Finish – A one trick pony


When it comes to finishing a project there are literally 1,000’s of options. Take your pick.  My pick for the last several years is Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO, on the web).  I have used it on everything that I have built in the last few years. Workbench, tool cabinet, chest of drawers, chairs, benches, a table…  In the picture is everything that you need except the rubber gloves:  a can of BLO, a couple of cotton rags, and a wide mouth jar.  There was an excellent article written on this in Woodworking Magazine (I think the one with a “tricky stool” on the cover).  It is a great read.

Here is the process.

1 – Plane the surfaces clean (or sand them to 220 or so).

2 – Wipe on a good coat of oil.

3 – Wait ~10 minutes and wipe it all off.  This is the most important step.  Wipe all excess oil off the surface.  Any thick spots remaining will gel up and not be nice.

4 – Wait 3 or 4 days or until the surface is dry to the touch.

5 – Repeat steps 1 thru 4.

Stop when you are happy with the surface.  I have found that 6 coats looks real nice.  The article that I mentioned suggested 12 coats.  If you don’t have the patience for multiple coats, then do one coat of BLO and then use a mix of BLO, turpentine, and beeswax (equal parts of all three).  That builds faster and leaves more of a matte finish.  I like it almost as much as 6 coats of BLO.

4 thoughts on “Finish – A one trick pony

  1. Pingback: Complete this dresser! | The Christian Tool Cabinet

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Finish | The Christian Tool Cabinet

  3. Ken

    I really like using blo for a finish. I do it a little different on the first two coats though. For the first coat I cut the blo with a 3 to 1 mixture with mineral spirits being the 3 parts. The second coat I use a 50/50 mixture. This allows a much deeper penetration giving the finish a better seal.

  4. George L

    Beware! Yes, the finish is good and my choice as well, however! You must read the warnings on the can. Do not under any circumstances leave any rags or brush, rollers, etc. lying around unattended as spontaneous combustion to a real threat using boiled linseed oil. This happened to me as I took a dinner break only to come back a find the rag I used smoldering. I tossed it out into the back yard where it started to burn. Any oily rags belong in an enclosed metal container. Again, follow the instructions and you’ll enjoy the results.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s