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I've sanded down a wooden worktop and I'm attempting to re-coat it. I've done 5 thin coats of oil so far, a day between each, but it's still quite dull compared to previously. How many coats should I need to get a good finish? I've heard it needs a lot, but how many is a lot?

Also, what kind of oil is best to use? I've been using special Worktop Oil. It's quite expensive but is it just a gimmick? Am I just as well off using a generic teak, linseed or danish oil?

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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

When oiling timber, you generally continue to oil it until no more seeps into the wood. Don't be afraid to "flood" the first few coats.

Basic oil coating goes like this:

  1. Apply the oil (flood and wipe it in)
  2. Wait until it soaks in
  3. Wipe off the excess
  4. Wait a day before the next coat
  5. Light sand with the grain
  6. Repeat

What grit did you sand back the timber to begin with? If you went to 320, then a 400 grit would be fine in-between coats. Don't use an electric sander for this. Just work with the grain with a soft sponge backed sanding block. When sanding, you will end up with dust residue so just wipe it down with a clean cloth and a touch of water/meth-spirits if need be.

Oil seeps into the wood so you won't get a high lustre/shine from it. Some of the mixtures on the market however have some polyurethane in it. Poly sits above the wood so will cause some reflection with the light making the piece shine some more. Get some good solid basic oil+poly mix. Something like Danish Oil or Scandinavian Wood Oil would work nicely.

Also, update with some photos and I'd be happy to provide more insight and tips.

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Well, old timers would saturate the surface with 3 parts boiled linseed oil and one part mineral spirits, let it soak in overnight, then buff it dry. If one coat didn't give the desired results, give it two! Smells, but would give a nice shiny finish.

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Thanks. One or two coats you say? I've been using the wrong stuff, obviously. I'll give it a try, maybe on a spare bit of wood first, then smell it. –  Tim Rogers May 16 '11 at 21:41
    
yep, try it first on scrap. The smell always reminds me of an old country general store. lolol –  shirlock homes May 16 '11 at 22:50
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If you're doing kitchen counters you want to use something that's rated for food contact. Maybe butcher block oil or walnut oil.

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I use straight mineral oil for my wooden work surfaces. Lightly sand with the grain, pour it on and spread it out and let it soak in for about a half hour, then wipe off the excess. Mineral oil is food safe too so you can use it on butcher blocks or wooden cutting boards too.

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