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Thread: How to get Danish oil smooth

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    52

    How to get Danish oil smooth

    I am working on finishing the doors for my TV Cabinet, but I cannot seem to get it smooth. I applied a thick layer of Danish oil, and let is dry for about 30 minutes. Then I applied another layer, and left if for 5 days now (mistake?)

    Then, last night, I sanded it with very fine steel wool, which made it fairly smooth, but after I applied a third layer, it has a course texture again this morning. What is:

    1. the correct methode to apply Danish oil,
    2.the best way to get my current workpiece smooth?

    Uys
    _______________________________________
    Uys van Rooyen
    Pretoria, South Africa

    Uys is pronounced "Ace" - it's Dutch

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
    Posts
    1,407
    I haven't worked with Danish oil, but I rub out my finishes with very fine steel wool and mineral oil. Baby oil is mineral oil with some perfume in it - you can use that if you can't find unscented mineral oil.

    On a lacquer finish, if I want a high shine, I'll follow with polishing compound (white stuff) rubbed with a damp rag. This probably doesn't apply to Danish oil finishes.

    Most oil finishes are put on fairly light and you may even want to rub off the excess before they dry. You're not going to get any real buildup with those kinds of finishes. To get buildup, you need to spray on a film finish - like lacquer.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 09-25-2008 at 05:35 AM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
    Oil finishes should generally be wiped off long before they get a chance to cure. Basically you should be aiming at getting as much finish as possible soaked into the grain and none left filming on the surface. If you don't do this you end with something that is somewhat akin to a not properly cured varnish finish.

    I would suggest that the best way to salvage your current finish might be to apply another coat of oil. The difference is that you are applying this lot only to act as a solvent to what is already there. Once this has been applied, almost immediately you should be removing both the new coat and the (hopefully) dissolved excess from the old coat. My rule is to never use steel wool. There are too many timbers that don't react well to ferrous metals to make it worthwhile. A tiny fragment of steel dust on an oak panel can easily give you an unsightly blue stain that is impossible to remove. I use nylon abrasive pads like those made by 3M. Basically apply your oil, vigorously rub the surface with the 3M pad and then immediately remove the excess with workshop paper towel or lint free cloth. I use paper towel because the important thing is that you are removing oil and a saturated cloth won't do that for you. Make sure that when you are finished you dispose of the cloths etc safely. Most oil finishes are capable of causing spontaneous combustion in the right (wrong!!) circumstances.

    Needless to say, you should try this on a small, less obvious, area before you proceed any further.

    For the future, my routine with oil finishes is :-

    1 - Apply a generous, flooding first coat. Leave this for a few hours, depending on temperature this can be up to, but not more than, overnight. You are aiming for this coat to still be wet to the touch before the next one goes on.

    2 - apply a second coat. Be generous where the first coat has gone to dry patches. This is either because the timber is more porous (end grain etc) or where your first coat was scant. Leave this second coat for a much shorter period of time. Your aim is to apply the third coat while this is still wet but when it has had enough time to soak in. Again depends on temperature but a couple of hours should be sufficient.

    3 - apply a third coat. This time you should apply an even coat and then immediately pick up your nylon scourer and start rubbing the finish in to make sure that it is evenly spread and well consolidated into the timber. As soon as you have finished the scouring, go back to the start with the paper towel or cloth and start wiping to remove the excess. Change cloth frequently. At this stage you are removing finish and a saturated cloth doesn't remove finish.


    This routine works for me but I would be interested if antbody has a way that shortcuts it.
    Last edited by Ian Barley; 09-25-2008 at 09:44 AM.

  4. #4
    Ian is pretty much on the money here. Oil finishes, such as Danish, are some kind of oil with a dryer agaent. Application is simply rubbing on as much as the wood wil absorb and after a short soking time rub off the excess. allow that to dry and then rub on a second application to seal any pores left fron the first application, again it rewuires rubbing out the excess.

    You cannot treat oil finishes as you would a top coat such as Polyurethane where you apply a smooth surface and wait for it to harden. Shellac and Lacquer are the same. Apply the liquid and wait to harden.

    Oil finishes are entirely different and require a specific application where you wipe on and rub off the excess. The drying Polymers will allow the oils to dry and shrink (the reason for multiple applications), but if left to puddle on the surface (if you leave it as a wet surface) when it dries it gived a ripple effect or Alligator or craters or something other than smooth.

    You will need a solivant to release the Drying Polymers, I'm not sure (its been so long sense I used any or what brand you used) but the gentlest solivant would be Mineral oil (available at local drugstores) or Mineral Spirits as the strongest. The Mineral Spirits will also break down the already applied finish soaked into the wood so a re-application (in the correct manner) will be necessary.

    good luck and let us know the results.

  5. #5
    Most commercial Danish oils (advertising name for oil-varnish-solvent mixture) are primarily solvent,some boiled linseed oil and a little varnish. Watco is about 75% solvent-mineral spirits. If you read the directions on the can you will find you were given some good advice,albeit too late in this case. If the varnish element has cured mineral spirits will not redissolve it.

    Good Luck

    Jerry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    52
    I got this advice from David Laird, and it works like a charm. It is a lot of hard sanding work, and on larger workpieces it may not be completely practical, but the finish is really really good.


    Quote Originally Posted by David Laird
    The first coat I put on heavy with a disposable brush and let it sit no more than 1 hour. Then I wipe any excess off with a clean lint free cloth and make sure that this rag is taken outside and laid out to dry. (The rags when wadded up will self combust and possible burn down your workshop is not careful.)

    Let this coat dry for at least 8 hours before putting on the second coat. This is applied the same as the first coat anong with the wiping off the excess.

    The third coat is applied with a Scotchbrite (I normally use a white on and it is the finest). Just dip a little of your Scotchbrite in the danish oil and rub it on the surface creating a slurry of danish oil and the sawdust that you create. This will help fill any open pores that the wood has. Let sit a short while and then wipe off any excess. Remember to get the rag out of the shop so you don't have a fire. Let it dry for a minimum of 8 hours.

    The nest two coats will be the same and by the time you have them dried you should have a nice satin finish that is smooth as a baby's bottom.
    Last edited by Nancy Laird; 10-02-2008 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Corrected spellings
    _______________________________________
    Uys van Rooyen
    Pretoria, South Africa

    Uys is pronounced "Ace" - it's Dutch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,476

    hey guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Barley View Post
    Oil finishes should generally be wiped off long before they get a chance to cure. Basically you should be aiming at getting as much finish as possible soaked into the grain and none left filming on the surface. If you don't do this you end with something that is somewhat akin to a not properly cured varnish finish.

    I would suggest that the best way to salvage your current finish might be to apply another coat of oil. The difference is that you are applying this lot only to act as a solvent to what is already there. Once this has been applied, almost immediately you should be removing both the new coat and the (hopefully) dissolved excess from the old coat. My rule is to never use steel wool. There are too many timbers that don't react well to ferrous metals to make it worthwhile. A tiny fragment of steel dust on an oak panel can easily give you an unsightly blue stain that is impossible to remove. I use nylon abrasive pads like those made by 3M. Basically apply your oil, vigorously rub the surface with the 3M pad and then immediately remove the excess with workshop paper towel or lint free cloth. I use paper towel because the important thing is that you are removing oil and a saturated cloth won't do that for you. Make sure that when you are finished you dispose of the cloths etc safely. Most oil finishes are capable of causing spontaneous combustion in the right (wrong!!) circumstances.

    Needless to say, you should try this on a small, less obvious, area before you proceed any further.

    For the future, my routine with oil finishes is :-

    1 - Apply a generous, flooding first coat. Leave this for a few hours, depending on temperature this can be up to, but not more than, overnight. You are aiming for this coat to still be wet to the touch before the next one goes on.

    2 - apply a second coat. Be generous where the first coat has gone to dry patches. This is either because the timber is more porous (end grain etc) or where your first coat was scant. Leave this second coat for a much shorter period of time. Your aim is to apply the third coat while this is still wet but when it has had enough time to soak in. Again depends on temperature but a couple of hours should be sufficient.

    3 - apply a third coat. This time you should apply an even coat and then immediately pick up your nylon scourer and start rubbing the finish in to make sure that it is evenly spread and well consolidated into the timber. As soon as you have finished the scouring, go back to the start with the paper towel or cloth and start wiping to remove the excess. Change cloth frequently. At this stage you are removing finish and a saturated cloth doesn't remove finish.


    This routine works for me but I would be interested if antbody has a way that shortcuts it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    Ian is pretty much on the money here. Oil finishes, such as Danish, are some kind of oil with a dryer agaent. Application is simply rubbing on as much as the wood wil absorb and after a short soking time rub off the excess. allow that to dry and then rub on a second application to seal any pores left fron the first application, again it rewuires rubbing out the excess.

    You cannot treat oil finishes as you would a top coat such as Polyurethane where you apply a smooth surface and wait for it to harden. Shellac and Lacquer are the same. Apply the liquid and wait to harden.

    Oil finishes are entirely different and require a specific application where you wipe on and rub off the excess. The drying Polymers will allow the oils to dry and shrink (the reason for multiple applications), but if left to puddle on the surface (if you leave it as a wet surface) when it dries it gived a ripple effect or Alligator or craters or something other than smooth.

    You will need a solivant to release the Drying Polymers, I'm not sure (its been so long sense I used any or what brand you used) but the gentlest solivant would be Mineral oil (available at local drugstores) or Mineral Spirits as the strongest. The Mineral Spirits will also break down the already applied finish soaked into the wood so a re-application (in the correct manner) will be necessary.

    good luck and let us know the results.
    all very good info could we get this put tin the finish forum as a sticky ? kinda like a go to place for quick answers? thanks for the input.
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