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?


Acorn of the mighty oak tree

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 turned grey / silver by UV rays & water damage


Oak Barrels traditionally used for Whisky and Beer

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!

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280 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. 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.

  3. 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

  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. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.


  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. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.



  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 Woodleys 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. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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?

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. nick Says:

    Hi Jan,

    You should be able to easily remove the Beeswax Polish by using Woodleys 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.

  45. 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

  46. 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.

  47. 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?

  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. 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


  50. 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.

  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. 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.

  75. 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

  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. 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.

  83. 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.


  84. 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

  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. 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

  90. 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!!

  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. 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.

  102. 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.


  103. 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

  104. 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


  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. 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.

  109. 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 ?

  110. 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 (3068) 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.

  111. lydia Says:

    Thank u so much 🙂

  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. 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.

  116. 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?

  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. 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

  124. 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)

  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. 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

  130. 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

  131. 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

  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. 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.

  136. 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

  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. 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

  140. 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

  141. 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

  142. 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

  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. 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.

  145. 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

  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

  147. Antony Scarah Says:

    We have a white oak double door and frame , it was varnished and needs stripping, what product would you recommend to remove the clear yacht varnish.?

  148. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Antony,

    There are 2 products that you can have a look at, the first is Paint Panther which is designed to make the the varnish/paint bubble up so that you can scrap it off with a Filler Knife . This a quick but slightly messy option. The alternative would be to use the Peelaway 7 which is a poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours and then remove.

    Both these products are very good at varnish removal and I would recommend a test area with which ever you try. If you have any further questions please let me know – Sam.

  149. Andy Says:

    Hello Sam

    Thanks for your advice, I have put my order in today and will be pleased to let you have some photos of the results.

    I’ve been keeping an eye out for your blog on children’s play structures, but not seen it yet. Please would you point me in the right direction, or if it isn’t finished yet, perhaps you would be good enough to send me a rough copy by email so that I can read your advice before I make a start on the construction.

    All the best


  150. Hilary Says:

    Hi there
    I have an external illusion mirror on a brick wall in the garden. It is made from oak and is screwed and glued to mirror board..

    It has been finished with external Danish oil containing uv protection.
    The mirror went up in August 2015 and I ve noticed along a couple of the cross pieces a black discolouration is noticeable.

    How can I get it off?

    How can I prevent it?

    With best wishes


    Many thanks for your help

  151. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Hilary,

    Black staining or discolouration on exterior wood is more often than not a mould that is a result of water penetration. We have a product for this from Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner will help to remove any mould build up. It is not a stripper product but you may find that you need to recoat with more of Danish Oil after use. I would recommend a test area first to ensure there is no reaction with the oil.

    Ideally you need to apply a Preservative to the wood but in order to do this you need to remove all of the excisting oil, apply the preservative and then re apply the oil. If you have any other questions please let me know.

    Kind regards Sam.

  152. Marc Says:

    Hello there,
    We’ve just bought a solid oak kitchen table from harveys that arrives this week. It needs treating. The missus wants it to remain the same colour as in the showroom, (or as close as possible). Have read many of the earlier replies above, so have an idea what I am need. However in my kitchen the table will be in front of double glazed patio doors, with a large velux window directly above. The doors face West and so we get many hours of sunshine streaming in during the summer. Are up rays going to be a concern? What would you recommend, much obliged.

  153. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Marc,

    Thank you for your inquiry, it is fair to say that excessive sunlight will have an effect on the wood, causing it to fade and silver. You have 2 options here and both will fulfill one issue but not the other. The first product is Osmo Top Oil Natural (3068) this will leave the wood well protected against everyday use and will leave the wood as unaltered as possible. There is very little UV protection from this product however and you may need to apply regular coats to avoid the fading.

    The alternative would be to go for the Osmo UV Protection Oil this will give you the UV protection that you require ( although regular top ups may be necessary for excessive sunlight ) but it will darken the wood slightly, wiping a damp cloth over the bare wood will give you an indication of how much darker it will be. I hope this will help and if you have any further questions please let me know.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  154. Hilary Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Many thanks that’s very helpful. When is the best time to do this? As the mirror door is outside I m guessing not now!
    Should I Wait for the spring?
    The door is stuck to the mirror door and is therefore tricky to know how best to deal with in order not to spoil the mirror board? I guess lots of masking tape!
    Thanks again


  155. Hilary Says:

    Also! Do you do small quantities? The container you linked to would probably treat a small ship and my door is quite small ????
    Thanks again

  156. Gary Says:

    Hi Sam
    I have some French oak riddling racks that I would like to seperate and hang on an outside exposed wall as a feature.I would like to keep their natural colour.I wouldn’t like the tannins from the rain ingress to stain the wall or concrete floor. A hard one but any ideas? Thanks Gary

  157. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Gary,

    If you sand back to bare wood then you could use the Preservative first as this will protect against mould, mildew and rot. And then a top coat of UV Protection Oil Extra will make the wood water repellent help reduce the fading from the sun. I would love to see what you do, you can send photos to us if you would like.

    Kind regards Sam.

  158. Carolyn Says:

    Hey Sam,

    I just purchased an oak table that been sanded back and I was hoping to keep the natural look (as much as possible). However, the lady I purchased it off put a couple of coats of wax on it. Is it possible to re-sand and coat with he clear wax you have suggested in previous posts? or not that simple? Any chance of restoring back to natural shade I was hoping to maintain?

    Thank you!


  159. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Carolyn,

    Worry not, you can remove the wax easily with Wax and Polish Remover and some Finishing Pads this should remove most or all of the wax, you may need to give a light sand at this point and then you can proceed with application of your products of choice. If you would like any advice on which product to use and the application of, then please let me know – Sam.

  160. Jon Says:

    Hey Sam,

    I have new oak flooring with an oiled silver/grey finish, I would like to match this with brand new unfinished internal oak doors. Is there some way I can achieve this?

    Kind regards

  161. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jon,

    There are a number of products that you could have a look at that may create the effect you are looking for. The first is Osmo Oil Stain and is only recommended for use by professionals, it needs to be buffed into the wood and would need a top coat product such as Osmo Polyx Oil. The Osmo Wood Wax Finish Intensive also has a grey finish called Pebble. And finally the Osmo Polyx Oil Tints but look at the colours and not the names on this one. All of these come in samples sizes and need very thin application. I hope this helps and if you have any further questions do please let me know.

    Kind regards Sam.

  162. Jonathan Lomas Says:

    I’ve just sanded an 150 year old oak parquet floor in my home. It has come up beautifully compared to the original dark warn finish. I’d like to had a hard wearing gloss finish not too dark. I’d like to use a yacht varnish as this gives maximum strength. Is there any reason why I should not use this finish for internal use?

  163. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jonathon,

    I would not be able to recommend our Yacht Varnish as this is for external use only and although many of our customers have used it for internal floors, I can recommend an alternative. Dulux Trade Diamond Glaze is a water based, low odour, extremely durable varnish that would be ideal for your floor. It comes in a Gloss finish and requires 2-3 coats. We also have a very good range of Varnishes from Junkers that could be worth you having a look at. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please let me know.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  164. Kathy Richards Says:


    I have oak doors,a oak kitchen, skirting boards and oak flooring in the bedrooms, it was stained about 6 months ago, its started to look a little dull, I don’t want to use spray polish, is there anything you can recommend please?


  165. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Kathryn,

    Could you tell me what the wood was stained with originally ? Generally speaking a Wax is a great product for bringing your wood back to life and will go on top of Varnish or oil finishes but it can make floors a little on the slippy side. I would prefer to know what product is currently on the wood before saying for sure what would be best – Sam

  166. Julie Staunton Says:

    Hi I have a solid oak piece that i am using over a fireplace where there is a stove. It is approx a year and half matured and i want to sand it off a little first just to get rid of the dirt etc that is on it from storage and apply an oil or something to keep its natural look with no darkening or gloss. Can you please advise what i should do and use. It was recommended to me to use linseed oil or decking oil. What do you think? P.S i live in ireland so im hoping to be able to buy the product here.

    Kind Regards

  167. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Julie,

    You could have a look at the Hard Wax Oil Natural from Fiddes, this is designed to leave the wood looking untreated but still offering a hard wearing protective treatment. Other oils may darken the wood slightly on application.

    Kind regards Sam.

  168. Warren Says:


    I’ve bought essentially a large breakfast bar 2m x 1m x 40mm which I plan to use as a table top for an office desk. I’d like it to have a light finish rather than the darker orangy finishes

    Would you be able to suggest the best type of finish for this purpose?



  169. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Warren,

    Thank you for the inquiry, the colour that you can achieve is very much dependent on the original colour of the wood. And what you can apply will depend on if you are treating bare wood or if there is already a finish on there.

    If you are to be treating bare wood then you could have a look at our Hard Wax Oil ranges. There are clear or Tinted oils that will colour and protect in one wood with just 2 thin coats. All of the Hard Wax Oils are available in sample sizes so that you can carry out test areas. I hope that helps and please let me know if there is any thing else you would like to know.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  170. Karen Says:

    Hi there. We are installing a white American oak staircase. It is going to be polyurethaned Along with the flooring it sits upon. What I am wanting to know is should we seal the underside of it, which will be open but not seen. Cheers Karen

  171. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Karen,

    Thank you for your inquiry, I would recommend application to the underside if it is open. It is not an absolute essential if no contact is to be made in anyway to the wood but temperature changes and changes in moisture levels that naturally occur over the seasons and years may have an effect on unprotected wood, subtle to start with but over a longer period that extra protection will extend the life and condition of your new stairs, so worth investing in the that extra protection I think. Please me know if you have any further questions and we would love to see some photos of the project.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  172. Dave Says:

    Hi there,

    I’m looking for an oil for the table I’ve just bought from Barker and Stonehouse, below:

    I’d prefer for it to keep it’s current colour, as it matches well with oak veneered doors we have.

    Please could you suggest an oil for me to buy and advise how many coats and how often they should be applied?

    Many thanks

  173. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Dave,

    Thank you for your inquiry, I have had a look at the table and can see from the specifications that the table already has an oil product on there which should be offering good protection already.

    If you wish to top this up I would recommend trying the Osmo Polyx Oil but you should do a test area first. This is to ensure compatibility between the previous and the new oil but also to see if the wood will absorb any more oil of if it is fully saturated. With this particular oil you need to apply thinly and depending on use of the table you can top up 1 a year or when required. Please let me know if you have any further questions – Sam.

  174. Bob Stark Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Fantastic information and advice on this page!

    We have installed a lovely American oak staircase in our house and having read your page are looking at using Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural to protect it.

    At the moment we have been advised by the joiner who installed it to leave it untreated for a few months to make sure it has fully acclimatised, as it was in the house during some of the building works (plenty of moisture around with plastering, but not directly near the stairs which were loosely covered) and then spent a couple of weeks with the treads wrapped in protective plastic. The works were completed a couple of weeks ago and the house is dry and warm.

    We are getting conflicting advice from our builder who is concerned that, left unprotected, black marks are likely to appear from skin contact which will be difficult to get out. There are already some dirty marks which don’t come out easily with a slightly damp microfibre cloth.

    What is your view on this? Are we safe to protect the stairs now? And what is the best way to clean the unprotected stairs?



  175. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Bob,

    You will be fine to go ahead and treat the stairs now with the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural as it soaks into the surface of the wood and will flex and move with any movement that may occur in the wood, and so will not peel or flake. Just ensure the stairs and clean and dry before application and then 2 thin coats will give good protection. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.

    All the Best Sam.

  176. Bob Stark Says:

    That’s great, thanks Sam.

    Any tips on cleaning the unprotected oak in the meantime?

  177. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Bob,

    The best option if you can is to keep it covered. If this is not viable then warm water, with out any detergents. Some detergents are strong enough the cause damage to the wood or cause a patchy effect when applying the oil. When you do come to treat it, you can wipe down with some Meths and ensure wood is dry before application. Any marks or stains that don’t wash out may need to be lightly sanded.

    We always like to see our customers projects so if you would like to send some photos in to share that would be great, you can send them to wood@finishes.direct

    Kind Regards Sam.

  178. Mark gillespie Says:

    Hello Sam,
    Have recently striped the 300 yr old painted beams, above the Windows, on the exterior of our home. The beams are sound and hard, but should I treat them ( feed).
    I don’t mind them silvering over time, just don’t wish to cause any damage to them!

  179. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mark,

    The first thing I would recommend is a Preservative to give the wood protection from Mould, Mildew and Rot. You can use this as a stand alone product and it is available in clear or coloured.

    But for the best protection from water ingress applying an oil such as Osmo UV Protection Oil extra is advised, with this product a little goes a long way and so depending on how much you have to cover this is a good option. If however you have quite a lot to cover and it is viable for you to buy 5 Litres then you could look at this Log Cabin Treatment which would also be ideal as a clear finish for your window frames. I hope that helps and please do let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  180. Rob Says:


    I have an untreated oak dining table that has a single panel of much darker wood in the centre (it is solid oak but built with several parts). Unfortunately it looks unnatural as its the entire cut panel that is a different shade. What would be the easiest way to lighten this darker patch a few shades to the colour of the surrounding wood? White wax?


  181. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Rob,

    Lightening wood, whilst not impossible is a difficult thing to do and we don’t have a product that would work effectively for this purpose. It would be easier to darken the surrounding wood to match the out of place piece. You could look at the Manns Oak Wood Stain for this and then top coat of Osmo Polyx Oil I am sorry I could not be of more help.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  182. Bob. Says:

    Which products can be sprayed on decking.

  183. Wyll Says:

    Hello and thanks for posting this very helpful article.

    Probably a stupid question. I have an oak indoor dining which is about due for re-oiling. Should I oil just the top or do I need to do the underside and legs as well?

    Many thanks

  184. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:


    Thank you for your inquiry, it may not be necessary to oil the underside to be honest, unless this is likely to get dirty or scuffed in any way. I would recommend the legs are oiled as these are exposed areas and can be subject to spillages and knocks. Also re oiling will enhance and renew the wood on top and to keep the visible finish of the table even you would need to treat all the exposed areas. Please let me know if that helps or you need any guidance of which oil to use as for the table.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  185. Katie Says:

    We have an oak panelled hallway. The wood is mainly veneer and has been varnished at some point and is now a horrible orangey colour. I have stripped one panel using Peel Away 7 and it has come up a lovely light oak. I would like to keep it looking as natural as possible with a matt finish but protect it as it looks very dried out. What would you recommend?
    Kind regards

  186. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Katie,

    You could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. This is a hard wearing and durable finish that is designed to leave the wood looking almost as if it has nothing on it. A test area is strongly recommended and this product is available in sample sizes. An alternative would be to look at the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw which is a similar product.

    These oils will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it microporous, allowing the wood to breath, whilst still making it water repellent and protected. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  187. Rob Says:

    I have an indoor oak dining table, next to a window. What’s the best way to protect it from UV rays and “bleaching” (other than shutting the blinds!)?


  188. carol Says:

    Hi ,I have just bought 3 pieces of oak furniture originally from M&S Hemsley Range.The info papers say it is European oak in its natural state with a simple stain and oiled finish to enhance its rustic appearance …..I followed your advice with other pieces of oak veneer sanding then using poly raw…great success …can I achieve a similar finish as this is a much darker /rougher type of wood, reading previous advice you have given I am thinking to use white spirit and sanding..before using Poly Raw …but thought I would check with you first,…Great to read all your advice….Thanks Carol

  189. Jazz Says:


    We have recently moved to a house with a Oak porch and a Oak structure at the back of the house like a conservatory I guess best way to explain it. I was wondering if you could please advise us the best way to treat it? The porch looks like fairly new maybe a year old and the back conservatory a few years old gone a bit black on the bottom and silvery colour. I am assuming we need to oil the Oak to protect it? Your advise greatly appreciated. Thank you Jazz

  190. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jazz,

    The first thing to ask is if the wood currently has any treatment on it already as this can effect what you choose to apply to it now. If you are applying to bare wood then the first thing to recommend is a Preservative this will protect from Mould, mildew and rot and then if you are looking to keep the wood natural and the colour unchanged then a top coat of Uv Protection Oil from Osmo is a great option.

    We do tend to recommend for a better level of UV protection and to avoid the silvering effect that you apply some colour to the wood. The darker the colour the better the UV Protection and so Natural Oil Woodstain is a good product to consider.

    I have recommended oils as these will soak into the surface of the wood and not peel and flake over time. And they are easy to maintian by just adding another coat when you feel that the wood needs it. Please let me know if you have any further questions – All the Best Sam.

  191. Tom McGlynn Says:

    Dear Sam, We have put up a large European Oak Glulam frame with European Oak windows. We would like this to appear untreated and to weather gradually. We specified two coats of Barretine Premier Wood Preservative with two coats of clear Log Cabin Treatment. However the Contractor has just applied the two coats of Preservative and wants to leave it. Do you foresee any problems with this? Could you advise on maintenance (i.e. does the preservative need to be re-applied in the future)? Many thanks indeed. Tom

  192. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tom,

    Many people do just use the Preservative as a stand alone product, but I would recommend that you do apply a top coat treatment of the Log Cabin Oil as it will give a better level of water repellency and will help to prevent the wood from cracking over time.

    It soaks into the wood and will not peel and flake. And is then easy to just add maintenance coats when you feel the wood needs it. If you keep to Oil well topped up then the preservative will be protected and not need re doing for around 6-8 years and then you will need to strip back and start again. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

  193. dayne Says:

    sam I have purchased some parquet floor panels. I want to darken the colour but they have had a coat of uv oil on them. Could I treat the panels with something as I want to stain them and apply a junkers product HP performance top coat laquer as there will be a loot of traffic as they are going in front of my bar. I have heard a wipe down with white spirit will do before I stain the panels . IS THIS PROCEDURE OK. Thank you Dayne.

  194. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Dayne,

    The key here is to make sure that you get all of the Oil off. You can wipe with white Spirit and this should get all or most off but you may need to give a light sand if it does not all come out.

    Once you are back to bare wood, make sure that you carry out a test area with the stain and varnish to ensure that you are going to achieve the look that you want. The Junkers HP is a great tough and durable product to go for. And the good thing about the Stain is that you can add more coats until you get the depth of colour that you want or you can lighten by adding water. Please let me know if you have an more questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  195. dayne Says:

    thanks sam .I have wiped with white spirit but nothing happens no mark on rag its just as if it has cleaned the panel of dust.

  196. Lucy Carruthers Says:

    We have put oak shelves in our bathrooms. In order to keep a pale and natural finish we were advised to apply several layers of Satin Oil. They look ok but are susceptible to water marks. What can we do to fully protect the surface from water damage but not end up with either darker or very glossy wood? Thank you for your help.

  197. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lucy,

    Can you give me a little more information about the Oil that you have used and the application process. Often if the Oil is applied too liberally it has not soaked into the surface of the wood as it should have done, it may not be doing its job properly.

    It is also worth noting that although most oils are water repellent, standing water over long periods will soak in and mark the wood. Patch repair is relatively easy however and this is one of the key benefits to using oils. You can simply sand back the marked areas and re oil. The oil will blend with existing oil. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to call out freephone number 0800 7818 123 of email to wood@finishes.direct and speak to one of our advisers.

    Kind regards Sam.

  198. John Says:


    I am thinking of making some quirky chunks of furniture/door stops/small coffee table etc out of big squares and lengths of green sawn and planed oak. I guess it will slowly dry out in the house and crack etc (which is fine) but will the timber weep onto the flooring or anything else? Or will it just happily sit there and just slowly dry out?

    Many thanks for any input


  199. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello John,

    Freshly cut green oak will naturally leach out tannin’s and how long this can go on for is anyone guess as each piece of oak is different. I would avoid having it in contact with your flooring as the tannin’s are likely to stain. I would like to say more but this is not really my field of expertise I’m afraid.

    All the Best Sam.

  200. Hugh Says:

    We have bought an apartment in London where all the skirting boards and door surrounds are of white oak. These fittings are untreated and have been in place since the 2003.
    We believe the wood needs some treatment but wish to retain as much of the natural look as possible.
    Is there a recommended product and does the fact that the fittings are over 10 years old have any bearing on what to use or how many coats may be applied.
    Many thanks

  201. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Hugh,

    For a product that protects but leaves the wood looking as natural as possible you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. It a hard wearing and durable oil that requires 2 thin coats for application. You could use this Natural Brush for application. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

    All the Best Ben.

  202. Lily Says:

    Hi Sam, I am glad finding your blog. We moved in a new house that has a solid oak front door. It was oil treated when it was installed 7 years ago but hasn’t been properly maintained. It has a lot black spots over it and the bottom of the door is in a silver colour. It was swell in winter time. I would like to ask for your advice on how to redcoat the door to make it water tight again. I am not sure how to remove the black spots and remove the silver coloured patch. Overall the door has a light golden colour but I would not mind if it turns a darker colour after treatment. Many thanks

  203. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lily,

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I would firstly recommend treatment with Mould and Mildew Cleaner to clean away the black marks which are likely to be mould as a result of moisture ingress. Once this is done you can use a restorer product to bring the grey areas back to an original state Revivor Gel from Osmo is a good one to use and just requires a bit of elbow grease.

    Once the door is clean and dry and ready for treatment of Preservative will protect from Mould , mildew and rot. And then a clear oil such as Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra will give a good level of water repellency and UV protection whilst leaving the wood micro porous.

    I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    All the Best Sam.

  204. Jennifer Says:

    Hi, I have a reclaimed oak farm table that was a gift, made for me by a cabinet maker that my husband does business with. The table is beautiful, however they sprayed it in their shop with some kind of coloured varnish that i absolutely hate. I was dreaming of a much more natural finish that would age well and offer protection from spills yet still allow the wood to remain more natural looking and patina over the years. I think I am looking for some kind of oil product. I have a couple concerns, first how is the best way to remove the coating that is on the table now, I am worried that if I sand the finish off that I will destroy the reclaimed look of the wood, so maybe a chemical stripper would be the best? If I use a chemical stripper do I need to use a wood conditioner after? Secondly, can I stain the wood before using an oil, and what kind of maintenance will I need to keep the wood aging beautifully? Thank you for your time and help.

  205. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jennifer,

    Thank you for your inquiry, we have a very good stripper from Barrettine Sample Pack of Peelaway always do a test area first to ensure no adverse reaction, and to show how long you need to leave the poultice on for. I would think that the Peelaway 7 would be suitable.

    Once you are back to bare wood you could look at the Tinted Oil that are a colour and protection treatment in one. If there is not a suitable colour in that range then you could consider a Oak Wood Stain to colour and then a clear oil Clear Oil

    Test areas will be vital in helping to achieve your desired colour. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to get back in touch.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  206. Tracey Reeves Says:

    I love all the advice …..
    But first what can I do to get a horrible coloured gloopy wood stain off my garden furniture that some fool has slathered on it!
    Is there a wonder product out there,or a tried and tested method available, to add to elbow grease?!
    Thank you.

  207. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tracey,

    Without knowing exactly what the product applied is, it would be difficult for me to advise further but if you can find out what it is and tell me a little more about the wood and finish that you would like to achieve then you can email me directly at wood@finishes.direct

    Kind Regards Sam.

  208. Nigel Says:


    We have a fairly new solid oak staircase that is inside but leads up to an external garden door that is often left open so rain can sometimes enter. When originally constructed the staircase was varnished (presumably with an interior varnish) which has blistered and let the rain stain the timber. We have sanded back and it looks good but wonder how to protect it (we want to keep the natural finish – not let it fade to silver). Finish needs to be resilient (it is a well-used staircase) but protect from occasional rain.

    What would you recommend?

  209. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Nigel,

    Thank you for you inquiry, you could have a look at applying an oil product to your stairs. This will leave the floor looking natural, and offer a good level of water repellency to the wood. It will not water proof the wood however, there is no product that will do that, but it is also easy to patch repair should any stains or marks occur.

    I would recommend a clear Decking oil such as Holzol Decking Oil is a great product to look at as it is suitable for interior use also. Regular maintenance coats will help to keep water repellency good and it has some UV filters in it also. Do let me know if you have any other questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  210. Jim Ramsay Says:

    Hello, What an informative site. I am presently building an Oak fireplace using some weathered French Oak that had previously be used as benches. It has come up quite well after sanding. I would like to keep the finish as natural as possible whilst at the same time protecting and preserving the wood. What would you suggest to achieve this finish and importantly be fireproof and resistant to heat.

    Thank you


  211. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Good Afternoon Jim,

    Thank you for your inquiry, you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this is a protective, hard wearing oil that will not darken the wood like many other clear products do. This is because it has a minute amount of white pigment it.

    This product is not guaranteed ‘fireproof’ but is suitable for use on fire surrounds with many of our customers using it in this situation. Test areas are always recommended to ensure that you are getting the finish that you require. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind Regards Ben

  212. David J Says:

    Hello, we have just purchased some brand new untreated oak garden furniture. Is there any exterior protection matt non-yellowing varnish that you could recommend for use please, that will leave the oak looking a light colour and new .

    Many thanks

  213. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello David,

    You could have a look at the UV Protection Oil Extra in Natural. This is an Oil rather than a varnish that will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it Microporous, it will not peel and flake over time and is easy to maintain. The natural has a minute amount of white pigment in it to counteract the darkening effect that you get with most clear oils or varnishes, leaving the wood looking as natural as possible.

    Test areas are always recommended to ensure that you are going to achieve the look that you want and regular maintenance will help prevent silvering over time.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  214. Jon Roberts Says:


    Looking for some advice on how to prepare and finish a slightly unique oak piece. We have a good size 4′ x 2′ slice of oak that we are planning to use as something for our guests to sign at our wedding which we can then hang on the wall and maybe even incorporate it into a piece of furniture in the future. The plan is to let people sign the oak with a permanent marker, however I would like advice if possible on what to use to seal/prepare the oak with so a good surface exists for signing on then what would be the best way to seal over this again to create a finish that will retain the signatures. Looking to achieve a relatively natural finish but not too worried about bringing out a warmer finish.

    Kind Regards.


  215. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jon,

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you, I was looking into what would be the best product and application method for you to use. I believe that for a permanent marker pen you would be best off sealing with a water based varnish such as Manns Interior Varnish if you have access to a spray machine for application. I think Spray application will be the best option to avoid pulling the pen out but I would strongly recommend running a test first to see if the varnish makes the pen bleed or smudge.

    If you are not able to get your hands on a sprayer then you could have a look at the Morrells Nitrocellulose which is in a spray can, again I would strongly recommend running a test first.

    I would be interested to see the end result, its a great idea !!

    All the Best Sam.

  216. Sarah Says:


    I’m wondering if you can help me?? We’ve just had a kitchen fitted and upon reccomendation used Colron refined Danish oil in ‘natural’ to protect it. However, the wood is now much too ‘orange’ for me and I’m worried that short of sanding down the whole of the two work tops there’s nothing I can do!! … Do you have any advice for this situation, could I perhaps do a final coat with something with a ‘white’ colour in it as you mention above??? …. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated as you seem very much to know what you are talking about!

    Many many thanks in advance,

  217. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for your inquiry, it is a common question and often the application of a clear product, varnish or oil, will bring out the natural tones of the wood which in your case is the orange but it can also be green. It can be difficult to avoid and using a product that has some white is not always the solution as this can highlight the problem even more. But it is worth trying a test area with a sample sachet and the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural.

    A small test in an inconspicuous area will show if the oil will improve or highlight the problem. You could also look at trying Tung Oil this oil is the one that will change to wood the least and is food safe. I am sorry that I can not give you a more definitive answer but the natural colour of the wood can only be changed by adding another colour. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind regards Sam.

  218. Anne french Says:

    Hi, what can I use to remove liberon finishing oil from my oak work tops so that I can use Osmo oils instead

  219. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Anne,

    You could try scrubbing with some White Spirits and a Finishing pads and if that does not work you will need to sand it back. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do let me know.

    Kind regards Sam.

  220. Patrick Says:

    Hullo! We are buying a house with a lot of oak panelling all dating from around 1870 and this is in really good condition but a bit dark as it has been stained. We would like it to be lighter as it is oppressive. Can we do anything? There is big room and a little one and up the stairs so could be serious work. At least it all must be cleaned and perhaps polished. Have you any thoughts please? J & J

  221. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Patrick,

    Lightening dark wood can be difficult, and other than adding an Opaque finish such as Osmo Country Colour which is and Oil that soaks into the surface of the wood and creates a paint like finish, but this would need top be applied to bare wood. You may find that sanding back reveals a lighter wood but short of Bleaching which is not my field of expertise I’m afraid finishing with an opaque is the best option. I am sorry I could not be of more help but feel free to let me know if you have any further questions or email me direct at wood@finishes.direct with some photos and I will see if I can offer any further advice.

    All the Best Sam.

  222. Tyne Says:


    I have oak stairs (interior) that are oil-based stained. I would like to seal…again. Used a water-based polyurethane but it since has worn off. What kind of varnish or what do you recommened. Also I would like something durable since I have children.

    Thank you,


  223. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tyne,

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. If you are able to email me directly at wood@finishes.direct and let me know exactly what product is on the stairs currently and hopefully I can advice you from there.

    Kind regards Sam.

  224. Mike Says:

    Hi I have an oak duckboard for my shower area and wondering what the best thing to water proof the oak would be don’t want to darken the oak just what the look when it’s wet?

  225. nick Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Any wooden fixture or fitting in a high moisture area such as a shower area is going to need regular maintenance. I believe that the best treatment for ease of maintenance would be a Hard Wax Oil such as or . Both of these products will give the wood a slightly darker, damp like appearance as well as enhancing the natural colour and grain of the timber.

    Hard wax oils are water resistant and very easy to apply and maintain. When you notice that the wood is starting to lose its water resistance, simply apply a fresh coat of oil and allow to fully dry. Both of these products are also available in a raw or natural formulation which will keep the wood looking natural (No darkening or damp like appearance).

  226. birgit Morrison Says:

    Hi, bought a house with oak window frames and the sun has gone grey. Would like to get it back to the natural colour and treat it with the osmo 420 oil but sanding it back still leaves some of the black in it. Is there anything we can treat with so the black disappears or has it gone to deep into the wood. Do we need to use heavy grid sand paper.
    Some of the other windows have still a bit of the natural colour on it. Do I need to sand it down or can I treat it with some chemical to get the oil off and get back to the natural wood as there are some whitish/greyish spots on the frame that seem not to take on the oil and therefore dont turn into the natural colour. Apologies for the long story!!

  227. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Brigit,

    Thank you for your inquiry, unfortunately it is likely that more sanding is the answer to getting the black off. If it is fairly deep then a mould and mildew cleaner is unlikely to remove the stain. I would be happy to take a look at some photos and advice you further if you would like to send them into wood@finishes.direct Scrubbing with some White Spirit may be the answer to removing any oil, but again sanding is likely to be the best option. Do let me know if you have any further questions.

    All the Best Sam.

  228. Vivienne French Says:

    Advice please ! I have an oak garden bench,20 years old,in my garden. I think it is time to clean and oil,and remove the green algae from underneath the slats. I am tempted to use my new pressure washer on the special”wood cleaning “programme (very low pressure using the Karcher wood cleaning solution).Is this advisable ?Which oil should I use when the bench is completely dry ?Thank youfor your help.

  229. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Vivienne,

    Yes we often recommend the use of a pressure washer for cleaning wood, just take care not to hold too close to the surface of the wood and as this can damage or splinter it. Once clean and dry you could have a look at a good quality Preservative and then Garden Furniture Oil to protect.

    If you find that you have any stubborn Mould and mildew areas you could have a look at the Mould and Mildew Cleaner I hope that help and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to let me know. And we always like to see before and after photos which you can send to wood@finishes.direct

    All the Best Sam.

  230. Rebecca Elstn Says:


    I need help to fix a scratch on my distressed oak white washed dining table which is finished in a clear non shiny lacquer. when I scratched it I wiped a furniture oil on it which was made the scratch darker and more red. How can I fix this so it doesn’t compromise the look of the table but not draw my eye to it.

    Thank you!!!!

  231. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Rebecca,

    Are you able to send me a photo of the scratch and a larger area of the table without artificial light shining on it to our email address which is wood@finishes.direct and I will be happy to take a look and see if there is anything that I can suggest.

    Kind regards Sam.

  232. Ellen Says:

    We have just purchased a golden oak Edwardian dining table, it had a few blemishes and an uneven colour.We have sanded it back to the original ‘bare wood’state ,but are now a little unsure how to finish it.My thoughts on reading your blog post are a stain to give it back its golden colour and then a wax/oil of some sort to seal it and give a sheen to the top.But I am slightly bewilderd by the choice. Any advice would be great, on the best products to use to ensure the table is well sealed and a good colour. Many thanks

  233. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Ellen,

    You could have a look at the Fiddes Tints which are a Hard Wax Oil that will colour and protect the wood. It is easy to maintain and to patch repair should the need arise.

    If there is not a colour in that range that you like, you could have a look at the Manns Oak Woodstain to give the colour and a top coat of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. Test areas are the key to getting the right finish and all the recommend products are available in sample sizes and if you have any further questions, please do let me know.

    Kind regards Sam.

  234. Ellen Says:

    Thank you Sam I have ordered some sample colours to try.

  235. Mannie Says:


    I have bunk beds made from oak from the look of the picture above it looks like my beds are finished oak. My carpets got wet and the legs of the bed have soaked up some water because the legs are looking black and has green mould on it. Is my bed ruined now and would cleaning it with vinegar be enough? Thanks for your input.

  236. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mannie,

    Water ingress will often cause mould to develop and we have a really good cleaner that will help Mould and Mildew Cleaner from Barrettine, and then allowing the wood to dry out before resealing. If the mould has stained the wood you may find that you will need to sand the effected areas and then retreat with whatever is currently on the rest of the wood. Feel free to email me with some photos and further advice at wood@finishes.direct

    Kind regards Sam.

  237. Gareth Thomas Says:

    Hi Sam, This is a great website, with loads of really useful information! Our farmhouse has 22 oak window frames that were installed circa 25 years ago. Most of them were treated from new with woodstain (Sikkens HLS and Cetol Filter 7, in light oak), and have been retreated sporadically a few times since, so they are now pretty dark in colour. (With hindsight, the decision to stain them was probably a mistake, as the oak has weathered quite badly, especially on the sills, so any new topcoat tends to crack and peel quite quickly, but I guess we’ll just have to live with that). However, four of the frames were never stained – they were just treated with wood preservative and left to weather naturally. They are now badly weathered – very silvered, with deep fissures along the grain, and some rot in the joints underneath the casements. I’m trying to resurrect them by sanding them down (although the cracks are much too deep to remove altogether) and filling the rotten bits. I had intended to go down the Sikkens route again, but I wonder whether the Osmo UV Protection treatment might be a better bet? Does it work over two-pack filler? And if I were to use, say, 3 coats of 425, how much would this darken the oak? (It would be nice to match the colour of the other windows). Would it make more sense to use an oil-based woodstain first? Sorry for such a long post! Many thanks, Gareth

  238. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Gareth,

    The Sadolin is a more durable finish will protect for longer, but as you have experience will peel and flake over time and at this stage will need removing, in order to retreat effectively. The UV Protection Oil Extra is a good option and far easier to maintain over time as with the correct application will not peel and flake and you can simply re apply the oil when you feel that it needs it.

    If the seal are not sloped, to allow water to run off, you may have an ongoing issue however. For surfaces that are prone to standing water, damage is inevitable without continual care. For the colour you will need to carry out a test area as the wood you are applying to will have an effect on the overall colour achieved and the Osmo Oils are available in sample sizes. And for fillers you could have a look at the Osmo Exterior Gap Sealer I hope this helps some and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  239. TonyR Says:

    Hi Sam.
    Great site and full of useful stuff !

    I have had a new oak door (barn door style) fitted to back door and it needs a few joints filled before treating with Danish oil. Please can you tell me which of your products is best for filling in terms of colour matching and will take Danish oil
    Thanks in advance.

  240. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tony,

    Thank you !!

    If it is an interior area that you are treating then you could have a look at the Wood Filler gel which requires a 50/50 mix with wood dust sanded from, preferably, the same piece of wood or alternatively the Osmo Wood Filler which comes in a range of colours and will take an oil, although may give some variation in colour when the finished.

    Always try a test area first. And if you have any further questions please do let me know.

    Kindest regards Sam.

  241. Alice Says:

    Hi Sam, I have an old oak secretary desk that was sanded, washed then oil with coconut oil. Unfortunately it was blackened more and more. Maybe 2 months since it was oiled. Will I need to bleach this? Thanks much, Alice

  242. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Alice,

    Coconut Oil is a non curing Oil, it will not dry hard and so over time can start to go off or react to the air and go black. You should try wiping over with White Spirit to remove the oil. If this doesn’t remove it all then you will need to sand back what is left.

    Once you are back to bare wood then I would recommend the Tung Oil it is a natural oil that will give better protection to the wood and will not go black. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

    Kind regards Sam.

  243. Angela M Says:

    Hi Sam

    Have recently had a new oak internal staircase fitted, like it so much that have decided not to carpet. I want to leave it looking natural and one of the fitters said to apply two coats of good lacquer but the other said varnish, What would you recommend,please
    Thanks for any advice

  244. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Angela,

    Varnish and Lacquer are very similar in finish, they are both surface sealers creating a plastic like film on the surface of the wood. They are durable and hard wearing and I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish as a good option. It will darken the wood slightly and I would always recommend a test area first, to ensure that you are going to like the finish.

    For a more natural look and feel to the wood I can recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which is a product that soaks into the surface of the wood. It is hard wearing although not as much as varnish, but is easier to repair and maintain over time.

    If you have a look at the products that I have recommended and let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  245. Ashley Says:

    Hello could I have some product advice please.

    Exterior- I have just had a green oak timber frame garage built with fresh larch cladding and exposed soft wood rafter feet. Also, a green and dried oak porch with a sheltered solid oak door. The porch is on the damper north side of the house. I was advised to either leave it all untreated to age over time or apply light creosote to keep it all an even colour. 

    I would like it all to remain one even colour and I’m concerned the wood may blacken with the damp. Can I seal new damp fresh oak?

    Interior- How should i best protect the inside of the front door, porch frame, dried oak window boards, oak veneer internal doors and green oak beams? I would like to keep it all the same light/medium colour and limit the shrinkage and maintenance cycle. I’d rather not use a varnish that will need to be stripped off eventually.

    Thank you for your help.

    Ashley Green


  246. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Ashley,

    For your exterior project I would recommend the use of a good quality preservative to protect from mould, mildew and rot. And then a top coat product of an Oil to give water repellency. WR Base Coat is a great preservative to use under the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra which will give water durability and Uv protection.

    It will darken the wood slightly to give what we call the ‘ wet look ‘ and as it is a clear product it will need regular top ups to maintain the UV Protection. Always try a test area first.

    For the interior project, I would recommend the Osmo Polyx Oil it is a durable and hard wearing finish that will give a close if not matching finish to the exterior treatment.

    Both these oils soak into the surface of the wood allowing it to flex and move naturally. Both require very thin application and are easy to repair and maintain. If you have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions, I will be happy to help.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  247. Shauna Says:

    Hi Sam, we have a finished oak front door. It has black spores on it and has faded. How would I treat this to bring it back?

    Many thanks

  248. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Shauna,

    The Mould and Mildew Cleaner would be ideal for removing black spots and stains from the surface. Are you able to tell me what is currently on the door and if you are looking to retreat it as it is ?

    If you have a read up on the recommended product and let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to help.

    Kind regards Sam.

  249. Alan Says:

    Hello Sam,

    As a small council in Cornwall, we are looking to implement a ‘green’ policy for the growing number of public seats around the parish.

    To this end we are considering standardizing on benches made locally with locally sourced oak for new purchases, with minimal on-going maintenance. We would like these to have an expected life-span of 10 to 15+ years, but are in two minds whether to go with untreated oak, or oiled.

    N.B. We have a good number of donors approaching us every year wanting to sponsor memorial benches, so we would expect to replace old benches as soon as the maintenance costs become unreasonable.

    Your advice would be appreciated.

    Best wishes, Alan

    P.S. We will also be proposing colourful recycled plastic ‘wood’ benches too (expected life-span 30 to 50+ years). Sorry.

  250. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Alan,

    For ease of maintenance and the environmental factor, I would recommend the Osmo Ranges. These are made from natural oils and Osmo are ranked one of the highest for producing and packaging environmentally friendly products. For a clear protective finish there is the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra very thin application is required and so a little goes a long way. It is easy to repair and maintain over time. Simply ensure the surface is clean and dry and then re coat with another thin application of oil.

    Should you wish to add some colour Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain is a great option and is very similar to the product above. If there is anything further you would like to know or anything that I can help with please do not hesitate to get in touch or you can email me at wood@finishes.direct

    Kind Regards Sam.

  251. Angela M Says:

    Thank you Sam. Have decided to try the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil , as looks easier to apply & also I like the ‘easier to maintain’ aspect
    Kind Regards

  252. Andy Says:

    Hi, I have an extension which consists of anoak frame with patio doors and windows. The external side of the frame (including patio doors) has black staining and also some areas of the frame have faded in colour (grey look) giving a very patchy look. The exterior has previously been coated in tung oil. How would you recommend restoring the exterior to its previous oak look. Thanks.

  253. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Andy,

    The first products I would recommend would be the Mould and Mildew Cleaner and the Revivor Gel from Osmo. These to will get rid of any surface mould and algae and with a bit of elbow grease can restore the natural colour of the wood.

    Once you have the wood as you want then it is time to protect with a good quality preserver such as Premier Wood Preservative which will help to prevent mould, mildew and rot. And then a top coat of the Uv Protection Oil Extra to give water repellency and UV filters. Regular top ups of the oil will help to maintain the wood and prevent the silvering caused by sunlight. If you have a read up of the products and let me know if there is anything further that I can help with.

    Kind regards Sam.

  254. Derek Says:

    Hi, we produce presentation pieces using various woods. We are have serious problems when the wood chosen is European oak and the finish required is wax; we use a good quality bees wax based polish. We also have to attach a polished brass plates to the finished piece and finding that the brass is tarnishing exceptionally quickly within the final packaging, sometimes within a matter of hours. We have tried, sealing the brass plate with varnish, but that detracts from the polished surface. We’ve tried using neutral tissue paper, absorbent packing foam, silica gel sachets and masking the brass plate. Nothing seems to work. The only option we have left is to seal the wood and then wax over. What type of sealer would you recommend?

  255. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Derek,

    I am sorry to say that I do not know the answer to your dilemma. The problem seems to be with a reaction between the brass and the finishing products. I would recommend trying a Forum as often people will know about things like this, or even approaching another trophy making company to see how they treat their wood and if they have any similar problems. Sorry that I cannot be of more help.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  256. Warren Says:

    Hi Nick
    I stained my oak worktop with Manns oak stain. I want to protect it now without darkening the colour. Can I use the Osmo Polyxx oil raw over this stain?
    Many thanks

  257. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Warren,

    Thank you for your inquiry. As it is a darker stain you have applied I would not recommend the Polyx Oil Raw as it contains a small amount of white pigment, when applied to dark or medium tones the white gets highlighted and can leave a milky effect on the surface. The Polyx Oil clear is the best option for a top coat product, it may darken the colour very slightly however.

    I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

    All the Best Sam.

  258. Warren Says:

    What’s the best finish on an oak worktop that I’ve already stained? I don’t want it to look any darker but want it protected.

  259. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Warren,

    Are you able to email me with details of the product/stain that is already applied. Wood@finishes.direct. It would be easier for me to advise you correctly once I now this.

    Kind regards Sam.

  260. Wendy Says:


    We’ve inherited an old trunk that I believe is oak and in the region of a hundred years old. It has a very dark brown stain/finish. We want to put it under permanent glass cover outside to store cushions/blankets. Is there a product you would recommend that doesn’t require us removing/sanding down the existing finish but would protect from condensation, mould etc?

    Thanks so much,


  261. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Wendy,

    Its difficult to recommend a product to go on top of the existing one without knowing what the existing treatment is. If you are able to tell me what is currently on there, and oil or varnish ? Then hopefully I will be able to advice you further. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct

    There is also a small test that you can do, and that is to put one small drop of oil on the surface of the wood and leave for about 1 hour. It is remains unmoved then you have a seal such as varnish on there. If it moves or soaks in then you may have an oil or the previous treatment has worn away. Feel free to sent me some photos if you think that may help.

    Kind regards Sam.

  262. Wendy Says:

    Thanks so much Sam. Have emailed directly.

  263. Ceri jones Says:

    Hi Nick I am doing up a barn conversion and have oak external front door along with a farrow and ball blue windows.
    I want the door to look as natural as poss and remain light.we done a test on Osmo uv natural the one with a white hint going through it and i thought i liked it so off we went and painted the door and the door frames and foot sills etc.
    I hate it its made the wood go to red.it hasn’t completely dried yet its been on 4 days already tho so cant see the colour changing loads it would have to change drastically to make me like it.
    What can i do?do i sand it all off and put Osmo raw on it which is for in door but will give me the look?if i keep on top of it will it not silver?

  264. Sam Says:

    Hello Ceri,

    If the product is not dry after 4 days this would indicate over application. The Oil is designed to soak into the surface of the wood and so requires two very thin coats. Any that does not absorb, sits on the surface of the wood and will have a very slow drying time, it will also not be as effective in its protection. I would recommend removing the excess oil by wiping down with White Spirits

    The UV protection Oil Extra in Natural is designed to leave the wood looking as natural as possible, rather than changing the colour. It will bring out any natural tones in the wood and this may be why it has gone a little red in colour. The Interior product, Polyx Oil Raw is designed to give the same effect as the oil you have already used and I would not recommend it for exterior use.

    If you wipe down with the white spirits and see how you get on, you might find the finish more to your liking and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  265. Mark Says:

    Hi, I’m thinking about using some 4″ slabs of green oak I’ve found as kitchen work surfaces, but wonder how to finish them to withstand water/detergents in such conditions, bearing in mind green oak will need to shrink? I’d like quite a simple, rustic/dark finish to go in a simple Welsh cottage. Would appreciate your advice. Best wishes, Mark

  266. Sam Says:

    Hello Mark,

    We tend not to make recommendations for Green Oak because of the high moisture content that it will have. Sealing it with a varnish will trap the moisture in the wood causing problems long term and an oil, although micro porous, and will allow moisture out may offer little protection against marks and stains due to the moisture content. It may not even absorb into the surface effectively.

    We nearly always recommend no treatment until the wood has dried to a more reasonable percentage such as 15 – 18 % and then you can consider a Worktop Oil to give the protection that you will need.

    I hope that helps and if you have any further questions I am happy to help.

    Kind regards Samantha.

  267. Jo Stanbridge Says:


    I have bought an extendable solid oak table (sits 10, but extends at both ends).

    It is now in our conservatory with has a floor-heating system.

    My questions:

    1] Oil to use on oak wood –

    1.1 I have initially used Wood Silk with Bees Wax and purest oils (additionally, the product claims to be “the original non-silicone”. Should I continue using this?

    1.2 If treating oak wood for protection, how often should it be done (no matter what product one uses)?

    2] Table leaf extensions

    2.1 Would table leaf extensions benefit from them being out (extended) all the time as I heard that wood should be allowed to “breathe”?; also so that the leaf extensions will ‘age’ and develop the same colour with the main table top?

    3] Use of table leg pads

    1] As I have mentioned earlier, the dining table stands in our floor-heated conservatory.
    Is it necessary that I place table leg pads to protect the table legs from the floor heating? If so, where can I buy them? The size of the table leg each is 8-1/2 cms x 8-1/2 cms.

    Our conservatory is north-facing, so there is no worry about the natural sun hitting the it all day (as I also draw the blinds to protect the table in the morning when the sun) for added protection from the heat.

  268. Sam Says:

    Hello Jo,

    Thank you for your Enquiry, and to address the first question, a Hard Wax Oil is going to be a great option for your dining room table. And with a table that big I suspect you have a fair few dinner parties or gatherings and so protecting the wood from stains will be vital. The Hard Wax Oil is moisture repellent and durable, and should any stains or marks occur it is super easy to patch repair. Top up coats will depend on how regularly the table is used, but I would not expect you to need to apply further coats for around 2-3 years.

    The Wood Silk Non Silicone Furniture Polish with Beeswax, is not a product that I am familiar with, however I would not expect it to give as much durability as the Hard Wax Oil, rather a more aesthetic finish, and it may well prevent the oil from penetrating the wood. So removing all the polish before you apply any oil will be necessary. This can be done with some White Spirit and a Finishing Pad

    You have stated, however, that the conservatory is north facing and has limited exposure so I would not expect fading to be a considerable issue for you. However, it would be fair to say that any areas more exposed to the sunlight will fade quicker than the more hidden areas. To maintain an even look to the wood it will be best to have all wood exposed equally and maybe turn the table every so often.

    And finally in regards to pads for the table, I would not expect the heat to be an issue with the table legs, if oiled this will help to prevent drying out. The pads may help prevent possible scratches occurring during movement of the table and so although they will give some benefit may not be necessary. It is worth checking with the company who installed the under floor heating to see if they have any recommendations.

    I hope that help and covers all you inquiries , if there is anything further that I can help with please do let me know. Always try a test area first.

    Kind regards Samantha

  269. Linda Bailey Says:

    We have a piece of light oak furniture in the hall which has what I assume are water stains on the top and drawer fronts. I don’t know if it was oiled or waxed when we bought it. Is there any way of removing or covering the stains? I thought perhaps waxing would make the piece of furniture slightly darker and therefore make the stains less noticeable? Or perhaps oil would be better?

  270. Sam Says:

    Hello Linda,

    There are a couple of tests that you can carry out to help determine what is currently on there. The first is to put a small drop of oil, somewhere inconspicuous and leave it for 30 mins to an hour. If it remains unmoved then you are likely to have a varnish on the wood. If it moves or soaks in then you are likely to have an oil on it. You can also scrape a nail on the surface somewhere inconspicuous and see if any product comes away or it scratches easily this will indicate that you may have a wax on there.

    Once you have established this I can give you further advice on how to move forward with your project. If its easier you can email me at wood@finishes.direct, reminding me of this post and any photos you may wish to add along with your test results. And I will be happy to help you further.

    All the Best Samantha.

  271. Samantha Colyer Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for great information centre, tho I admit I couldn’t find that I needed after reading 50 or so posts, so figured I’d just ask. We have had fitted 5 beautiful oak fire rated doors. However I have 3 clumsy and boisterous children and I would like to know how make the doors child proof! Kids prams, dinosaurs and lego wars I’m afraid are going to damage the doors. Can you recommend anything treat the doors with please. Also we have oak tread stairs, what would recommend do these? All new wood. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, your namesake! Sam

  272. Sam Says:

    Hi Sam,

    I know that feeling, kids have a way of leaving fingerprints in the most unusual places. There are two options here and which one will depend on your needs. A varnish will give a tough surface seal to the wood that will last longer and be easy to clean. If the seal breaks however it is difficult to patch repair and would need sanding back and re varnishing.

    The alternative and still a very durable finish is a Hard Wax Oil this soaks into the surface of the wood and leaves it looking and feeling very natural. It is still easy to clean and the benefit of this product is any marks, scratches or stains that may occur are very easily patch repaired. Simply sand the effected area and re oil. It will blend well.

    Both products have benefits and both will be suitable doors and stairs. It worth watching some of our You Tube videos >>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-tgwbsUxm73aVnAjLGHRA for some products advice and tips on application processes but feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  273. Jess Says:

    I have just had a brand new solid oak front door made. It obviously is in its raw state with no product yet applied. Can you tell me what I need to use to protect it? I have had new pvc oak windows fitted and would like the front door to blend with these.
    Many thanks

  274. Sam Says:

    Hello Jess,

    Thank you for getting in touch. I always recommend a Preservative first and we have a wide range of products to choose from. If you are looking for a clear natural finish then I would recommend a basecoat of WR Basecoat to protect from mould, mildew and rot. And then a top coat of UV Protection Oil Extra to give water repellency and help to prevent the natural silvering process.

    If you have a read up of these products and see if they are suitable for your needs. And if you have any further questions, I am here to help.

    All the Best Samantha.

  275. John Says:

    I am restoring a garden bench. Cast iron ends have been media-blasted and painted. I have prepared oak slats/staves which have been sanded to 240 grit but can be ‘un-sanded’ to 120 if required! I want to retain the natural oak colour. I read your suggestion above but I don’t need a 5 litre clear wood preservative. What would you suggest I use that can be supplied in say 750ml? I will also use the Osmo uv oil as I love their products. Thanks, John

  276. Sam Says:

    Hello John,

    The Osmo WR Basecoat would be an ideal option for you. It is available in a 750 ml tin and will work well with the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra. If you take a look at the products and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions I can help with.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  277. Jamie Says:

    I have built flower beds in the garden with upright and flat laying oak beams. They are untreated and I was surprised by how good the garden looks! They have been in over winter and are now turning gray and developing dark areas. Having put so much work in I’m now paranoid about the wood rotting and not lasting for the years and years I’m hoping to stay in the house.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on whether or not I should perhaps pull back the soil and line the beds with plastic to keep the soil/moisture away from the wood.
    And also am I write in thinking the best way to now treat the wood would be with a fungicidal wash, then perhaps a restorer to bring back some of the colour, then with a clear coat, then a uv protection? I’d love to upload a pic but I can t 🙁

  278. Sam Says:

    Hello Jamie,

    Its a common question and there is no right or wrong way to protect the wood, just giving the wood the best chance possible is is better than doing nothing at all. So a membrane will help for sure. Nearly all wood damage is the result of moisture ingress into the wood. This causes mould and mildew and long term it causes rot. The membrane will keep most moisture away from the wood surface, however can cause an issues if moisture gets trapped behind the membrane. This is likely to be far less than when there is direct contact with the soil however.

    Also treating the wood with a preservative will help to prevent mould mildew and rot, and the ends can be soaked in this. And a top coat of the Osmo Protection Oil Extra will help to prevent silvering and give extra water repellency to the exposed areas of the wood. This oil only requires very thin application.

    Keep the oil topped up regularly will help to maintain the wood. I hope this helps and if you have any further questions or would like to send any photos the email address is wood@finish.direct FAO Sam.

    All the Best Samantha

  279. Tessa Says:

    Please Help! I have (had?) a pale, stripped oak school desk that is very precious to me, and my husband randomly decided while I was away that it was “looking a bit pale and flaky” and wiped it down with sunflower oil. Yes, you read that right. Sunflower oil.

    It is now a hideous orangey-tan colour, with darker patches here and there. Is there anything I can do to save my desk?

  280. Sam Says:

    Hi Tessa,

    Naughty Husband !! did the desk have any other treatment on it originally ? If not then you could try wiping the surface down lightly with some White Spirits or lightly and back to bare wood.

    Carry out a test area first, if there is anything from the original state of the desk that you do not wish to remove then take care with the spirits. Or if you are unsure feel free to send me a photo to wood@finishes.direct and we can go from there.

    All the Best Samantha.

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