When it comes to taking care of your wood furniture, oil is your best option.
However, there's a risk of ruining the wood's surface or creating a lackluster finish if you pick the wrong type of oil. Therefore, we created this guide on the best oil for wooden furniture.
But first, let’s get a better understanding of the benefits of using oil on your wooden furniture.
Benefits of Oil for Wooden Furniture
Enhances the Natural Wooden Look
Oil accentuates the natural appearance of wood by nourishing the timber from within. It also revitalizes woods that have dried out because of lack of care or exposure to elements. So if you want your furniture pieces to look new for years to come, then you should apply an oil finish more frequently.
Protects the Furniture
Wood oils penetrate deep into wooden surfaces to form a waterproof finish that protects against abrasions, acids, and spills.
Wax and dirt build-up can contribute to your furniture's old, shabby look. Over time, the wood surface may also discolor because of the elements or suffer from indentations and scratches. You don't have to worry about polishing your furniture regularly or hiding those indentations and scrapes as wood oils can help conceal these imperfections.
Now that you know why oils are important to your wood furniture, the next section highlights the best oil products that you can choose from.
Boiled linseed oil is an extract of the flax plant. It's suitable for application on unfinished wood only. It penetrates the wood to form a uniform, hard-wearing, and glossy finish in antiques and wooden furniture.
The oil also brings out the natural wood colors and patterns while strengthening oil-based paint coatings. It is, however, not suitable for application on food-related wooden projects like butcher block countertops and cutting boards.
Boiled linseed oil typically dries between 12 and 18 hours. So you need to factor this in the time you allocate to finish the project if you plan to apply another coating on top.
The oil comes in quarts, gallons, and bulk packs so you can easily get the right amount for your furniture.
Watco Danish Oil features a varnish additive that gives it the finishing attributes of wood oil and the safeguarding mechanism of varnish.
Its walnut color bestows a penetrating, warm tone to the wood's surface. It does well on tight-grained wood surfaces because it can infiltrate deeply without concealing the grain patterns. You will have an easier time applying this product on bare, sanded, or stripped wood.
Rust-Oleum natural satin finishing wax appears more like wax than wood oil. That explains why most of its applications are as a final coating layer.
But the coating still functions as typical wood oil and is ideal for beginners. One of the best things about using this wax is that it protects your wood furniture while giving it a satin-like appearance.
Since this wax serves as the topcoat, you'll need to be careful as you apply the substance. Keep in mind that the coating will be visible on your furniture.
Premium Golden Teak Oil from Star Brite functions as a preserver, sealer, and topcoat for teak and any other wood surface. The oil comprises sophisticated additives to protect the wood's surface from harmful UV sun rays.
Nothing is as easy to use as this product. You simply apply some oil to a piece of fabric and rub it on the wood surface. The rubbing action drives more of the oil into the wood pores and lends a warm, golden color to the wooden surface.
This wood oil from Osmo provides more toughness than the average oil and lends a unique, natural-looking finish to your wood surfaces. Most users mention that they had to apply two coats of the product, each with complete drying time to get their desired finish.
This wood oil gives your wood surfaces a clean matte finish, unlike other wood oils known for their gloss and sheen effect. As an added incentive, the finish is resistant to moisture and chemical contamination. As such, you can use this for your countertops.
Since it is safe for food contact, the product is also suitable for dining tables and similar surfaces.
This Original Wood Finish is a premium oil-based finish containing beeswax and polymerized linseed oil.
The mix of beeswax and polymerized linseed oil creates a soft, matte sheen that is waterproof. The product enhances durability by protecting the wood furniture. Besides, it has a natural-looking finish, making it suitable for refreshing the appearance of antiques.
While the product can be used as a base, it's best when used as a topcoat. Make sure to apply the finish in very thin coats to create your desired look. Otherwise, the coat may take several days to fully dry.
It comes in four size options: gallon, 8oz, pint, and quart.
Osmo Polyx-Oil is a premium, satin-matte finish ideal for wood floors and furniture. It boasts high durability, as it doesn't flake, crack, peel, or blister. It also offers incredible resistance against moisture, wine, coffee, beer, and fruit juices.
This type of wood oil is not food grade-rated, so it is not suitable for use on kitchen counters and dining tables.
Minwax wood finish provides wood oil's deep, protective penetration and staining properties. It's ideal for indoor staining projects like doors, cabinets, and wood furniture.
This oil-based wood stain can deeply permeate wood pores within five minutes. And the best part is that you need to apply only a small amount of this product to penetrate the grain and seep into the wood. The final product is an attractive, rich espresso hue with black and dark brown undertones.
This type of wood oil is great for restoring the natural appeal of antique wooden furniture pieces. It does a great job of hiding scrapes, nicks, and indentations.
Restore-A-Finish wood oil is available in nine colors, including:
For the best results, you should apply Restor-A-Finish in extremely thin layers. In case anything unpleasant happens, you can easily remove the substance. But it would be difficult to remove it if the layer is too thick to begin with.
Of course, you can apply more if required to build up to your desired finish.
This wood oil from Cabot comprises a blend of oil and resin, which provides an eye-catching natural finish to wood surfaces. It's water-resistant to prevent moisture and protect against checking and warping. It also prolongs wood's timeless appeal.
This oil is however not yet food grade-rated, so it's not a good choice for dining tables or countertops. It's ideal for siding and decks.
FAQ About Oil and Wood Furniture
Will Oil Darken Wood?
Yes, you can expect most wood oils to make the wood a shade darker. The darkening process helps increase the visibility of the grain.
Does Oil Seal Wood?
While wood oil is not the same as a sealer, it improves the wood's resistance to moisture. It penetrates the wood pores and provides a waterproof coating. But the performance of oil wood does not match that of a sealer.
How to Apply Oil to Wooden Furniture?
The first step is to sand the surface of the wood to get rid of dirt and grime. Start with coarse sandpaper and finish with a fine sandpaper to deal with any deep scrapes left on the surface.
Next, apply a small amount of the oil to a piece of quality fabric and then rub it down on the wood's surface. The rubbing action allows the oil to enter the wood deeply. Wipe off any excess oil and let the first coat dry.
Once completely dry, you can add a second coat as needed. Of course, the drying time will depend on the oil product you're using.
How to Clean Oil From Wooden Furniture
Take a rag, dip in water, and wipe the oil off the surface. The rag should be damp, not dripping wet. Allow the affected surface to air dry.
Put some turpentine on a clean fabric, and rub over the wood surface in a circular motion. Allow the turpentine to sit for 20 minutes. Finally, rinse the surface with warm water, and allow it to air dry.
The Bottom Line
Wood oils can help extend the life of your wooden furniture by providing a protective finish. The best product will accentuate your wooden furniture's natural appearance and timeless appeal. Oil is also simple to apply, and wood pieces with an oil finish require little or no maintenance.
Just keep in mind that not all types of wood oil are ideal for all wooden furniture, since not all wood oil is food grade-rated.