What are Wood Oils and Where are They Best Used?


There’s a lot of confusion about how, when and where to use wood oils. It’s no surprise really, when there are so many to choose from: Teak oil, Tung oil, Danish oil, Oak furniture oil and many more, some of which are specifically designed for certain types of wood.

We thought it’d be helpful to take a look at wood oils and how to use them, and answer some of the most common questions on the subject.

First, what is wood oil?

Oil is one of the most popular ways to finish wood. The protection delivered by oils isn’t quite as robust and effective as contemporary wood finishing products like varnishes. But on the plus side, oils tend to bring out the character of the wood better, they’re made of natural products, plus they’re very easy to apply and maintain.

Osmo Top Oil on Kitchen Worktop

Types of wood oil and how to use them

Danish oil and Teak oil dry faster than linseed oil, which is traditionally used on willow cricket bats. The finish they provide is also much more resilient.

If your wood already has linseed oil on it, it’s best to carry on using it. But if it’s a new project, something that hasn’t been oiled before, steer clear of linseed oil. While Teak oil delivers a slight sheen, Danish oil leaves a more lustrous finish. As you can imagine,  Ronseal Teak Oil is a firm favourite with our customers.

  • Apply Danish and Teak oil with a soft brush or cloth, being careful not to use too much at a time or it won’t sink in. Sand the wood in between coats with a fine sandpaper. You will probably find 3 or 4 coats of oil is your optimum, delivering the best results.

Standard linseed oil takes ages to dry, at least two or three days per coat, and you need multiple coats when applying it to new wood, normally three to five coats but in some cases, as many as fifteen to twenty coats can be applied. Boiled linseed oil, on the other hand, ‘only’ takes a day to dry.  But neither are suitable for outdoor wood.

  • Apply the oil with a cloth and rub it in well. Leave a day between coats and once you’re happy with the finish, buff it to a lovely sheen with a soft cloth
An example of wood oil beading.

Mineral oil is actually a very effective laxative, which you should be able to buy at your local chemist. While it doesn’t give you the same sheen as the other oils we’ve talked about, it’s perfect for things like kitchen chopping boards where you need a non-toxic finish.

Tung oil is thought by many to be the finest natural finish for wood, with its legendary performance and stunning end results. As the Tung Oil website says:

“In over 100 years of development of synthetic resins and varnishes, no one has developed a coating that surpasses the overall performance of natural tung oil.
Tung oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the Tung tree (Vernicia fordii). As a drying oil, Tung oil dries upon exposure to air. The resulting coating is transparent, waterproof, and flexible, a property exploited in most of its applications, which include wood finishing and the composition of traditional oil paints, caulks, mortar and India ink. Tung oil is used on wooden toys as it is naturally non-toxic when dry and is not affected by mould like linseed oil. Tung oil is able to move and flex as wooden surfaces expand and contract with age and changing temperature.
The Chinese have utilised the properties of Tung oil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for caulking and painting of their boats, treating leather and waterproofing paper and cloth.”
The Tung tree originated in central and southern China, concentrated around the Yangtse River, and it appears in the writings of Confucius from about 400 B.C.

You need to apply Tung oil using a special method called wet-on-wet burnishing, more complex and involved than many other oil application methods. Most amateurs find this process difficult. While you apply Tung oil just like linseed oil, you need to sand the surface after each application of oil and it usually takes at least 3-5 coats plus 2-3 days drying time in between each coat. If you’d like to attempt it, here’s an excellent video…

What is the difference between a wood oil and a varnish?

Oil is a natural product. Oils cure slowly and penetrate into the surface of the wood. Multiple coatings can be applied until the wood is unable to absorb any more. Additional coats can be applied if desired to create a surface build or coating of oil. Varnish is a synthetic product made by cooking a natural oil like linseed oil, Tung oil or even soya oil with a resin like polyurethane. It’s used to build up layers on the surface of the wood to create a plastic-like coating that gives a hard wearing, protective finish or seal to floors and other wooden surfaces.

Can I varnish over wood oil?

In short, the answer is ‘No’. Because most modern varnishes are water-based, they are generally not compatible with oiled surfaces. The easy way to think of this is having water and oil in a frying pan – try to mix them and they separate. If a water-based varnish is applied on top of an oiled surface, it’s highly likely that it will not bond with the wood and will therefore peel off very quickly. Some types of varnish can be applied over an oiled surface but the process is difficult and needs specific primers and varnishes to achieve this.

The easiest approach to varnishing a previously oiled floor is to use a floor sander to remove the surface of the wood, including the wood oil. Wood oils never penetrate more than a couple of microns into the surface of the timber so it won’t require too much sanding to get back to clean, bare wood.

What is the best oil for Oak furniture?

  • Oiling Oak worktops provides the best finish. It adds more depth and character than varnishes and lacquers, is easy to work with, and provides a water-resistant finish.
  • For other interior Oak, an Oak furniture oil like Danish oil is a popular choice for preventing stains and cracking and providing a beautiful, lustrous finish.
  • Danish oil makes an excellent wood floor oil, but modern proprietary products are sometimes easier to work with. If you’d like advice from the experts, feel free to call us.
  • A common question is ‘What is the best outdoor furniture oil?’ We recommend using a high quality Teak oil or other specialist garden furniture oil to protect wooden garden furniture.

Can I use olive oil on wood furniture?

Yes, you can. Use a cloth to work the oil into the wood grain, rubbing back and forth. When the wood has absorbed the oil, leave it for ten minutes then wipe the excess off with a clean cloth. Untreated wood tends to take 2-3 coats, but if you’re unsure just stop when the wood stops absorbing the oil.

Although vegetable and other natural oils can be used, we would always recommend using a dedicated furniture oil as these contain a specially formulated blend of oils and resins, which provide additional durability and wear resistance. A great wood oil that can be used on most types of wooden furniture is clear Osmo Polyx Oil, or if additional colour of a stain is required, we recommend  Osmo Polyx Oil Tints.

What is the difference between decking oil, decking preservative, decking paint and decking stain?

  • Decking oil penetrates into the surface of the wood, protecting it from cracking splitting and warping, it also helps to repel rain and moisture. Available in clear and coloured variants.
  • Decking stains are usually a coloured varnish-like coating that sit on top of the wood to provide colour and protection.
  • Decking preservative is usually a spirit-based preserver that penetrates into the wood to protect against mould, algae, dry rot and insect attack, depending on the product you’re using. Many spirit-based wood preservatives are available in a range of colours that can be over-coated with a clear decking oil.
  • Decking paint sits on the surface of the wood and helps keep moisture out. Decking paints are very similar to decking stains in that the paint produces a surface coating that sits on top of the decking timber.

Is there a substitute for linseed oil on a cricket bat?

Yes, but most cricket experts believe you can’t beat raw linseed oil. For a new bat with no finish, apply at least two coats of raw linseed oil to the front, back, edges and toe, using a soft rag. The face and edges of the bat should be rubbed down with fine sandpaper every 3-4 weeks during the cricket season and a light coat of linseed oil re-applied. When it has sunk in, wipe off the excess then buff your bat to a sheen using a clean cloth.

How do I refinish olive wood bowls?

If you’re using the bowls to store or present food, never use a vegetable oil. All you’ll get is a horrible smelly, sticky finish. Use a colourless, odour-free, light mineral oil instead, a safe and popular by-product of petroleum.

Olive bowl finished with wood oil

Tips for using wood oils safely and effectively

  1. If you want to stain the wood before you oil it, use a water-based stain. If you use an oil-based stain, it’ll block the pores in the wood and prevent the oil from doing its job properly.
  2. Never, ever leave an oily cloth rolled up. It can easily generate heat and catch fire. Dry it flat outdoors before storing it or chucking it in the bin.

Need help with choosing the right wood oil?

Do you have any questions about interior or exterior wood oils? We’ll be more than happy to answer them. Just get in touch. Alternatively, visit our FAQ page for any and all wood oil-related queries.

We love to see before, during and after photos of any wood finishing project. If you would like to share your decking project pictures with us, you can either send us some photos or share on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages.

Some of our other great oil related posts

  • Traditional Wood Oils: 3 of the Best
  • Which is the Best Wood Oil for Wooden Worktops

    1. Hello,

      Thank your this helpful blog. I’ve bought iroko kitchen worktops and plan to oil both sides before they are cut and fitted. What would you recommend to deepen the colour and provide the greatest water resistance? Also what is the best product for general cleaning afterwards?

      Many thanks in advance,


      • Good Morning Ellie,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your question. Its great that you are able to apply products before the worktop is installed. This will give an even all over protection to the wood and reduce the chance of any warping over time, although generally warping will always be rare when it comes to most worktops.

        Iroko is a tropical hardwood with a naturally high oil content to start with. I would recommend starting with a good wipe down with Methylated Spirits first, this will remove some surface residual oil and prepare the wood for application of a finishing treatment.

        For sink areas and areas that are susceptible to moisture, I would recommend the Osmo Wood Protector this is a base coat product that boosts the protection and durability of the wood. Then follow this with two thin coats of the Wood Wax Finish Extra Thin this is a slightly thinner oil suited for use on wood such as your, but still gives a superior moisture repellent finish.

        Both products will slightly darken the wood and you are able to get an idea of this by wiping over the bare wood with a damp cloth, this darkening will be close to that of an oil. Sample sizes of the products are also available however and test areas are recommended.

        If you take a look at those products and feel free to get back to me if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    2. I am just completing making a book case of Sapele. I’ve ready many blogs including yours and cannot decide whether to use Danish Oil, a Poly wax or pure Tung Oil. If you recommend Danish Oil My local store only has Rustons Danish oils but I don’t know what it contains.

      • Hello Anthony,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. Sapele being a hard wood will benefit from a slightly thinner oil being applied, Barrettine Teak Oil will be suitable for your project, it will nourish and enhance the wood.

        Its fair to say that both Morrells Tung Oil and Rustins Danish Oil would also be suitable as will although the Tung oil tends to be use for Kitchen finishes and Danish will vary from brand to brand.

        Osmo Polyx Oil is also another option to consider and will be more durable and longer lasting than the other oil with less maintenance required, however it is about which oil will absorb best with the Sapele, you do not want the oil to dry on the surface, you need it to soak in to protect the wood.

        Test area are vital to ensure you get the look you want and also to ensure the oil absorbs well into the wood. If you have any questions at all please do let me know via our contact us page.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    3. Hello Samantha. Further to my pending enquiry about the finish for my outdoor horse chestnut table top, I am wondering if Osmo UV Protection Clear would work? It tends to have a white finish which would be OK I think. However, do you know why it is only recommended for vertical surfaces? Thanks again, John

      • Hello John,

        Good to hear from you again, I have answered your query about the Horse Chestnut table and . Osmo do not like recommending this product for horizontal surfaces as these areas can be exposed to standing water, and this will damage the treatment fairly quickly resulting in the wood silvering quicker.

        As long as regular maintenance is kept up then this product is still a good option. The 429 Natural will have some white pigment in it to counteract the darkening impact of a clear oil. On darker wood this will show up as slightly milky or if the oil is over applied.

        To avoid the milky finish there is the 420 clear, this one will darken the wood however. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    4. Hello,

      I have recently purchased two unfinished solid oak doors which I will be using internally within bedroom and ensuite bathroom. I would like to retain the natural look of the wood without too much of a glossy finish, however want to know which product is best considering bathroom will have more exposure to steam although as a guest room this will not be excessive.

      Great website, thanks for advice.


      • Hello Mike,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. For a natural look and feel I would recommend the Osmo Door Oil it penetrates the surface of the wood and dries hard to give a protective moisture repellent finish. It will darken the wood slightly to give what we call the ‘wet look’.

        For the bathroom door I would also recommend the application of the Osmo Wood Protector before the oil. This gives added protection against moisture and will help to prevent blue stain.

        If you take a look at these products and feel free to get back to me if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    5. Hi I have recently purchased an outdoor table made of Garuga. It is natural uncoated finish and I’m wondering what is the best product to use to protect it from from food and drink stains.

      It is undercover and I don’t want to change the natural light colour



      • Good Morning Kevin,

        That is not a species of wood that gets mentioned very often, I believe it is a tropical Hardwood and the heartwood will be reddish in appearance. As it is a tropical hardwood it is also possible that it will have a naturally high moisture content and a tight grain, these are factors that will need considering when choosing the right product.

        A slightly thinner oil should be considered for easier penetration of the woods surface and a good option for this is the Osmo Decking Oil although marketed for decking is versatile enough to use on a wide range of exterior projects, including your table and a little will go a long way. Depending on the size of your table you may get away with 1 or 2 of the 125ml sample tins. This oil will darken the wood slightly however and you are able to get an idea of how much by wiping the bare surface of the wood with a damp cloth. ‘
        There is a product that is designed to counteract this darkening however your wood may be too dark or red to take it

        If you take a look at the decking Oil and feel free to get back to me with any questions that you have. Always try a test area first.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    6. Hello,

      I bought some raw beech veneer, ironed it onto some plywood and stained it. I then applied a clear varnish from homebase made specially for this purpose, but I am not happy with the finish. i have applied 3 coast as instructed but I was hoping for a hard smooth finish, almost a ‘layer’ on top of the stained veneer – but what I have is a slightly rough still slightly raw wood type finish, like the varnish has just gone into the veneer and isn’t providing a coating on top.

      I’m totally happy with the wood stain colouring etc, but wondered if you could direct me to a product that could be applied on top of this varnish I’ve used which will provide this solid coating. These are to create commercial finish samples for contract furniture.

      Many thanks,


      • Good Morning Melissa,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. Can you get in touch via our contact us page, with details of how you applied the varnish and if you denibbed between coats and what with ? And some more details of the actual varnish , was it water or solvent based?

        We have a great video on our You Tube Channel >> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7-tgwbsUxm73aVnAjLGHRA?view_as=subscriber that will help with getting a smooth and even finish.
        Denibbing between coats helps to give a far superior finish to the wood along with the application method.

        I look forward to hearing from you.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    7. I have bought internal oak vaneer doors and was advised by my builder to use linseed oil to finish them. However this has made them a lot darker is there another oil I can use that won’t make them as dark and stay more similar to there natural colour?

      • Good morning Sarah,

        We have a great range of oils that can be used on doors and for the most untouched look that still gives the best protection you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural This is a very durable finish that has a minute amount of white pigment in it to counteract the darkening impact you get from a clear oil. It is ideal for use on light to mid toned woods, dark woods can result in a milky effect finish. And so a test area is vital, this will show if there are any issues with applying the oil to the oak and that you will like the colour to be achieved.

        You may also want to double check any paper work that comes with the doors, manufacturers often recommend against oils or stains on veneered finishes as they believe there is a risk to the adhesive under the veneer. Although we have never had any reports of this occurring it is best to check as the use of non recommended products may invalidate any guarantee you will have with your door.

        If this is the case than you can get back in touch for some alternate products via our contact us page, or if you have any further questions please do let me know

        Kind regards Samantha.

    8. Hi team, thank you for offering this help! I have some sanded pine floors which I have stained and now want to oil. Which would be better for flooring, Danish oil or Osmo oil? I want a soft quite Matt finish so I don’t want to varnish these but both danish oil and Osmo oil sound like they would work fine. Is one better than the other for flooring?

      Many thanks,

      • God Afternoon Sarah,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I would always recommend the Osmo Polyx Oil over a Danish Oil. The Osmo dries to a hard and protective finish that will far outlast any Danish oil finish. It requires less maintenance and is easy to repair should the need arise.

        Danish Oil is suitable for flooring but will require a fresh coat around every 6 months to keep up appearance and protection.

        For more advice or to order feel free to call our friendly team on 01303 213 838.

        Kindest Regards Samantha.

    9. Great blog

      I have some large yew logs. One log has been split down and I am hand craving one piece into a bowl. Once I have the finished bowl I am unsure what product is the best to reduce the splitting, preserve the wood and retain the natural red in the wood. Any chance of some advice?

      • Good Afternoon Wayne,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. You will need to allow the wood to dry out a little before application and then an oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil is a great choice. You will only need a couple of sample sachets or the 125 ml tin as a little goes a long way, it requires just two thin coats for application. It is food safe once cured and will help to prevent cracking in the wood, it will not stop it, if the wood is going to shift a lot as it dries, but it will certainly help to nourish the wood and reduce the chances or cracking.

        If you take a look at the Polyx and feel free to get back to me with any questions you may have. Always do a test area first.

        Kind regards Samantha

    10. Hi there, I have a vintage teak mid century dining table and unfortunately while I had friends staying they spilt coffee under a table mat and they didn’t notice, when I got home and noticed there was of course an enormous stain the size of the table mat! I scrubbed it with detergent for a couple of hours last night and this morning the whole area is pale from where I’ve scrubbed it. I think I got the stain out but now need to re-oil it. When I put water on it looks perfect. My question is which type of oil considering I have no idea what the rest of the table uses? Linseed, teak, something else? Thanks

      • Good Afternoon Hollie,

        The fact that it looks right when you have applied the water indicates that a clear product is what you need. And for the small area that you have got to cover one or two sample sachet of Osmo Polyx Oil will be enough to cover the area effected This is a durable and hard wearing oil and I would recommend a small test area first to see how well it goes with the rest of the table.

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

        Kind regards Samantha.

    11. Good afternoon,

      I am currently researching into an effective sealant for exterior shou sugi ban finished wood. I have come across recommendations to use boiled linseed oil. The hesitation I have with this is the VOC intensity of the additives used to help reduce the curing period. There are companies such as Tried & True which provide natural based BLO products giving an ecologically friendly finish. However, they carry a high price tag with them – whether it is worth it is the question here. Also, BLO isn’t typically recommended for exterior wood but perhaps alongside the shou sugi ban protection this would give ample finish to the timber. The reason I want to seal these is because I am looking to use them as tables and benches and therefore wouldn’t want people to sit and get a sooty bum!

      Anyway, some advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

      Many thanks

      • Hello Tian,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry.

        I can make a few recommendations, however these will come with no guarantees as the products have not been tested for use on this method of treating and preserving the wood, although it is becoming more popular.

        I am going to recommend a decking oil from Barrettine Decking Oil as a possibility and also the Osmo Decking Oil to consider as there is a black in this range. Test areas are strongly recommended to ensure you like the finish but also that the wood will take the oil with out issue.

        I hope that helps and feel free to get back to me with any questions or to let me know how you are getting on.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    12. Hello

      Just sanded a pine kitchen table and am now looking to oil it. It needs to be food-safe.
      I have some polyx-oil raw left over from doing a floor. Will that be OK for the table?

      Thank you.

      • Good Morning Matthew,

        I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I can confirm the the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw is suitable for use on a worktop, it is food safe once dry and will give a natural look and feel to the wood, whilst protecting from moisture ingress and stains.

        Very thin application is required with this product and a test area is always recommended first to ensure the product works well for your project and that you like the finish that will be achieved.

        If there is anything further that I can help with please do not hesitate to get in touch contact us page and I will be happy to help.

        Warmest regards Samantha.

    13. Crazy question, have a very large Oak Cookie 48″ x 50″ x 4″. People have suggested all sorts of things to prevent cracking from wax to sucrose solution to pentacryl. Would Danish oil perhaps work? I was given a large jug of the oil and would like to use it and pentacryl is quite expensive and would like to try something a bit more affordable.



      • Hello Tom,

        If the piece of Oak is freshly cut and still ‘ Green’ then it will natural shrink and crack, there is not really any product that will be able to prevent this from occurring. It is the natural process of drying out wood. Applying Oils may reduce cracking and keep the wood nourished, but if the wood still needs to dry out then sealing it will trap moisture in and can cause damage further down the line.

        For Green Oak we do not recommend a finish. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    14. Have new screen room with shiplap rough sawn cedar ceiling and cedar decking floor boards. I like the color variation of the cedar with the white streaks and darker areas contrasting. I would like something that would “clear coat”, but if it were to darken somewhat that would be fine, I just don’t what everything going black. I am considering teak oil or tung oil, what do you think? Also, please comment on the rough sawn surface, it would seam that might make the wiping off step more difficult, and sanding between coats nearly fruitless?

      • Hello Mark,

        Can you send me some photos of these areas, I am not entirely sure what you mean by white streaks and what these are ? And can you tell me if there is any finish on there currently? this will help to narrow down some suitable options for you. You can email me directly at wood@finishes.direct

        Kind regards Samantha.

    15. Hello!

      Just stumbled across your feed and hoping you can help me out…

      I purchased a beautiful (and terribly expensive) 2.4 meter Acacia wood dining table and I am petrified to let anyone near it as the wood hasn’t been oiled or waxed and as the wood is light, I fear for water marks and stains.

      Like Maggie above, I am looking to protect the surface but also want to preserve the natural color (and texture?) of the wood. Can you recommend what oil I should use and if I should be using a brush or cloth to apply?

      Thanks a trillion in advance!


      • Good Afternoon Kara,

        Do not worry, I am happy to help you find the right product, the Fiddes Hard Wax oil Natural is a good starting point as it is designed to offer a great level of protection whilst maintaining that untouched look. It is available in sample size and so I would recommend this first to ensure you will like the way that it looks and that it will not change the wood.

        Acacia wood can be quite dark in tone and this is where you will have to take care and the test area is vital. The oil may need working well into the wood to avoid any white residue from showing and any excess removed. If the white residue does show through and you do not like this finish then the alternative is to use a wax. Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish this will not give as much protection as the oil but will barely change the wood, in terms of colour, and can be re coated as often as you would like to refresh.

        In terms of application for the oil a brush is best as you can use it to really work the oil into the wood, and then a lint free cloth to remove any excess. For the wax you can use a cloth for application and buffing up to shine if required.

        If you take a look at these two and feel free to come back to me with any questions that you may have via out contact page.

        Warmest regards Samantha.

    16. Hi there,

      I’ve just bought a beautiful mid-century oak dining table at a local thrift store and I want to sand back the varnish and stain to get to the raw oak. I’m looking for an oil product that I can use on the wood to protect it but will not change the color, staying as close to the natural colors of the wood as possible (giving it that antique farmhouse style charm).

      What oils would you recommend?

      Thank you!

      • Good Afternoon Maggie,

        I can recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this is a protective oil that contains a minute amount of white pigment to give the most untouched finish. I would recommend a test are a first to ensure that you are getting the finish that you want.

        This oil requires just two thin coats for a durable and moisture resistant finish. If you would like to have a read up of the products and feel free to get back to me with any questions you may have.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    17. Hi,

      I have several Siberian Elm cookies that I am making into end tables. I was thinking of using Danish oil to bring out the unique rings however I wouldn’t be able to use a polyurethane to protect from spills. What do you suggest I use?


      • Good afternoon Annette,

        Oils and Varnishes are not compatible products and so can not be used together. Varnish is a surface seal that gives a better level of protection and will last longer. It can be difficult to maintain or repair over time however.

        Danish Oil will give a more natural look and feel and reasonable level of protection. A Hard Wax Oil will give a much more durable and long lasting finish in its own right and does not require any top coat finish. It is easy to maintain over time by simply applying a fresh coat when needed.

        These are internal use products to be applied to bare dry wood. If you are looking for something exterior feel free to get back in touch to let me know and I can suggest some alternative products.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    18. I have been given two slices from an old yew tree and have made them into a coffee table with a central pillar of black poplar. The yew has sanded down beautifully to a very smooth finish (400 grit), showing up the lovely grain along with a range of colours from cream through browns and reds with even some purple streaking. I have also filled just a couple of spots with a cream-coloured epoxy filler that matches the outer wood very well.

      Now, what sort of finish would you recommend please? I prefer a satin rather than a high gloss, but am unsure which oil and /or preparation to apply that a) does not darken the wood unduly, and b) provides some protection against liquids. Also, what should I use on the black poplar, which appears to be quite soft? Does this require a conditioner if I decide to stain it? In its natural, sanded state it is a light fawn colour and I think would provide a nice contrast if it were darkened a little.

      Any advice will be much appreciated.

      • Hello John,

        Sounds like a great project! There are a couple of products that you could consider and for a natural look and feel a Hard Wax Oil is a good place to start. It will soak in to the surface of the wood and give a moisture and stain repellent protective finish. It will highlight and enhance the grain and colours that you have in the wood and I would strongly recommend a test area first to ensure you like the effect it will have on the wood. It will darken the wood slightly also.

        The other alternative and for a more durable finish you could have a look at the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish and we have a video on our YouTube Channel of our own Yew Table being made. It is with a high gloss but the principle of application would be the same.

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

        Kindest regards Samantha.

    19. Hi Samantha,

      I have acquired a large slab of English Ash which I intend to use as a dining table. I am about to start the sanding process but what oil would recommend to finishing please?



      • Hello Jack,

        Thank you for your enquiry, a good option is the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. It is a good product to consider, food safe, durable and easy to apply, clean and maintain. And all that is required is two thin coats for application.

        I would recommend a test area first as this will ensure firstly that you like the finish that will be achieved and also that there are no issues with application of this particular product. A clear oil will slightly darken the tone of the wood and enhance the grain and you are able to get an idea of this by wiping a damp cloth over the surface of the wood.

        If you find this to be too dark then the alternate option is the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this one contains a minute amount of white pigment to counteract the darkening you get with a clear oil.

        If you have a look at the recommendations and feel free to get back to me if you have any further questions. Always try a test area first.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    20. I have just had a conservatory installed which has african hardwood horizontal surfaces, on the interior. The glazing has some UV protection. I want to maintain a matte/natural appearance on the horizontal surfaces. Please recommend an oil, ideally low maintenance.
      regards rig

      • Good Afternoon,

        Thank you for getting in touch. One clear interior product that we have that offers UV protection is the Osmo Uviwax. It would be ideal for your project and is available in a sample tin size to do a test area first.

        Alternatively, applying a colour will give UV protection to the wood and the darker the colour the more the protection it will give. And for this you could have a look at Holzol Furniture Oil Tints. Two thin coats will give colour and protection in one.

        If you have a look at these and feel free to come back to me with any questions you may have. Always try a test area first.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    21. Hi guys,
      I make pictures out of wood. They have many layers and I use either wood stains or acrylic water paints. The overall finish is good but I want to paint one or if necessary, two coats of an oil that will make the colours vibrant and rich. Also it will bring out the lovely grain.
      The pictures are around 12″x15″ and may have several layers front to back.
      Any ideas which might be the best oil to use please?

      • Hello Roy,

        There are a number of products you can consider and so if you can give me a little more information that would be great. For example what is the wood that you are applying to? Do you want an opaque paint like finish or something a little transparent that shows the grain of the wood? If you email me and I can make some suggestions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    22. Hello what a great site! We have a coffee table we brought back from India, varnished fairly dark wood with white elephants inlaid (possibly bone).

      Over time the varnish has started flaming off and the wood is fading below it, would love to get rid of the varnish and bring out the natural colours in the wood, not sure how to do either? Thank you!

      • Hello Lorraine,

        To strip the varnish off I would recommend trying the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover. It’s a gel stripper that will make the varnish bubble up to be scrapped off with a Filler Knife. I would strongly recommend a small test area somewhere inconspicuous first to check that there is no adverse reaction.

        If this works and you are able to take the wood back to bare, you could consider an oil to bring out the natural tones and colour of the wood. It may be that it is a hardwood and so a thinner oil such as Osmo Extra Thin, which will be absorbed more easily into a tropical hard wood. Again test area is recommended. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    23. Hi, we’ve recently purchased a new home and it has a lovely contemporary wooden (I believe oak) staircase that is approximately 2years old. I have no idea how to care for the wood or the best product to use on it. I’m not even sure if it is varnished or not. It is going pale in places and also has tiny cracks appearing. Any advice would be much appreciated thanks.

      Kind regards,

      • Hello Wendy,

        Firstly are you able to send me any photos? Of the whole area and a close up of the cracks. There is also a small test that you can do that may help to determine what finish is currently on the wood. Leave a small drop of oil, olive or vegetable from the kitchen cupboard is fine, on an inconspicuous area and leave it for 30 minutes to an hour. If the oil remains unmoved you are likely to have a varnished finish and if the oil soaks in or moves then there is a good chance that it is finished with an oil.

        Email me with the photos and the results of the test to wood@finishes.direct and I can advice form there.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    24. Hi – excellent blog by the way – we are currently building a holiday cabin and want to leave the rough timber (spruce or larch) beams in the living room exposed. Trying to work out what will be the best treatment for them having been advised that many of the available oil products have too much ‘drier’ in them for rough timber. Just want to preserve as much of the natural colour as possible. Have you any advice?

      Thanks & regards Sheila

      • Hello Sheila,

        Wax is more often than not the recommended product for beams, as it is a natural finish that leaves the wood unchanged. It makes the beams easier to clean or dust and can be topped up when you feel the wood needs refreshing.

        As you have a rough wood you will need to take care with application. The wax can build up in crevices and dips leaving a milky residue, a Coarse Brush can help with this. Have a look and if you have any questions please do get in touch.

        All the Best Samantha.

    25. Hi,
      I have a beech laminated panel worktop which I intend to use as a desk surface. Can you offer any advice on what might be best to protect it with please in the way of oil?

      • Hello Seline,

        Thank you for your enquiry, can you tell me if it is a laminate or veneer ? Laminates are often a photo with a plastic seal on it made to look like wood where as a veneer is a slice of the wood and depending on the depth of the veneer may or may not be viable for an oiled finish.

        If you are able to email me with those details and also if you are looking for a natural or coloured finish and I can narrow down a selection of products that may suit your needs. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct

        Kind regards Samantha.

    26. Hi Sam,

      Wow, lots of information here. We have just installed a new exterior (factory painted) door with an unfinished mahogany threshold. How would you recommend we finish the threshold? The door faces south and is somewhat protected by an overhang. We live in an area with hot summer weather and snowy winters. Many thanks for your advice!

      • Good Afternoon Maria,

        Thresholds tend to wear quickly due to high traffic and not many products will stand up to or be recommend for use on thresholds. For bare wood, I recommend a Decking Oil as a good option, it will soak into the surface of the wood and will be easy to maintain and repair over time.

        Simply reapply a fresh coat when you feel the wood needs it. For exposed areas as you have suggested this is, then an annual top up would be adviced. I hope this helps and if you have a read up of the decking oil and let me know if you have any further questions. I am happy to help. Always try a test area first.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    27. Hi,
      We commissioned a local Amish woodworker to build a picnic table. Untreated fresh eastern US Larchwood was chosen for the material. We would like to know what type of finish would best preserve the wood for long term outdoor use, while still being as natural and Nontoxic as possible. Also what techniques are needed for “green” or raw wood. We’re ok with the natural color, as long as it doesn’t end up too red or yellow, in which case we would prefer a darker brownish-grayish weathered look. Low toxins and durability are our priorities though. Thank you!

      • Hello,

        Exterior Oil are good for these types of projects. The Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain is a range of natural coloured oils that help to make the wood water repellent and slow down the silvering process. osmo is a very environmentally friendly product and manufacturer. It can only be applied to bare wood and require two thin coats. It is also available in sample sizes.

        For green wood it is not recommended to apply treatment, generally green wood has a high moisture content and most treatments will not adhere or be absorbed. If you have a look at these products and come back to me if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    28. Thanks Sam,
      would I have to remove the OSMO first or could I just apply the ‘colour’ oil direct on top of the OSMO?

    29. Hi Sam, we purchased a garden furniture set last July(2016) and were recommended to apply OSMO uv protection oil 420 clear, which we applied 2 coats as recommended. Unfortunately the wood is losing its colour(actually started process after only a few months) and has started to silver in places and mould spots. I have read that you should only use the oSMO product on vertical surfaces? what would you suggest I do to refurb?

      • Hello Kevin,

        The UV Protection Oil from Osmo is a great treatment for exterior woods if you wish to have a clear finish. It will help to slow down the silvering and help to make the wood water repellent. Clear treatments do offer limited UV however and it would be fair to say that by applying a colour, even a slight one it will improve the UV protection. And like sunscreen for us with higher factors, the darker the colour the more the protection.

        If the wood is particularly exposed to the sun it will start to fade quicker. So regular top ups will help to hold off the silvering or applying a slightly tinted oil will help.

        For the mould I would recommend the Mould and Mildew Cleaner as a great option. And if there is anything further that I can help with please do let me know.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    30. Hi Sam, very informative site . I do not think that you have been asked these questions.
      I have two 17 year old exterior oak doors with oak frames. They have been treated with Danish oil periodically over this period ( probably not often enough) so that now in places, especially the frames, are patchy with some black cracks. The sills have gone grey with some cracks and the doors are speckled in some areas. I would like to restore them as much as possible.
      1. I have seen that oxalic acid is recommended as restoring oak. Is this the best option and will I need to strip back first.?
      2. Would Osmo uv protection oil be a better choice than Danish and Can you apply It over Danish oil treatment or is it best to strip back again. .
      3. What is the best method of dealing with the cracks that have blackened?

      • Hi Sam,

        Black can be an indication of mould from water ingress or it could be a reaction from the oak itself. If you would like to send any photos to wood@finishes.direct feel free. Give the wood a good clean and maybe sand to remove any stains. If the black is mould then the Mould and Mildew Cleaner is a good place to start.

        Once you have the wood clean and dry you can look at applying the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra. It is more durable and hard wearing than the traditional Danish Oil for sure. It requires two thin coats for application and may need topping up annually or bi annually, depending on exposure. Unlike Danish which requires far more regular maintenance.

        It would be wise to fill any cracks with wood filler to help prevent further water ingress and take care to maintain any horizontal sills that could be effected by standing water.

        I hope that helps and feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    31. Hi,

      I have outside bench seat recently made from beech (thick planks). What can you suggest to protect them from rot, mould, wood boring insects etc. I want to keep them looking as natural as possible, Thanks

      • Hello Tim,

        If the wood is bare then the first thing that I would recommend is a preservative to help prevent mould, mildew and rot.

        And then a protective oil such as Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra. This will help to make the wood moisture repellent and slow down the silvering process. The 429- Natural is designed to leave the wood looking as natural as possible and the 420 clear will darken very slightly.

        Regular maintenance of the oil will help to retain these protective properties.

        If you have a look at these products and feel free to come back to me if you have any questions. Always try a test area first.

        All the Best Samantha.

    32. I’ve just bought a length of new oak as an internal threshold to a new patio door and have received conflicting advice as to the best finish to apply.
      Most recommend Danish Oil, but others have suggested a brushing wax buffed up. I do not want a high gloss finish, a light sheen would be better, bearing in mind the ‘traffic’ over the threshold what would you suggest
      Many thanks

      • Hello Dave,

        As this is for a threshold, it needs to be something durable, able to withstand foot traffic. I would recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. It requires less coats that the Danish and is far more hard wearing. It will leave the wood looking and feeling very natural and it is likely that you will only need a small tin.

        If you have a read up of the product and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    33. Hi there

      I’ve recently bought some second hand garden furniture made from roble wood. It’s now been dipped to remove what was left of the original varnish and I was wondering what oil you’d recommend that I should apply and whether I should give the wood a light sanding first?

      Thanks in advance,

      • Hello Tim,

        It may be of some benefit to sand the wood with a 150 grit to ensure the wood is in good condition to accept the oil. And then once clean and dry the Teak Oil. This particular oil is slightly thinner and suited to hardwood with a tighter grain.

        An exterior oil will be easier to maintain and repair should the need arise. If you have a read of the products and feel free to let me know if there is anything further that I can help with.

        All the Best Samantha.

    34. Hi,
      Is it acceptable to use flooring oil on a new bare oak kitchen worktop?
      Also is it acceptable mix mix floor oil like Morels with tung oil to apply to furniture?

      • Hello Angus,

        I am not familiar with the Morrells Floor Oil but I would expect that to be more than suitable for the floor with out having to add any thing. For more advice you could give us a call on 01303 213838 and one of our advisers will be happy to help.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    35. Hi Sam,

      I have lots of opened olive oils in my kitchen.
      May I use the olive oil on my deck? If yes, could you tell me how to do it.
      Also may I use the decking stain after using the olive oil treatment?

      Thank you for your advise,

      Kind regards,

      • Hello Kim,

        I would not advise Olive Oil for a decking treatment, it will not be durable enough and is unlikely to last very long. There is also a chance that it will get mouldy on the surface of the wood or be effected by heat in the Summer. We have a wide range of decking treatments available on our website and you are welcome to call and speak to one of our friendly advisers who will be glad to offer help in choosing a decking treatment to suit your needs.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    36. I have acquired a teak patio set that is close to 30 years old and still structurally sound but desperately needs restoring. It weathered in the desert (lots of sun & low humidity) so the surface in some places is roughened and it was given entirely too much attention by neighborhood cats. It originally had some varnish or varathane(?) applied to the bench/chair arms, had been oiled at various stages with probably a variety of furniture oils.

      We live in forest country – no visiting cats here! – and I have the time and space to restore the set. I’ve power-washed it which got it pretty clean but . . . I am thinking the best thing now is to just sand it down to bare wood but once I’ve done that, then what? My husband loves the honey color of oiled teak – so no grey weathering. Also, we recently purchased another bench and small side table to add to the set and they are totally unfinished. I’d like the finish on the new and old to be as close to a match as possible. Suggestions?

      • Hello Kate,

        If you are able to get all the furniture back to bare wood then a good option will be the Garden Furniture Oil from Barrettine. A protective oil for new, untreated and weathered garden furniture, with low odour and easy application.

        Have a read up of the product and feel free to come back to me if you have any questions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    37. Hi, we just bought a new oak kitchen table. When we ordered it we were told that we would need to oil it regularly to maintain it which we were happy to do. Now that the the table has been delivered it came with a leaflet saying that it is a lacquer finish and that it should only be wiped with a dry cloth.

      How do we care for this table (which with two small kids will get a lot of abuse!)? Can we/should we oil it? Worst case we are considering putting a sheet of glass over the top to protect it.



      • Hello Stephen,

        A lacquer is very similar to a varnish in that it is a surface sealer. It should offer good protection but with out knowing which lacquer it is, I cannot comment. It is not possible to apply an oil over a lacquer as the oil needs to penetrate into the wood, the current finish will prevent this.

        You can see how you get on with the current finish an if it is durable enough. Or if you find that its not or you would like to change the finish, you can sand back to bare wood and choose a product such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. It’s a hard wearing and natural looking finish that is easy to maintain and repair over time.

        For marks and scrapes that can occur when you have children (I know all about that) the oil finishes are good to be patch repaired, simply sand back with a Finishing Pad, clean and then re-oil.

        I hope that helps and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    38. I need to order some Osmo extra thin teak oil to touch up a 35 year old elaborate hand carved teak table and legs.

      Where, how much for small quantity, and how. 3144844442

    39. Hi sam
      I’ve just brought a classic car with solid teak door caps that have began to lose the lacquer due to sunlight I’ve sanded one and done the olive oil test and it’s soaked in what’s the best oil to apply to give a deep finish

      • Hi Steve,

        Can you tell me if these caps are inside the car ? Sorry, not an expert on classic cars, but I will be happy to help if I know the location.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    40. We have had 3 Oak internal doors fitted in the kitchen and airing cupboard, we were told to use linseed oil but after reading this site we are not sure! So many different oils! We would like a matt / satin finish, not gloss. Sorry if this question has already been asked!
      Thank you for your help!

      • Hello Trudy,

        It can be difficult with so many variations on the market. The Linseed Oil is an option for sure. It will offer limited protection and good nourishment to the wood. It is easy to apply and you can add a number of layers. It does have a slow drying time however but for some this traditional oil is ideal.

        If you are looking for something that is a little quicker in drying time and requires less coats then the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is a great option. It is more durable and hard wearing, will last longer in terms of protection and still gives that natural look and feel to the wood.

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

        Kind regards Samantha.

      • Hello Rod,

        If you are applying to bare wood then you could consider the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. It’s very durable and will dry hard so not leeching or rubbing off in your hands. It is available in a 250ml sample tin and a little goes a long way.

        If it is a hardwood you may need to look at the Extra Thin Oil from Osmo to get a better absorption.

        If you have a read up of the product and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    41. Hello Sam

      I am going to install some French doors from one of the leading internet suppliers. The doors are oak veneered and will face south-west although in a fairly sheltered spot in southern England.

      The suppliers will provide the doors and frames in ‘unfinished’ or ‘treated’. The treated ones (which cost quite a lot more) are apparently varnished and are guaranteed for 3 years.

      My concern is that if I get the treated finish, it will eventually crack and peel off (probably after 3 1/2 years!).
      Would I be better getting ‘unfinished’ doors and treating them with oil? If so, which?

      Thanks for your very informative and helpful website.

      Regards – John

      • Hello John,

        I would tend to recommend an oil over a varnish for exterior finishes. The reason being as you say varnishes can tend to peel and flake over time. It would be fair to say that a varnish will last longer in terms of protection and durability than an oil, however once it comes to the end of life or gets damaged it is likely to need stripping off in order to retreat.

        With an Oil you can simply re apply a fresh coat if and when you feel that the wood needs it, without the need to strip it back to bare wood. You may also want to consider a preservative to protect against mould, mildew and rot before the application of an oil.

        If you have a read up of the products and do let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    42. Hi.. firstly may I say what a fabulously informative site this is. I have a pine dining room table which was untreated when I bought it and sustained some minor water damage following a leak through the ceiling above it. Having left the water to dry out over some months, the evidence of the leak still remains. What would be the best way to disguise these marks? I thought perhaps using an antique pine danish oil may work?

      • Hello Julie,

        There are a number of suggested ways to remove water stains, however I can not guarantee any of them as it is not something that we have tested here at Wood Finishes Direct. Generally these will only work for pale or white water stains but they are worth a go >>> Rub the area with an oily furniture polish, mayonnaise, or petroleum jelly, if this does not work try putting a little toothpaste on a wet cloth and rub the stain gently until the spot disappears. If the stain is still there, mix equal amounts of baking soda and toothpaste together to make a slightly stronger, yet still mild, abrasive and rub that mixture on the stain.

        Try all the above with care and although I cannot endorse these methods as such many people have recommended them on various forums and websites. If the stain is a dark colour then this means that the water has soaked deeper into the wood and is a little harder to remove. You will need to try sanding back to remove the stain. I hope that helps and feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    43. Hello,

      What a helpful site you have!

      I’ve just purchased a custom live edge wooden bench made of lovely reclaimed Yew. The wood has many different swirls and shades of colors. However in finishing the item, the furniture designer has used a heavy coat of natural oil which has tinted all the different shades of brown to various shades of orange. Can you please tell me what is the best way for me to restore the colors back to shades of brown?

      Thank you so so much!

      • Hello Lauran,

        To remove the current oil finish you can use White Spirit and a Finishing Pad. This should remove most of the oil. Any stubborn oil may need to be sanded out.

        Once back to bare wood I think you may need to leave to dry out for a few weeks and see how the wood looks. Do you know if the orange area is heart wood ? And what oil it was originally treated with ?

        I think in order to get a more brown finish to the wood, you will need to apply a stain such as Light Fast Stain. This will give a strong colour and should not raise the grain as a water-based stain may do. Test areas are very important, however, as the wood that you are applying to will have an impact on the overall colour that can be achieved. And the wood’s natural tones can be highlighted when treatment is applied.

        Once you have the desired colour then a top coat of clear oil can be applied to protect, but again a test area should be carried out to see how the oil impacts on the stain. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to let me know.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    44. Could you advise me please what product would be best to protect the interior walls and ceiling of a newly built pine cabin from fingermarks/general wear and tear etc. Would like as natural as possible finish.

      Many thanks

      • Hello Lynn,

        You could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. This oil soaks in to the surface of the wood and gives great durability and protection to the wood. It give a natural look and feel to the wood. And is easy to clean, maintain and repair over time. If you have a look at the product and our YouTube video and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    45. I have a pine table from Next which appears to have been stained with a furniture oil. I recently had an accident where a bottle of insect repellant containing deet leaked from the bottle. The liquid seems to have eaten through the finish on the table and caused a ring to appear underneath where the bottle was placed (my bad!). I created a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and placed it on the stain for a few seconds, before wiping away, in an attempt to remove any acid in the wood. Would it be possible to restore the table by touching the area up with some wood oil or would I have to strip back the entire surface? I was told a neutral colour furniture oil was used but the colour of the wood where the stain is doesn’t suggest this when compared to the colour surrounding it. I have pictures if this might assist. I would be greatly for any help and suggestions :o)

      • Hello Stephen,

        Generally oils are easy to patch repair, however it does help to have the original oil that the wood was treated with. If you are able to send some photos of the area to be treated/repaired and the whole table and I will happily take a look for you. You can email to wood@finishes.direct and I will see what I can recommend for you.

        All the Best Samantha.

    46. I am trying to get 1″x12″ rough sawn boards to look old and dark like old wooden barns or graineries. Is there a oil product that can be sprayed or brushed on? The boards will be used on a new barn that I am tying to make look old and more natural.

      • Hello Gene,

        We do often get asked about making new wood look old to make it fit in with surroundings and we have a number of products that can help with that. It will very much depend on the colour that you are hoping to achieve, but as a starting point I can recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. This product gives great protection whilst adding a colour to the wood.

        As the wood is rough sawn you may find application of this oil could be patchy which will help with the old look, also after it has dries, some sanding can help take away the freshly applied look. Another thing that is and option is to apply one colour first and then another over the top but leaving the underneath showing through in areas to give a worn effect. Test areas will be the key to getting the effect that you want.

        If little protection is needed for the wood, as in it is not flooring or furniture then you could also consider a coloured wax which can give a very natural look to the wood, or a water-based stain to achieve a washed out look.

        If you have a look at these product and feel free to ask me any further questions, I am happy to help.

        All the Best Samantha.

    47. I have quite a few pieces of G-Plan fresco furniture and I am tempted to restore them as they have a few scratches and slight water marks here and there. Would you kindly give me a step by step process on how I would attempt this and which oils you would recommend? Many thanks….

      • Hello Joanne,

        If its minor repairs that you are carrying out, small scratches then you could have a look at the Morrells Wax Filler Sticks which are ideal for small scratches. And for water marks, often a medium iron over a tea towel on the stain can draw out white rings caused by water marks, do take care when doing this and try a small test first to ensure no damage is caused and this would have to be done at you own risk.

        You are welcome to email me some photos to see what the damage is if you feel the above is not suitable. Our email address is wood@finishes.direct

        I will be happy to help further.

        All the Best Samantha.


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