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Danish Oil on Pine: We Tested it



V Susan
Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about woodworking, general DIY and home improvement. If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com


Applying danish oil on pine

Pine is a popular wood used for many projects, such as doors, skirting boards, furniture, and flooring.

If you are using pine for your woodworking project, you may wonder if applying danish oil will provide the desired finish.

Danish oil is the most durable finish for pine woodworking projects, such as cabinets, paneling, and furniture. It offers greater protection for softwoods, including pine, than other finishes. Applying it is easy, giving the wood a beautiful, glossy look while protecting it from moisture damage.

This article discusses applying danish oil on pine wood by looking at various factors, the process, pros and cons, and comparing the finish quality with other oils.

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Applying Danish Oil on Pine: Things to know

Danish oil on hand
Danish oil

Woodworkers have been using wood finishing products like Danish oil for so long.

Danish oil is made from tung or linseed oil and usually contains varnish or other drying agents.

You will be impressed with how Danish oil can penetrate the wood grain while still allowing it to breathe and protecting it from moisture damage.

Its versatility makes it the perfect finish for indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.

Applying danish oil is an easy process that you can do with a brush, cloth, or sprayer.

It is simple to use, offers a beautiful, natural finish, and is reasonably priced compared to other similar products. That’s why Danish oil is so popular!

Darkening of wood

Applying danish oil on pine
Applying danish oil to pine

Applying Danish oil to pine wood can darken it since it is a penetrating oil treatment.

Pine wood before and after finishing with danish oil
Before and after finishing pine with danish oil

Danish oils prepared with tung oil will darken less than those prepared with linseed.

Like linseed oil, tung or Chinese wood oil is clear and hardens when exposed to air. It gives pine wood an almost moist, richer appearance that can make it look darker.

You may find this to be a good thing since darker wood typically looks more excellent and elegant.

For example, a darker pine wood cabinet might look even better than one with a natural stain.

Additionally, the deeper color of the wood can help conceal stains more effectively.

You can use a water-based urethane finish if you don’t want your pine wood products to get darker.

This finish won’t turn yellow and will keep the wood’s original color.

Applying danish oil over painted pine

Danish oil applied over a painted pine wood piece
Danish oil applied over a painted pine wood piece

You should apply Danish oil underneath stains for the best results. However, gel or water-based paint won’t get the usual “wet” appearance.

The oil will still penetrate pine wood, but it won’t be visible.

If your paint is oil-based and you have cured the wood with the oil for at least 48 hours, you can blend the Danish oil and stain together.

But dye-based stains may be more challenging to penetrate after applying Danish oil.

Danish oil applied over a painted pine wood piece (after it's dry)
Danish oil is applied over a painted pine wood piece (after it’s dry)

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Painting over danish oil

Applying paint over a danish oil coated pine surface
Applying paint over a danish oil coated pine surface

For the best results, you should give the Danish Oil plenty of time to dry before applying any finish.

After the Danish oil has dried, apply Shellac or other oil-based finishes to the pine wood.

For best results, wait 4 – 5 days before applying any finish.

Paint applied over a danish oil coated pine surface (after it's dry)
Paint applied over a danish oil coated pine surface (after it’s dry)

Outdoor vs Indoor

Using Danish oil on pine is an excellent option for indoor and outdoor furnishings.

Its ability to resist alcohol, food, and water makes it an ideal low-sheen finish for outdoor hardwood furniture.

To get the most out of your investment, it’s essential to apply the oil properly and give it time to cure fully before exposing it to outdoor elements.

In doing so, you can be sure that the oil won’t peel, flake, chip, or fracture.

Finish Quality

You can use Danish oil to preserve and maintain your pine wood furniture, which is highly durable.

It will help reduce surface blemishes, stop the pine from staining, and bring out the grain’s natural beauty.

Unlike other finishes, danish oil does not form a film-type finish on the wood – instead, it cures and hardens within the wood itself so that it won’t give your furniture a waxy or plastic-like look.

Applying danish oil on end grain and edge grain surfaces of wood

When using danish oil on a project, it’s essential to start by applying it to the end grain sections with a natural bristle brush.

This will seal the grain and prevent the end grain from appearing darker than the rest of the project.

Let the end grain dry for at least 30 minutes before moving on. After that, you can finish the project with either natural or colored danish oil.

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Protective qualities

You can protect your pine-made furniture from chemical spills using danish oil.

It will dry and leave a durable and flexible coating on your wooden surfaces, resistant to temperature changes and minor scratches.

Danish oil will help preserve the wood’s natural characteristics while providing waterproof protection.

Applying over varnished pine wood

It is not recommended that you apply danish oil on top of varnished pine, but it is possible.

Danish oil, made from mineral spirits and linseed oil, blends well with other oil-based finishes.

Diluting for a thinner coat

You can thin danish oil with various solvents, including mineral spirits, paint thinner, white spirit, and naphtha.

Remember, danish oil already contains thinners, so it’s typically a mix of oil, varnish, and thinner.

If you want to apply multiple coats of the oil, you can thin it further with white spirit. Just make sure to stir the first coat with 20% white spirit.

Curing time

Danish oil typically dries much faster than other wood coats and oils – usually in less than 6 hours.

Other wood treatments that leave a film usually take 24 hours to dry.

Therefore, if the weather is not too cold or rainy, you should be able to use the wood you’ve treated with Danish oil after just six hours.

However, the drying time can be much longer if conditions are not ideal.

This is true for all finishing products, but it’s especially true for Danish oil. It only needs a few hours to dry, while other products might need many days.

Applying technique

You can apply Danish paint to pine and other wooden things in one of two ways.

The first is the “wet-on-wet” technique. This method lets you apply Danish Oil in a single day, and the wood will be ready to use after 48 hours.

To do this, keep the wood surface wet with Danish Oil for at least an hour until it has absorbed enough oil to apply subsequent coats.

The second method, known as the “smooth-finish strategy,” involves applying Danish oil to a dry, flat surface wood. Usually, this means applying a thick coat once and letting it dry.

Pros and Cons of Using Danish Oil on Pine 

Advantages of using danish oil on pine

Danish oil protects pine wood from cracking and helps keep it from drying.

Furthermore, it will keep your furniture’s original look and give your house a touch of luxury. As a result, your furnishings may look better than ever.

Danish oil also alters the wood’s natural oils and can highlight the wood grain pattern. It is ideal to use as it is simple to reapply and fix minor imperfections.

You can even re-oil small floor areas without sanding and re-oiling the entire surface.

Danish oil dries more quickly than other oils and is often dry enough to reapply after six hours.

Still, it’s best you wait at least 24 hours for the surface to cure thoroughly before applying a fresh coat.

Disadvantages of using danish oil on pine

Danish oil makes the pine wood surface darker as it penetrates the wood, so it may not be for everyone.

Furthermore, this oil may make your pine furniture more resistant to staining, making it challenging to paint.

Finally, Danish oil may make it harder to keep your pine furniture clean as it’s hard to eliminate spill marks.

How to Finish Pine With Danish Oil

If you’re looking to bring out the natural beauty of pine wood and protect it from damage, finishing it with Danish oil is an easy and effective process.

It only takes a short time to apply and quickly dries, penetrating deeply into the wood and giving you a strong surface that won’t deteriorate.

Preparing the Pine Surface

Planing pine wood
Planing pine wood

Before applying Danish oil, you must clean the pine surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, bumps, or moisture that might get stuck under the oil.

If it’s a reasonably new pine wood piece, it just needs to be sanded down, and the dust wiped off.

Sanding a pine surface
Sanding a pine surface

If the surface has already been treated or oiled, Danish oil may not be able to penetrate the wood, so you must take off any existing paint with the proper paint remover.

Use white spirit to clear greased or wax-coated surfaces.

And remember, don’t use Danish oil in wet or sunny weather. For it to dry properly, the temperature should be at least 50°F (10°C).

Applying the Danish Oil

Comparison of danish oil applied using cloth and brush on pine oil
Comparison of danish oil applied using cloth (left) and brush (center) on pine wood

Wet-on-wet technique

You can start by sanding the pine surface with 80-grit sandpaper, rubbing in a circular motion.

Use a hand vacuum to remove the sanding dust, and then apply Danish oil to the surface with a clean, lint-free cloth, using big sweeping circles for the best results.

Keep reapplying oil to the cloth until the wood is dull and not shining. After 20 minutes, apply a second coat of thinner oil as wood absorbs less at this stage.

When the wood stops absorbing oil, you have reached the end of the process. Give the wood an hour to dry, and use a clean, soft towel to remove any extra oil from the surface.

Finally, let it dry for 48 hours before using the wood.

Smooth finish technique

Start by sanding the pine wood with 80-grit sandpaper in a circular motion. Then, use a cheesecloth and a hand-held vacuum to remove any remaining dust.

Take a brush or clean cloth and apply Danish Oil directly onto the wood. If needed, reapply the oil to any dull spots and leave the surface wet for three to four minutes.

To avoid oil from collecting in the wood’s corners, wipe off any extra Oil. Let the wood dry in a warm area overnight.

The next day, apply the second coat of oil using a brush or clean cloth. Now, use long, gentle strokes with 600-grit, fine sandpaper to sand the wood’s surface in the direction of the grain.

sanding a danish oil coated pine wood surface
Sanding a danish oil coated pine wood surface.
Danish oil sticking to the sanding wheel after the sanding job
Danish oil sticking to the sanding wheel after the sanding job

Wipe away any leftover sanding dust or stain with a soft, dry cloth (or cheesecloth) and let the wood dry again in a warm area for the night.

To complete the process, repeat the oiling and sanding procedure after allowing the wood to cure in a warm place for a third time.

Let the pine wood completely dry for at least 24 – 48 hours, considering the Danish oil it has received.

You should not remove any remaining wood debris while it is drying.

Maintenance and Care

Danish oil can help protect pine and maintain its natural beauty, but you’ll need to clean it with a light detergent and warm water.

Make sure it’s thoroughly dried afterward to ensure the finish is preserved.

Avoid any aggressive cleaners or chemicals, as this could reduce the longevity of the wood finish.

To maintain the desired level of protection and shine, you should reapply an oil coat every 6-12 months or as necessary.

In addition, it’s best to keep the wood out of direct heat and sunshine, as this can cause the oil to dry and crack the wood.

Danish Oil vs Linseed Oil vs Tung Oil Finish for Pine

Danish, linseed, and tung oil
Danish, linseed, and tung oil
Danish oilLinseed oilTung oil
Blend of various oils, including linseed oil.Pure oil derived from flax seeds.Oil derived from seeds of the tung tree.
Easy to apply and dries quickly.Takes longer to dry and can become sticky if not applied correctly.Dries slowly, takes a few days to cure.
Dries to a natural-looking satin or semi-gloss finishDries to a range of finishes, depending on the application.Dries to a natural-looking satin finish.
Protects the wood from dampness and wear.Protects the wood from dampness and wear.Protects the wood from dampness and wear.
More user-friendly options.Traditional finish, used for centuries.Known for its durability and water resistance.
A quick comparison of danish oil vs linseed oil vs tung oil

When considering Danish oil, linseed oil, and tung oil for your pine wood project, you should consider the application, finish, protection, and durability.

Danish oil is easy to apply and dries quickly, while linseed oil can take longer to dry and may become sticky if not applied correctly.

Tung oil is known for its durability, water resistance, and slow drying time.

All three oils protect the wood from moisture and wear, but tung oil is the best option for pine wood.

Tung oil is your best option if you’re looking for a natural satin finish. But if you prefer a semi-gloss finish, Danish oil is the way to go.

I recommend you test a small piece of wood before applying it to the whole surface to ensure you get the desired result.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a finish for your pine wood project, danish oil is an excellent option.

It will bring out the wood’s natural color and grain and act as a protective barrier.

Applying it is easy. It dries quickly and leaves a smooth, natural-looking finish. Not only that, but it’s also low maintenance and can be reapplied as needed to refresh the finish.

Remember to use danish oil per the manufacturer’s instructions and test the product on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire wood piece to ensure you get the best results.

Additionally, reapply the oil periodically to maintain the finish over a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use teak oil on pine?

Yes, you can use teak oil on pine, but there may be better choices for finishing pine. Teak oil is typically used to enhance teak wood’s natural color and grain, which has a high oil content. Pine, however, is softwood with lower oil content and a different grain pattern.

What kind of paint is ideal for use on pine?

The type of finish you want and your job will help you decide which paint is best for your pine project. If you’re working on an interior project, water-based paint like acrylic or latex is an excellent option since it’s easy to clean, dries quickly, and has a low odor. For an exterior project, you should use 100% acrylic paint for the best results – it won’t fade, crack, or peel over time.

Does linseed oil darken pine?

Yes, linseed oil can darken pine to some degree. However, when applied to pine, it can penetrate the wood and enhance the natural color, making it look darker and more affluent. The degree of darkening can vary depending on the type of linseed oil used and the number of coats applied.

V Susan
Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about woodworking, general DIY and home improvement. If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com