Danish oil

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Danish oil is a wood finishing oil, made of either tung oil or polymerized linseed oil.

Danish oil is a hard drying oil, meaning it can polymerize into a solid form. It can be applied to provide a hard-wearing, water-resistant satin finish, or as a primer on bare wood before applying paint or varnish. It is a 'long oil' finish: a mixture of oil and varnish: typically around one third varnish and the rest predominantly of oil.[1][2] The oil is extracted from nuts, similar in size to a Brazil nut, growing on species of trees found mainly in China and some areas of South America. After processing the oil is blended with synthetic resins to improve hardness, and other vegetable oils. Driers and solvents are added to improve the performance and application properties.[3]


When applied in coats over wood, Danish oil cures to a hard satin finish that resists liquid well. As the finished coating is not glossy or slippery, it is a suitable finish for items such as food utensils or tool handles, giving some additional water resistance.[4]


Compared to varnish it is simple to apply, usually a course of three coats by brush or cloth with any excess being wiped off shortly after application. The finish is left to dry for around 4-24 hours between coats, depending on the mixture being used and the wood being treated. Danish oil provides a coverage of approx 12.5 sq. m/l (600 sq. ft./gallon).[5][6]

Spontaneous combustion[edit]

Rags used for Danish oil have some potential risk of spontaneous combustion and starting fires,[dubious ] so it is best to dry rags flat before disposing of them, or else soak them in water.[7]


  1. ^ Allen, Sam. Classic Finishing Techniques. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 0-8069-0513-1. 
  2. ^ Haynes, Williams (1946). "XIX: Materials for To-morrow". This Chemical Age. London: Secker and Warburg. p. 247. 
  3. ^ "Rustins - Danish oil datasheet" (pdf). Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Superior Danish Oil" (pdf). Liberon. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "What is Danish Oil? danish-oil.com - Danish Oil, protecting wood naturally". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Jackson, Albert; David Day (1996-10-03). Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-414005-2. 
  7. ^ "TIP: Oil and Spontaneous Combustion @ The Finishing Store News". Retrieved 28 November 2014.