Know your timber: What polish or oil should you use for what?

Your grandpa’s old rocking chair, your hardwood floors, and even the butcher block you made from a beautiful piece of wood are all examples of wooden items we hold dear. 

Wood is a beautiful material that has plenty of history and obtains such grace. But in order to keep the wood looking at its finest, you need to do a little maintenance of the wood from time to time. Now, you have a variety of finishes that you can use, but it will depend on what the wood item is and what it is being used for (as to which finish you should use). 

For example, if you want a natural finish, you should go with traditional timber oil. Oils don’t tend to bring out the imperfections, and there is not much shine, so scratches are not seen easily. Oil has the power to bring out the natural grain in the wood.

Linseed oilwhat oil to use for what wood
This type of oil is a plain oil that will bring the grain out without affecting the colour of the wood. It is used to strengthen the finish already on the piece and to prevent any damage like cracking and over-drying. This Water Repellent Timber and Deck Oil can be used for both interior and exterior items, but you only ever really need it for exterior use. If you want linseed oil with faster drying time, then you want to consider going with boiled linseed oil instead of raw. The oil will go on the uniform; then it will dry within 18 hours for a smooth finish. The oil will repel water and prevent chalking. If you are uncertain what oil to use on antiques and furniture finishes this type is pretty safe to use. Linseed oil should not be used on any food preparation surfaces like chopping boards. The agents that work at speeding the drying time are not safe for consumption. You need to make sure that you read the label before using.

Watco Danish Oil 

This is a wood oil for interior wood pieces that has a varnish additive. It has finishing properties of the true “wooden” look, but it comes with the protective finish of a varnish. The walnut colour will create a warm, deep tone to the wood. It will rub on easily and penetrate deep into the surface of the wood for a unique finish. You can use this finish on sanded and stripped wood. Excellent oil that works for tightly grained woods and surfaces as it has the power to penetrate deeply without covering the grain patterns.

Osmo’s Polyx 

Here we have a combination of different waxes and oils. It used thistle, soybean oil and sunflower along with candelilla wax and carnauba. Osmo’s Polyx applies a mineral spirit as a solvent. It has a lower odour than the other products available, and it can easily be applied. The finish will last a few years with proper care. This type of oil is used for flooring and windows and does run quite expensive. However, it’s worth the price tag, as it will last several years.

Tung oil

Tung oil is a classic oil that helps to protect the finish of different pieces of wood without covering the natural grain. The oil will resist mildew and water and will help to prevent and chalking from occurring. The oil dries clear and should only be used for inside projects.

Formby’s low gloss
This is an excellent option to finish if you don’t want to highlight any imperfections. You can condition your wood piece, working with the natural stage of wood and finish. If you don’t want to highlight any dings or scratches – and want to ensure it is safe for food surfaces – ensure you read the label and find the right finish for what you need. 

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