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.
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.
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).
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.
- Allen, Sam. Classic Finishing Techniques. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 0-8069-0513-1.
- Haynes, Williams (1946). "XIX: Materials for To-morrow". This Chemical Age. London: Secker and Warburg. p. 247.
- Jackson, Albert; David Day (1996-10-03). Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-414005-2.
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