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Which oil do we use?

Linseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is one of the most popular wood finishes in the world. Like other hand-scrubbed oil finishes, linseed oil penetrates deep into the wood grain, protecting against scratches and humidity fluctuations. It is easy to care for, environmentally friendly and creates a satin-matt surface that really brings out the color and grain of the underlying wood.

Linseed oil has often been replaced by synthetic alkyd resins (varnishes, polyurethanes and glazes) in recent decades, but has recently been on the rise again, mainly due to its non-toxic and environmentally friendly properties. Unlike these synthetic alkyd resins, oil varnishes - including linseed oil - penetrate the grain of the wood instead of forming a film on the wood.

Common Uses of Linseed Oil
We know linseed oil as a popular wood finish, but it has several other uses. Some of the most common uses of flaxseed oil are:

  • as a finish to preserve wood products, especially those that come into contact with food (e.g. chopping boards, wooden bowls, etc.)
  • as a dietary supplement with many health benefits
  • as an additive in oil paints to improve color and workability
  • as a means of cleaning brushes
  • as a polishing and rust inhibitor for metals

Pros and cons of linseed oil as a wood finish

Advantages

  • Brings out the depth of color and structure of the wood grain
  • Scratches and dents can easily be sanded out
  • Non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • Penetrates deep into the grain and protects well against humidity fluctuations
  • Can be used in conjunction with other finishes such as wax to further protect the wooden furniture


Disadvantages

  • Requires occasional re-oiling
  • Vulnerable to water rings
  • The wood is more prone to scratches than a varnish or stain (however, hard coats are more prone to surface scratches which are more difficult to repair)
  • Slightly yellows over time
  • Fluctuations in temperature or humidity can cause the wood to "leak" oil.
  • Susceptible to staining when colored liquids penetrate the wood

Linseed Oil vs. Danish Oil vs. Tung Oil
As already mentioned, there are different types of linseed oil. Raw, polymerized, and cooked flaxseed oil are all derived from the flaxseed plant, but are processed to varying degrees. As a wood finish, linseed oil is often compared to Danish oil and tung oil.

Both tung oil and Danish oil are terms that are often misused and misunderstood.

Tung oil is another popular wood finish derived from the seeds of the tung tree. Native to East Asia, it has been used as a wood finish for thousands of years. Pure tung oil dries faster than raw linseed oil and does not have the same yellowing effect, making it a good substitute for linseed oil on maple furniture. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and food safe. It also dries to a much tougher finish than linseed oil and is more water resistant. Tung oil typically takes 5 or more coats to fully saturate and protect the wood furniture. We recommend using 100% pure tung oil as it is often sold as a blend with other compounds.

Danish oil is difficult to define. There is no uniform composition for Danish oil. It's basically a catch-all for any type of hand rubbed finish that isn't 100% pure. Danish oil often contains tung oil or linseed oil along with various other ingredients - thickeners, thinners, drying agents, binders and more. Typically, a Danish oil finish is a mixture of some type of varnish and either tung oil or linseed oil.

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