Watco , Danish Oil, Question
with Howard Acheson

Question:   TexJer
After several coats, will Watco "build up" (for lack of a better term) like rubbing varnish or lacquer?
Thanks, Jer

Answer:   Howard Acheson
Basicly no.   Oil/varnish finishes are intended to be a penetrating, "in the wood" finish that allows the feel of the wood.   They mimic a pure oil finish but are slightly more protective and durable.   Because of it's high oil content, attempting to build it will result and a very soft, easily scratched finish.

If you want a film type finish for your project, use a film type finish.   If you want the coloring of the Watco finish, just apply one coat--or use standard boiled linseed oil--followed by a few coats of a clear finish.   If you use a hard clear finish like lacquer or an interior varnish, you can then finish the finish if you prefer.


Comment: TexJer
I used mineral oil........   how cheap is that??   Actually I got to using MO on some walnut serving platters I built and liked the look.

Thanks for the heads up on the Tung vs BLO.   I'm wondering what the MO will do in time?

Comment: mike282 said:
Anyone who has been around this site long, knows Howard is   "The Man"   when it comes to finishing.   I just made a wiping varnish by mixing about 3 parts MinWax Fast Drying Poly (Oil Based) -DISCONTINUED- Use this wipe on now. with 1 part mineral spirits.   I put 4 coats on a cherry school house clock. It did a really nice job.   I have read where people have used ratios from 3:1 to 1:1.   I didn't have the patience to try and build a film using the 1:1.

Like to try the recipe this weekend on a headboard but never done so.
When you say a wipe -on - do you mean literally with a rag vs brush or?
The recipe sounds like it will do nice thin job/coat - sand lightly between every coat or just first couple and see from there?
Thanks for help - again and as always

Comment: Jeffrey Duncan
Danish oil is a very thin penetrating oil.   It is well suited for sealing and because it penetrates deep (as opposed to a surface finish) it makes the grain/figure of the wood "pop".   Meaning if you have a highly figured maple or walnut and want to accentuate the grain, I would start with two coats of danish oil wet sanding during application with a 600 grit wet/dry sand paper.   Wait 24 hours (more if it's humid) for that to dry and finish it off with Tung Oil (Minwax makes a good variety of Tung Oil)

Danish oil is only mildly water resistant, while Tung Oil is water proof once cured.   Plus, with tung oil you can build up slowly to a "thicker" finish and the gloss factor is determined by how much you buff out.   Remember to wet sand with each application of these oil finishes (danish oil and tung oil) and you will will have a beautiful glass smooth to the touch finish.   PLUS, tung oil can be renewed at any time by just applying a new coat with a rag.

Comment: Howard Acheson
1 coat of mineral oil...

You really didn't mean "mineral oil", did you?

Mineral oil is a non-drying oil and will spell long term problems for your finish.   Mineral oil is only used for a laxitive and for cutting boards where it must be renewed frequently.

Also, there is a difference between "wiping varnish" and an "oil/varnish mixture" like Watco .   A wiping varnish is nothing more than a varnish that has been thinned using either mineral spirits or naphtha so it can be easily wiped on rather than brushed on.   An oil/varnish blend is a finish made from varnish, boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits is roughly equal proportions.   Wiping varnish and oil/varnish blends are two different things.


Comment: Howard Acheson
Here is some info that may help to understand the difference between a wiping varnish and an oil/varnish blend.

There are two types of "tung oil finishes" or "Danish Oils".   One is mixture of varnish, boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits (called an oil/varnish).   The exact mixtures are proprietary but 1/3, 1/3, and 1/3 will get you real close.   Some manufacturers add a dollop of drier to speed up the drying.   This same mixture is frequently also called "danish oil " because it gives a finish that resembles the finish used on much of the "danish style" teak furniture imported in the 50's and 60's.   It closely mimics a true oil finish but the addition of the varnish resins gives it more durability and protection.

Here are some oil/varnish mixtures:(*)
Deft danish oil
General Finishes' Seal-a-cell
Behlen danish oil
Maloof Finish
Behr Scandinavian Tung Oil Finish
Minwax Tung Oil Finish
Minwax Antique Oil Finish
Velvit Oil
Watco Danish Oil
McCloskey Tung Oil Finish (contains pure tung oil, not linseed oil)

The second "tung oil finish"/"Danish Oil" is one made from varnish and mineral spirits.   The approximate ratio is 1:1.   This is really just a thinned varnish just like the stuff sold as "wiping varnish".   When one, two or three coats are applied, it also mimics the finish produced by a true oil but it is harder than the oil/varnish above because it does not have as much oil.   It is slightly more protective than the oil/varnish type or tung oil finish.   For all intents and purposes it is a varnish finish.

Here are some thinned varnishes:(*)
Minwax Wiping Varnish
Watco Wiping Varnish
Formby's Tung Oil Finish
Zar Wipe-on Tung Oil
Hope's Tung Oil Varnish
Gillespie Tung Oil
General Finishes' Arm-R-Seal
Jasco Tung Oil
(*) Courtesy Bob Flexner and some personal information.

One way to tell whether the product is an oil/varnish or a wiping varnish is to read the application instuctions.   Oil/varnishes are applied, then given some time to set, then wiped dry.   Wiping varnish products are wiped on an left to dry (no wiping off).

For either of the above, you can mix your own using your own proportions, can it and sell it as "My Greatest Tung Oil Finish".   Then announce a new product with slightly different proportion and call it "My Greatest Danish Oil Finish".   We're not talking rocket science here.

Finally, I'm not saying that any of these products are not good.   In fact, they are a more protective and durable finish than any pure oil finish.   They are what they are and can give you a good finish when properly applied.   They give you a "close to the wood" type of finish that allows the "feel" of the wood to come through.


This site is maintained by:
Good-Lyddon Data Systems

Copyright © 2004-2010 Joe Lyddon, WoodWorkStuff.net