Working with Wood: A Brief Guide to Finishes

When working with wood, you’ve got to treat or stain it somehow to protect it. This post has just a very brief list of stains and oils you can use.

Working with Woods_

We make a lot  of things with wood: signs of all sizes, hat racks, jewelry holders, and more, I’m sure. Most of these have to be treated in some way to protect them from the elements and just make them look pretty!

We use a couple different stains and oils, so I thought it would be useful to list a few and show what they look like. This was a fun post to write because I didn’t know much about any of these oils, either, until I did a little bit of research!

 

Tung Oil

We use this oil pretty often. Tung oil comes from Asia and its use goes back for years and years.

It’s a great oil to use for beginners or for someone in a hurry. It dries fast, it’s safe, and makes the wood look like, well, wood. It gets deep into the wood- making it pretty waterproof- and brings out the natural grooves and patterns of the wood, leaving a matte, slightly darker finish.

 

Linseed Oil

Honestly, I’ve never used this, but it is a pretty popular oil to use on wood. For one, as a natural oil, it’s safe and environmentally friendly. It’s also very functional as it protects the wood from water and anything else that could be absorbed by it.

Lastly, like the tung oil, it brings out wood’s natural grain, staining it with a friendly golden color that will darken and deepen over time.

 

Walnut Oil

I’ve never used walnut either, and I probably won’t, for one reason. Walnut oil tends to take much, much longer to dry than the first two oils listed here. You have to leave it for about twenty-four hours, from what I’ve seen.

Despite the long dry time, it works amazingly at protecting your wood projects.

 

Beeswax

My dad has used beeswax before, and it’s a great option. It’s a natural product, so it’s safe and eco-friendly, and it provides a beautiful, shiny finish that protects.

 

Polyurethane

This one, of course, is not a natural product. Polyurethane is a synthetic, plastic-based substance that is used anywhere and everywhere, even for treating wood, like wood floors. It protects the materials from the elements, much like oils do, but in a different way. Poly is a coating on the wood, whereas the oils are absorbed by the wood. Polyurethane lasts a long time, but should any spot be messed up, it’s a pain to fix it. Oils last a really long time, too, and if they get messed up, it’s much easier to fix.

 

So when you’re making a decision on what to use (synthetic vs. natural or what kind of oil to use), just do a bit more research, and know what you want. After all, it really just comes down to taste and situation. Hopefully this brief guide is a good starting point for you!

 

~Hannah

 

Sources:

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/blog/tutorials-videos/beginners-guide-pure-tung-oil/

https://ardec.ca/en/blog/22/linseed-oil-a-natural-solution-for-wood-finishing

http://www.leevalley.com/us/shopping/TechInfo.aspx?p=59385

http://polyurethanes.org/en/what-is-it

http://kentwoodfloors.com/sites/default/files/literature/PT9-04.pdf

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