What Kind of Oil to Use on Wood Finishes


Wood needs help to maintain its sheen, as over time it can become dry and some of its luster will be gone. New wood projects need to be protected with oils, which will also show off the grains in the wood.

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil comes from the seeds of the flax plant. This oil is the least protective of the oils. Curing time is approximately 24 hours.

Tung Oil

Tung oil comes from the nuts of the tung tree. It will not completely resist scratching, and is only a little water resistant. Five or six coats are needed to give a smooth appearance.

Polymerized Oil

This oil dries hard and is very resistant to water. It is often used on gun stocks. Polymerized oil is costly and cures very fast, which can be a disadvantage if some of the oil needs to be wiped off.

Teak Oil

Teak oil works well on new wood projects and cures in less than a day. Apply a small amount of oil with a soft cloth. It will need at least four coats to leave a slight sheen on the wood.

Oil/Varnish Blends

Blends will reduce the gloss and add to the curing time. Having a longer curing time will make it easier to apply, and the varnish will make the cured finish hard.


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Emma Lee is an owner and contributor of a photography website. She incorporates photography and life experiences in her writing to generate feelings of nostalgia. Emma's freelance publications include home improvements, animals and photography. Her work can be found at eHow and DIY. She attended Charles County Community College located in Maryland.

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