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How to finish wood with linseed oil? Answered

Can linseed oil by itself be a good wood finish? The instructions on the can say that a buildup will be gummy, and I don't want that.


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6 years ago

I've used it many times in the past. One rubs it into the wood. I found that warm (80-85F) linseed oil works into the wood better than room temp or cool oil.

It takes quite a bit of work to rub it into hardwoods in my experience. It also has a smell that for some (me included) becomes quite annoying. There are many rubbed oil finishes that are far better. tung oil, lemon oil, etc. I prefer mineral oil for my sculptures. No smell, nice finish, although like linseed it won't produce a hard finish like varnish, shellac, poly, etc.

Oh... and throw away any rag that you've soaked with it once done. It is known to spontaneously ignite under certain circumstances (like a soaked rag being stored nearby a very warm area such as a furnace, a water heater, an oven, etc.),


6 years ago

If you look it up Wikipedia has a lot of info on it. Below is an exert

Wood finish

When used as a wood finish,
linseed oil dries slowly and shrinks little upon hardening. Linseed oil
does not cover the surface as varnish does, but soaks into the (visible
and microscopic) pores, leaving a shiny but not glossy surface that
shows off the grain of the wood. A linseed oil finish is easily
repaired, but it provides no significant barrier against scratching.
Only wax finishes are less protective. Liquid water penetrates a linseed
oil finish in mere minutes, and water vapour bypasses it almost
completely.[5]Garden furniture treated with linseed oil may develop mildew.
Oiled wood may be yellowish and is likely to darken with age. Because
it fills the pores, linseed oil partially protects wood from denting by

Linseed oil is a traditional finish for gun stocks, though very fine
finish may require months to obtain. Several coats of linseed oil is the
traditional protective coating for the raw willow wood of cricket
bats; it is used so that the wood retains some moisture. New cricket
bats are coated with linseed oil and knocked to perfection so they last
longer.[6] Linseed oil is also often used by billiards or pool cue-makers for cue shafts, as a lubricant/protectant for wooden recorders, and used in place of epoxy to seal modern wooden surfboards. Additionally, a luthier may use linseed oil when reconditioning a guitar, mandolin, or other stringed instrument's fret board; lemon-scented mineral oil
is commonly used for cleaning, then a light amount of linseed oil (or
other drying oil) is applied to protect it from grime that might
otherwise result in accelerated deterioration of the wood.


Answer 6 years ago

I already did look it up on Wikipedia. I was looking more for people's real-world experiences.