Image of wood oil in useWood in its original state is subject to deterioration thanks to environmental aspects such as high temperatures, excessive moisture, and other climatic conditions.

These elements cause severe economic loss and reduce the wood’s strength before reaching the end of its better days.

For this reason, manufacturers have developed natural wood protection formulas like wood oil to protect the wood from the elements.

Wood oil is a decorative and protective wood finish that protects your wood from external factors.

It’s extracted from seeds and can withstand maximum use before it needs a retouch.

What Does Wood Oil Do to Wood? 

Wood oils are more eco-friendly than other wood finishes such as varnish. This protective and decorative wood finishing product penetrates the wood to give it a new lease of life.

It also replaces the natural oils that your wood loses through exposure, general wear and tear, and age. 

Though the protective qualities of wood oil can’t beat other durable coatings like polyurethane, woodworkers prefer its emphasis on wood character.

It’s even better that you can maintain and rejuvenate all types of furniture, wood floors, and decking with high-quality wood oils. 

There are numerous options to choose from when shopping for wood oils, including tung oil, linseed oil, and others mentioned in this guide. 

Each type of wood oil delivers different effects on wood, so it may not exactly resemble the picture advertised on the package.

Therefore, you should apply your wood oil to a scrap wood piece to determine If it dries to your desired effect.

Types Of Wood Oils

Wood oils have rich pigments that offer a more textured grain pattern without sacrificing the wood’s natural beauty.

They are non-toxic and safe to use indoors and outdoors. Applying wood oil is easy by using a clean rag, cloth, or paintbrush.  

Below are the different types of wood oil: 

  • Linseed Oil

Linseed oil soaks deep into wood surfaces to protect against moisture, chemicals, alcohol, scratches, and humidity changes.

It is the easiest finishing oil to maintain, and it dries to a satin finish that reveals the wood grain. Linseed oil is also elastic: it can expand and contract with temperature changes. 

Linseed oil comes in various forms, including the following: 

Raw Linseed Oil

Raw linseed does not contain additives or thinners. It makes an excellent wood finish if applied in thin layers and given enough drying time.

However, most woodworkers prefer the other types of linseed oil because this option dries slowly. 

Boiled Linseed Oil

Boiled linseed oil is similar to raw linseed oil, except that it has drying agents to shorten the drying time.

Boiled linseed oil is highly toxic because of the additives and chemicals included in its formulation.

Therefore, you should wear protective gear during the application process.  

Polymerized Linseed Oil

Polymerized linseed oil is produced by heating the raw linseed oil without oxygen to improve the viscosity and reduce the drying time.

  • Tung Oil

Tung oil is a natural wood finish that dries quickly, offers adequate waterproofing, resists mold, scratches, and doesn’t yellow as it ages.

Being non-toxic means tung oil is food safe and can be used to coat cutting boards and fruit bowls.

Due to its enduring qualities, tung oil is suitable for interior and exterior woods. 

From an aesthetic perspective, this wood oil dries to a beautiful matte finish that enhances wood character.

You can thin tung oil with citrus solvents to enhance the penetration into the wood.

However, you shouldn’t thin it when coating old and unfinished wood floors and other absorbent substrates. 

  • Danish Oil

Danish oil contains different oil mixtures. Therefore, it is not pure natural oil. It soaks into the wood to protect against superficial scratches, spills, and heat.

Most wood surfaces lose their visual appeal when the grain or color fades, but you can use Danish oil to add extra detailing to such surfaces. 

Danish oil has quick-drying properties. Depending on the temperature and humidity changes, it only takes 6 hours to dry.

If it’s cold, you will have to tolerate more than six hours before adding extra coats. Warmer weather and low humidity translate to quicker drying time. 

Danish oil is food-safe, similar to other wood oil finishes. With this durable coating, you can coat your wooden utensils, including salad bowls, cutting boards, and spoons.

Applying it is relatively easy, and it only takes three coats or less to form a professional-grade finish on your wood. 

Additionally, Danish oil has excellent elastic properties facilitating expansion and contraction during temperature changes. That means it won’t crack easily, even under maximum stress.

  • Walnut Oil

Walnut oil finish offers wood pieces and furniture a rich sheen while being safe for your health and those with who you’re sharing a similar workspace.

So you don’t have to worry about the toxic smells and chemicals attributed to other finishing products with this option.

It is super effective, easily absorbed, and has the waterproofing qualities of a high-end wood protective finish. 

  • Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is non-toxic, making it a food-safe option. It’s known for its enduring qualities offering protection against spills and scratches.

It also improves the wood’s beauty by adding depth to the grain and highlighting the natural wood color. 

However, mineral oil is a short-term wood finishing option. It degrades over time, so prepare for frequent maintenance if you choose this route.

If not, the finished surface will appear dull, dusty, and dry.

Which Is Better, Danish Oil Or Linseed Oil? 

Both danish oil and linseed oil are great for finishing wood. They protect, add color, and treat wood from everyday use.

Despite their similar functions, danish oil and linseed oil are two different products.

Danish oil is a mixture of different oils with mineral spirits and other solvents. Linseed oil is a natural oil squeezed from flax seeds. 

Because of its rigid waterproofing and durable qualities, danish oil is suitable for high-stress surfaces and outdoor applications. It is also non-toxic once cured despite various solvents.

However, you must allow it to fully cure for around 2 to 4weeks before using any danish-coated surface. This gives the VOCs enough time to escape. 

On the other hand, linseed oil offers deep penetration to bond with the wood. It preserves your wood’s natural character and gives off a shiny finish on any wood surface.

The moisture resistance of linseed oil is not as effective as other finishes, and it also has poor UV damage protection.

This makes danish oil more durable than linseed oil, considering that surfaces coated with linseed oil are vulnerable to mild scratches. 

Because of its low performance in crucial areas, linseed oil is better suited for indoor use. It also works well on cricket bats, but its compression strength is temporary.

It would help if you reapplied this finish regularly to maintain your wood’s visual appeal. But that shouldn’t worry you because linseed oil is among the cheapest wood finishing products. 

Ideally, danish oil is a better finish than linseed oil because it is hard-wearing and durable. 

Tung Oil Vs. Linseed Oil

As a woodworker, you should be well-versed with the different types of wood oil finishes. For a good reason, Tung oil and linseed oil are two commonly used wood finishes.

They provide an eye-catching finish on all wooden pieces. They also prevent the wood from degrading due to foreign elements. 

Let’s discuss their background details before looking at their differences. 

Tung oil is extracted from the seeds of tung trees, which only thrives in specific places worldwide.

Linseed oil is extracted from flax seeds. Both are natural oils but with few differences, as shown below:

  • Visual Appeal

Tung oil dries to a shiny, glossy finish on wood surfaces, while linseed oil offers a matte finish when dry.

This makes linseed oil a favorite option for woodworkers seeking a tasteful rustic look. 

  • Waterproofing

Tung oil is more tolerant of moisture, chemicals, and alcohol than linseed oil.

However, your wood can only benefit from these qualities if you apply the oil correctly without disregarding any spot. 

  • Durability

Tung oil can withstand maximum ill use if preserved correctly against external factors like excessive sunlight and extreme weather. The same does not hold for linseed oil.

It needs consistent upkeep and touch-up. For this reason, it’s advisable to use linseed oil only on surfaces enduring less impact. 

  • Cost

Tung oil is challenging to find because the trees only grow in selected places worldwide. This makes them more expensive than linseed oil. 

  • Versatility

Linseed and tung oil are versatile products, except that tung oil is limited to sealants for coating wood, brick, concrete, steel, and bamboo.

On the other hand, linseed oil is open to all your ideas. You can coat wood surfaces with it, including kitchen utensils, or use it for personal care.

These and many other applications make linseed oil more versatile than tung oil. 

  • Toxicity

Linseed oil and tung oil are both non-toxic oil finishes. However, boiled linseed oil contains synthetic additives that can harm the environment if disposed of incorrectly.

It can also affect your health if you coat surfaces without wearing protective gear. Therefore, it helps to apply boiled linseed oil in a well-ventilated space to discourage health issues. 

  • Ease of Use

Tung oil has a thicker consistency than linseed oil, so it’s more difficult to apply on surfaces. It also needs multiple coats to get a nice shine.

Linseed oil creates a shiny finish with only a few coats, and it also dries quicker because of the additives in the ingredients.

Whether tung oil is better than linseed oil depends on what finish you’re searching for.

If you want a simple look, opt for linseed oil. Choose tung oil for a durable surface that will withstand years of use. 

Raw Linseed Oil Vs. Boiled Linseed Oil

Linseed oil comes in three forms: raw, boiled, and polymerized. It is the easiest natural oil to manufacture, but its durability doesn’t match other quality finishes.

Raw linseed oil is the purest form of this finish, and its sold without synthetic additives or chemicals to preserve it.

Manufacturers blend it with oil-based paints so they can set well with a smoother finish. 

Because of its slow drying time, raw linseed oil is not recommended for finishing wood pieces, flooring, and decking. However, the slower drying time makes natural linseed oil suitable for treating bats in crickets.  

Boiled linseed oil has chemicals and additives that reduce the drying time of this oil. These additives also make this oil finish have a thin consistency for smooth application.

You can use it on various surfaces, including metal to reduce oxidation and in wood to resist water and harmful UV rays. 

 Because of the synthetic additives and chemicals, boiled linseed oil is very toxic and is not food-safe.

It’s advisable to carefully dispose of the containers that contact this oil to avoid health issues and environmental damage.

Boiled linseed oil is also highly flammable, so proper disposal of the rags used to apply this formula is critical. 

Generally, raw linseed has limited applications than boiled linseed oil. Therefore, it is not a woodworker’s favorite pick.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Wood Oil

Wood oils are the easiest finish to apply, and they allow users to address minor repairs by adding more oil to hide the surface imperfections.

They soak into the wood fibers to intensify the color, revealing the rich grain pattern while offering resistance against external factors. 

Wood oils spread quickly on surfaces assuming you use the correct delivery tools like a paintbrush or a clean cloth.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of wood oils:

  • Elastic

Wood oils have great elastic qualities. Despite their solid surface, they can adapt to temperature changes to avoid cracking or warping with time.

For example, they expand when it’s hot and contract during cold weather.

They also provide excellent impact resistance, meaning minor scratches will not reveal on the surfaces. 

  • Water Resistance

Wood oils repel water and moisture like other finishing products. This prevents wood from rotting and degrading over time.

It’s advisable to apply multiple thin layers of wood oil for improved water resistance. Besides water, wood oil withstands alcohol and chemicals. 

  • Easy to Apply

Applying wood oil involves minimal exertion because they have a smooth consistency. Though a paintbrush offers uniform coverage, you can achieve better results by using a microfiber cloth to apply wood oil.

  • Food Safe

Natural wood oils don’t have hardening agents, meaning they are 100% food safe. You can use these oils to coat all wooden utensils without fearing your health. Besides, wood oil is also safe for kids’ toys. 

Disadvantages of Wood Oil

The disadvantages include:

  • Slow Penetration

Wood oil in its pure form penetrates the wood very slowly. This can prolong your wood finishing project, especially considering it takes several coats to get the perfect shine.

Because of this shortcoming, you should sand between oil coats for better results. 

  • Difficult to Store

Unused wood oils are difficult to store. If left exposed to enough light or heat, the oil container can form gummy deposits around the lid.

You can no longer use the oil once this happens; therefore, always keep your wood oil away from direct heat or sunlight.

  • Less Durable

Wood oils only offer protection for a limited period. With time, you will want to retouch the finished surface to restore the wood’s beauty and strengthen it to withstand elements better. 


As an adventurous woodworker, you should know the different wood oil options to protect your wooden items against mild to extreme scratches and moisture.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with these natural wood oils, this section of the website has a lot to get you started with the understanding of these products.

Keep reading for more insight on the subject.