I recently bought a pine tabletop from Ikea, unfinished but for a very thin layer of their BEHANDLA oil (which I think is just boiled linseed oil). It's going to be used as an office desk.

I bought a bottle of BLO and applied a thin coat over the underside of the desk - very pleased with how it looks. I'll probably apply another coat tonight and then flip it and do the top tomorrow.

However, I am reading of a few downsides to using BLO - lack of physical protection, drying out every few months, possible staining of items even after curing (?) being a few.

So I'm looking for a matte finish that I can apply over the BLO once it dries (maybe this weekend?) that will mitigate these downsides, provide better protection and longevity to the BLO but maintain the nice matte look and the colour of the BLO (without being too much of a burden to apply).

What are my options?

  • It sounds like you're in the market for some kind of matte polyurethane that doesn't mind what is underneath it. I've personally never had much luck mixing finishes. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 11:54
  • @BrownRedHawk I've read in a few places that oil based polyurethane can be applied over BLO without much trouble but I'm not sure what to look for and what to avoid in terms of choosing a product (if there is one that will suit what I want)... if I'd done a little more reading before I bought the BLO I might have gone for Danish oil instead but that ship has sailed somewhat. Failing a good option I'll just settle for a couple more coats of BLO.
    – Ant P
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 12:52
  • I have so little successful experience here, is even with all the reading and research you can do, my best suggestion is to have a scrap of wood or underside of the table top that you can practice on. Your expectation can still vary wildly from the description. For instance, some mushrooms listed as "Edible" will also cause nightmarish side effects. While this product "may work" in those conditions, you might not actually like it. Thank goodness for sample sized cans. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


@Ant P Oil based poly will work perfectly over BLO, no worries at all. From your description I'd get a satin finish poly, and probably apply it with a foam mini roller.

  • Thanks for your answer - I've stuck with just BLO for now but may give it a coat of poly later.
    – Ant P
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 7:50

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