Danish Oil Advantages and Disadvantages (Explained!)

Danish oil is a waterproof wood oil that dries fast. But, what are the advantages and disadvantages of danish oil?

Danish oil is a flexible waterproof wood oil that dries fast. Unlike other finishes, danish oil doesn’t yellow over time. However, you can only apply danish oil over bare wood, and the finish isn’t durable.

You can use danish oil as a primer as the wood oil accepts top coats. But, applying danish oil is harder than applying other wood oils. 

Here is a chart that identifies the major pros and cons of using Danish oil:

Advantages of Danish oil Disadvantages of Danish oil
WaterproofIts application is time-consuming
Dries FastIt can be used only on bare wood.
Can be used as a base coat (or primer)Offers poor wood protection.
Doesn't yellow. Cleaning and maintenance can be hectic
The wood oil finish doesn’t yellowNot durable and will require regular touch-ups

What is Danish Oil?

Danish oil is a hybrid wood oil finish made by combining natural wood oils and a solvent. There is no specific formula or makeup for Danish oil as the ingredients in the wood oil ranges from brand to manufacturer. However, most Danish oil wood finishes contain Linseed oil, Tung oil, and mineral spirits.

Danish oil is applied using rags and clothes due to the thick nature of the wood oil. The finish is usually wiped on wood and can only be used on bare wood. When Danish oil is applied, the wood oil finish soaks in the wood fibers and forms a shiny layer on the wood that gives a glossy and bright finish.

You can use Danish oil for the following:

  1. To protect kitchen wood from moisture damage.
  2. You can use Danish oil to improve the sheen and look of household furniture.
  3. To highlight and reveal the texture of the wood grain. 
  4. Danish wood oil can be used to coat and protect wood tool handles.

Danish Oil Advantages

Danish Oil Advantages

Here are the perks and benefits that you’ll enjoy before, during, and after applying Danish oil to your wood:

1. Dries Fast

Danish oil has a thick flow, but the finish dries fast. On average, danish oil dries fully within 8 hours. In comparison, tung oil needs 24 hours to dry. So, danish oil dries 3 times faster than tung oil. 

However, the dry time of danish oil depends on room temperature, the thickness of the coat, and humidity levels. 

2. Waterproof

The danish oil coating is waterproof. When dry, danish oil forms a waterproof layer that protects wood from damage, rotting, and decaying. However, danish oil must dry fully (cure) and solidify (harden) for the coating to be waterproof. 

4. Flexible

The danish oil coating is flexible or elastic. The elasticity of the danish oil allows the finish to cope better with temperature changes. This means danish oil coating will contract and expand based on temperature changes. This reduces the cracks and lines on your danish oil finish. 

4. Danish Oil Can Be Used as a Primer

Unlike other wood oil finishes that don’t accept a top coat, Danish oil does. Therefore, you can use Danish oil as a waterproof primer coating before covering it with a top coat or sealant.

However, you must sand the Danish oil lightly before applying a top coat. Also, you must only use an oil-based finish, as only oil-based finishes can stick (stay) over the Danish oil coating. 

6. Doesn’t Yellow

Danish oil doesn’t yellow like other oil-based finishes. Danish oil will retain its clear coat finish for years and enhance the wood’s sheen.

8. Sticks Well to Wood

Danish oil has good bonding qualities. When applied, the Danish oil will penetrate the wood pores and bond to the wood fibers, improving the adhesion between the wood and Danish oil. This helps the wood oil to last longer.

9. Affordable

Compared to other wood oils, Danish oil is cheaper. It costs less than $30 to get Danish oil.

Danish Oil Disadvantages

Danish Oil Disadvantages

Here are a few reasons people don’t choose Danish oil:

1. Danish Oil Application is Time-consuming

The application of Danish oil is hard and time-consuming. The texture of Danish oil means that you must add more coats to the wood oil for proper coverage. You must wait until one coat dries before applying the next one. Since you will be applying too many coats of Danish oil, the whole process will take a lot of time.

You must allow Danish oil to dry for 8 hours before re-coating it. Though this is a quick dry time for a wood oil finish (compared to others), it still means you must wait 8 hours to apply one coat. So, it will take 24 hours to apply 4 coats of Danish oil.

2. Not Durable

Danish oil isn’t durable. Due to its texture, the finish will wear off fast on busy wood surfaces. On average, Danish oil will last 2 years before you need to re-apply (re-touch) the finish. 

However, you can seal the Danish oil with a sealant to increase its durability. But, this increases the application time. 

3. Poor Wood Protection

A similar advantage to the low durability of Danish oil is its poor wood protection. The finish can’t withstand scratches, dents, wear and tear – this means that the finish can’t protect your wood from these factors either.

The poor level of wood protection is why Danish oil is not used on busy surfaces like floors and countertops. If wood protection is what you want, you’ll need a stronger finish than Danish oil.

4. Danish Oil Only Goes on Bare Wood

To stick, Danish oil must penetrate the wood fibers. So, you can only apply Danish oil on bare wood. If the wood is painted or sealed, Danish oil won’t stick unless you remove the paint. That’s because the wood pores would be filled with paint, and Danish oil can’t penetrate them, so it can’t stick. 

So, to apply Danish oil on already painted wood you must remove the paint or sealer, and then apply the Danish oil.

5. Tough to Clean and Maintain

Danish oil is hard to maintain. Since Danish oil isn’t durable, you must regularly wipe, clean, and maintain the finish. Also, you must touch up the finish often by sanding and applying new coats. This is extra work that other wood oils don’t require. 

Tips To Apply Danish Oil:

Here are expert tips to follow when applying Danish oil:

  1. Always sand the wood with fine-grit sandpaper before applying Danish oil. But, if the wood is rough or patchy, sand medium-grit sandpaper and finish off with 220-grit
  2. Strip or remove existing finishes on the wood before applying Danish oil.
  3. Wait 8 hours before re-coating Danish oil. 
  4. Sand each coat of Danish oil (except for the final one) with 400-grit sandpaper before re-coating it. 
  5. Remove the sand dust before re-coating Danish oil. If you don’t, the Danish oil will be riddled with bumps. 
  6. Allow the Danish oil to cure (dry fully) before using the surface. 
  7. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or user’s guide while applying Danish oil.

Things To Know

Here are a few things you need to know about Danish oil:

The lifespan of Danish Oil

On average, Danish oil lasts between 1-2 before needing to touch up the coating. However, if the surface isn’t used frequently, the Danish oil can last up to 3 years before you need a touch-up. 

But, if you seal the Danish oil with polyurethane or spar varnish, the wood oil will last longer. 

Danish Oil Number of Coats

You need 2-3 coats of Danish oil for proper coverage on wood. The first and second coats of Danish oil will penetrate the wood pores, so you must add one extra coat for the top layer of wood. 

On busy surfaces, you must add 3-4 coats of Danish oil. 

Sealing

Sealing Danish oil isn’t mandatory but helps the finish last longer. For indoor and decorative surfaces, sealing won’t help as much. But, for outdoor or busy surfaces, sealing will allow the Danish oil to last 1-2 more years.

However, you must only use oil-based sealant over Danish oil. Also, you must sand the Danish oil with ultrafine-grit sandpaper before applying a sealant.

Sanding Danish Oil

You must sand between Danish oil coats to smoothen the surface. Danish oil will reveal surface bumps, so you must sand those bumps before applying the next coat.

Also, the 8-hour dry time allows dust and filth to settle on the Danish oil coating. So, before applying the next coat, you must sand and clean the coating. 

Final Words

Danish oil is a waterproof finish that enhances the wood color. But, Danish oil is hard to apply and doesn’t protect the wood as well as other wood oils. Also, maintaining Danish oil is hard because you must touch up the finish often. 

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