significant enough may be the first consideration.

    Then if you do decide to proceed there are a couple of products that can be used to remove varnish, the first and quickest would be the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover which is a gel like substance that will make the varnish bubble so that you can scrap it off. The second product which is perhaps less messy but takes a while is the Barrettine Peelaway 7 this one is a poultice that you leave on for 24/ 48 hours and then peel off, bringing away the varnish with it. I would strongly recommend a test area first with whichever of these products you decided to use.

    And for a totally natural finish that protects the wood but leaves it unchanged take a look at Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural

  128. lorraine Says:

    Hi there
    We are looking at putting in two chunky pillars/posts on a porch and would like to use oak. is the maintenance on this difficult/expensive being external or should we be looking at a different timber that is better weathering? any advice?
    many thanks

  129. Angela Giveon Says:

    Hi there, the frontage of my listed house is reputed to be of old oak ship beams installed by a ships captain, the very first owner of the property.
    My neighbours have been complaining that the beams look dried out and tatry and are no longer black. My neighbour has suggested that I get the beams painted black, but my friend a retired furniture antique dealer said that under no circumstances should I use ordinary black paint but a blackened oil product.
    I am at my wits end, could you please suggest a product that will not dry out my old exterior oak beams but will nourish and weather seal them, I am bewildered as to what to use.
    Your help would be gratefully appreciated,
    Thank you

  130. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Good Morning Angela,

    Thank you for your inquiry, worry not I can recommend some products for you. Your friend the Antique dealer is right. The first thing that you need to do is remove or work out if there is any old product left on the wood. If you have had paint or varnish on there previously you will need to remove it, as it will prevent an Oil that you use from soaking in. If the Beams haven’t been treated for a while this should be easy enough.

    The first thing that you will need to do is use a Preserver the Cuprinol Exterior Wood Preserver comes in a black finish so would be ideal to use under a Black top coat product such as Natural Oil Woodstain in Ebony. Because it is an Oil based product it soaks into the surface of the wood and is Microporous. It will not peel and flake over time and will nourish the wood. For maintenance you just need to do fresh coats every few years when you feel the wood needs it. I hope that answers your question and if you have any more please feel free to ask. If you would like a different finish i.e clear/natural let me know and I will recommend the right products for you, and we would love to see some before and after pictures if you are able to send some the email is wood@finishes.direct

  131. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lorriane,

    It will not be difficult to maintain at all. The trick to keeping your wood looking good is too ensure that you regularly treat when it is needed and don’t wait until the wood is looking old and tired.

    As you are working with bare wood (wood that has no product on ) the first thing to do is apply a Preservative Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative comes in a clear or coloured finish and will protect against mould, mildew, rot and more.

    Then a top coat product that is Oil based to give UV protection and makes the wood water repellent. A Decking Oil would be suitable for this and generally the darker the colour the more UV protection you will get. However if you would like a clear or natural finish then use the Premier Wood Preservative in Clear and then Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra it is the best Oil for you to use.

    Maintenance coats will need to be done every couple of years depending on the weather over the years. You will just need to make sure the wood is clean and dry and then you can add a maintenance coat of the Oil on the top of previous products without any fuss. I hope that helps and if you have any more questions just let me know – Sam

  132. Lee Says:


    I am considering building a garden pergola out of European green oak. I had assumed to leave it untreated and that it would gradually silver. However I read that it could turn black before silvering. Is that generally a big issue, or a short term thing? Are things like oak fences and posts usually treated in some way, or just left to go black and then silver?

    Thanks for your help


  133. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lee,

    Thank you for your inquiry. If any external wood turns black or has any black patches, speckles or marks it is usually a mould forming as a result of water ingress. To avoid this you can use a preservative that will prevent mould, mildew, algea, rot and more. Barretttine Premier Wood Preservative comes in a clear finish and doesn’t have UV Filters in it, so you will still get that silvering effect without any blackening, and your wood will be protected.

  134. Chris Says:

    We brought 6 light Oak garden chairs 9 months ago and put the togeather and out in the garden about 3 months ago.They had some sort of coating on them but it appears that it is slowly washing off in the wet weather.I am going to Rub them down and need advise what to treat them with so they are weather protected but still look naturaul.can you advise us on the best treatments so they last
    Thank you in advance.


  135. Paula Says:

    Hello, We have recently renovated our living room which includes preparing a fireplace for a log-burner. We have also looked at building control/regulations for relevant requirements. We have placed a solid oak beam the appropriate distance above the log burner, rather like a mantelpiece but it is flush with the chimney breast. It will obviously become quite warm so we would like to know what product we could use safely that is obviously not going to react to the heat. We would like the oak to look naturally darker rather like the example given of the finished door above. Kindest regards Paula

  136. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for your question, the first thing I would advice you to put on is Premier Wood Preservative this will ensure that the wood is protected from Mould, Mildew, Rot and Wood Boring Insects. Once this product has dried you need to use a top coat Oil to protect from UV and Water ingress.

    If you would like a clear protective finish then any Decking Oil or Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra are good options, and are perfectly suitable for using on garden furniture. Or if you are thinking of adding some colour, then again a coloured Coloured Decking Oil would be good or the Natural Oil Woodstain from Osmo have a good range of colours.

  137. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Paula,

    One of the best products for you to use would be the Osmo polyx Oil It is a hard wearing and durable finish that will darken the wood in a similar way to the example above. And it is suitable for use on your Mantle as it is heat resistant. I would love to see a photo of the finished project if you get a chance, you can send images to wood@finishes.direct

  138. Andy Says:


    I have got some oak from part of a tree that fell down a couple of months ago. I am going to use 3′-6″ poles from it to make a play structure for my boys – maximum length will be about 12′. This it my first major project of this kind and I have not worked with oak before.

    Having researched this for some days now, I have come to the conclusion that I will need to use stainless steel fixings because of the corrosive effect of the oak on zinc and regular steel. I am planning to use M10 or M12 threaded bar/rod and SS washers and nuts on most sections and M16 on the really key load bearing elements.

    Whilst looking up advice on peeling the bark I came across your very helpful site. Please would you advise me on the following:

    1 the best method for peeling bark from oak poles;

    2 how I can prevent/minimise cracking. The uprights will need to be about 3′ into the ground and the remainder will be clear of the ground.

    3 anything I might have not considered given my inexperience!

    Thanks for your help.


  139. Alan Wright Says:

    Hi Sam, I have an oak dining table which is used every day. The edges of the top surface (where we lean or rest our arms) has gone sticky and darkened. The wood is a golden colour. I have had a quote to have the table treated but it is cheaper to buy a new table. I think the original treatment was Swedish oil but I am not sure. What can I do to restore this table please

  140. Alan Wright Says:

    Hi Sam, further to my earlier message, I tried a blob of cooking oil on a corner that is not damaged and it remained. It did not soak into the wood so I presume it is varnished or lacquered, Alan

  141. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Alan,

    Because the Oil remained on the surface of the wood it would indicate that you have a Varnish/Lacquer on your table. If you where looking to restore this table yourself I would recommend stripping it back with Paint Panther which will remove most paint and varnishes ( rarely requires two treatments ). Once this is done a light sand with a 150 grit sandpaper and the table should be ready for a new treatment.

    Applying an Oil based product will make future maintenance much easier and will give the table a more natural finish. It will depend on the colour that you would be looking for but a couple of thin coats of Osmo Poly Oil which is a clear finish that will darken the wood slightly or for a colour you could look at the Osmo Polyx Oil Tints which will protect and colour at the same time. It is always advisable to do a test area first, to ensure you like the finish. And if you have any further questions do let me know – Sam

  142. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Andy,

    Interestingly I have just written a Blog on Children’s Play Parks and equipment, and the maintenance and regulations involved in this. It is mostly about commercial play equipment but does give useful tips about making your own. Its not yet published but keep an eye out in the next week or so. In the mean time stripping the bark from the oak will speed up the drying time and that is when cracks in the wood could start to occur. To remove the bark ( which I have not done before ) I have been advised that you should use a chisel and scrapper and a lot of effort. It is worth applying a Decking Oil as this will help to keep the wood nourished and reduce the chance of it cracking.

    But before the Oil use a good quality Preservative to protect the wood from Mould, Mildew, Rot and more. Make sure to really soak the areas that is going into the ground, it will inevitably be the area that will begin to break down first but by soaking in the the preservative and treating with Oil before burying it, you will give it longer.

    Any cracks that may appear should not be to much of a problem on a solid piece of Oak, just keep an eye on it not being a finger trap for the children and early signs of decay due to water sitting in the cracks. You can of course fill then in if needed. If you have any other questions do let me know and I would love to see the results of your project if you have time, you can send photos to wood@finishes.direct

  143. Dave Says:

    HiSam, I am helping renovate a cottage that has 200yr old beams inside used for internal lintels and archways. This oak has obviously been outside for some time as it has aged beautifully. My question is, a lot of new oak ( big pieces) have been used alongside the old oak inside, what can I put on the new oak to make it look aged like the existing or to take some of the newness out? I look forward to your reply Dave

  144. Tony footitt Says:

    i have just installed a green oak fire surround it has a wax coating and looks great but just by being in the house it has already started cracking which is ok at the moment it gives it some character but I don’t want the cracks to expand into gapping creavaces when we use the log burner, a lot of your comments tell me to use an oil to prevent cracking is this safe to use with a fire surround

  145. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Dave,

    Matching New wood to Old wood can be as difficult as colour matching I’m afraid but you could have a look at the Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish as there are some colours in this range.

    Or it is worth having a look at the Manns Oak Wood Stain or even the Manns Pine Wood Stain to see if there is a colour in there that will give the wood an aged look. With both these stains you can intermix to change colours and dilute with water to lighten. Multiple layers applied onto the wood will add depth of colour, so with a little bit of experimenting its possible that you could achieve the look you want. If the wood has grayed then Driftwood is a good colour to consider.

    You could use a Wax to seal the wood when you have acheived the colour that you want.

  146. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tony,

    Cracks like this are usually caused because the wood is either becoming too dry or because of extreme temperature changes from hot to cold regularly. Although the wax will offer some protection, I would recommend removing it ( with White Spirits or sanding ) and applying some Osmo Wood Protector to help nourish the wood and it will give extra protection that will help prevent the wood from drying out. And then apply a good quality Hard wax Oil that will nourish and protect it. Both these products will be suitable to use on a Fire surround. Let me know if you have any other questions – Sam

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