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Can I apply danish oil to existing oil finish?

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davidps

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Hello!

Total beginner here, I have been scrolling through articles online but can’t seem to find a definitive answer to my dilemma...

I recently bought a mid century sideboard which I think is solid Afromosia wood. The top had lots of very bad water rings and heat marks on it, so I have stripped and sanded it down ready to apply a new finish with danish oil. So far so good. Now here’s my question: The front of the sideboard is in pretty good condition and I don’t feel it needs stripping and refinishing like the top. It’s just a bit dull and lacklustre. Am I ok to just apply a coat of danish oil to revive it a little? I tested in a hidden area and determined that it already has some sort of oil finish on it. I am wondering if it’s ok to just apply danish oil to an existing oil finish and if not, should I strip and sand like the top or use some alternative oil or other method to revive the wood?
 

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MikeG.

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If a test area shows it works, then it works. However, I'd caution you not to expect the stripped area and the non-stripped area to look the same after you coat them in Danish oil. If this is an issue for you, then you will need to strip the entire piece.
 

davidps

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Thanks for replying Mike! I tested by dropping a small amount of the danish oil on the inside of the cabinet doors. It appeared to absorb into the wood, rather than bead, which I’ve read means that the existing finish is oil? I’m not unduly worried about the top being a slightly different colour, at least it looks much better than all the horrible marks that were all over it before. My main concern about using danish oil to revive the front of the sideboard is that it might dramatically darken it or change its colour? If I use it sparingly, do you think it won’t darken too much? I really just want to restore its current finish to make it “pop” again. Is there a better way of going about this, or is re-oiling with the danish oil the way to go?(The photo I have attached of the sideboard is actually quite flattering, it in fact looks a little duller and a bit dry seeing it in person)
 

ED65

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Congrats on your buy! That's a nice piece.

davidps":3rkfyda4 said:
I tested by dropping a small amount of the danish oil on the inside of the cabinet doors. It appeared to absorb into the wood, rather than bead, which I’ve read means that the existing finish is oil?
It's not a sure sign. It can also mean the previous finish was very thin (often the case on interior surfaces, assuming any finish was applied at all) or has worn thin, or has degraded over time.

Regardless, an oil finish can be often be successfully applied over dissimilar finishes. This is done regularly on new stuff when oil finishes are applied over thin applications of shellac or commercial wood conditioner/anti-blotching products. And on old stuff there's a long tradition of reviving old finishes with various concoctions containing an oil of one type or another.

davidps":3rkfyda4 said:
My main concern about using danish oil to revive the front of the sideboard is that it might dramatically darken it or change its colour?
Darkening is one sure side effect of oil or oil finishes if the oil can reach the wood itself. Oil is well known (and highly valued) for its ability to deepen the tone of wood and maximise contrast, "popping the grain" as it's often referred to today.

davidps":3rkfyda4 said:
I really just want to restore its current finish to make it “pop” again. Is there a better way of going about this, or is re-oiling with the danish oil the way to go?
It's really impossible to give sure-fire advice without seeing the thing in the flesh, and even then judgments can be wrong. This is why small test on an inconspicuous spot are often done even at the professional level, assuming the decision hasn't already been made to completely refinish.

Your plan could work well, I've revived furniture numerous times with something akin to Danish oil. Many here have done the same. But simply waxing is a well-established traditional means of bringing some gloss back to furniture that has gone a bit dull and it's a very safe, reversible, option.

The top should be treated differently, although personally I'd use a wiping varnish Danish oil will work fine and that's what you already have.
 

ED65

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BTW in case the instructions on the can don't emphasise this enough, you must remove all the excess Danish oil as the last step in application. Wipe up thoroughly and evenly, paying attention to inside corners. If you leave the surface oily the finish will dry sticky or gummy and may remain that way permanently.
 

Simon_M

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davidps":3jmr5w51 said:
mid century sideboard which I think is solid Afromosia wood
I wouldn't assume that it's all "solid" wood e.g. the doors look like they rely on being a veneered blackboard or plywood for their "flatness". Otherwise (not here) they might be made with a carcase with inset panels to keep their flatness over time. You could probably check this by looking for evidence of "banding" on the top/bottom edges. So you might want to go easy on sanding these parts. Some furniture doesn't rely on veneering for the edges, just a thick coat of brown stain (paint).

Some instructions from https://danish-oil.com e.g. wipe on and wipe off again: "Danish Oil should be applied liberally and evenly. When using a cloth, use a circular or figure of eight pattern to work into the wood, and apply until the wood stops absorbing. Allow to penetrate for 10-20 minutes before wiping off any excess with a lint-free cloth in the direction of the grain. After the first and/or second coats have dried, any nibs or raised grain can be removed with a fine grade sandpaper or wire wool (000 or 0000 grade). The dust created should be removed with white spirit on a lint-free rag. For both interior and exterior wood 3-5 coats are recommended".
 

lurker

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The problem with Danish oil is it can be anything and in any proportion the manufacturers wants to stick in a can.

This item looks too nice to risk ruining IMHO.

For consistesency I would go for a "brand" such as chestnut.
Terry their Tech bloke is a member here and his advice is very sound without over selling.

I refinished a oak table in their microcrystalline wax and it impressed me so much that would be my "go to".
But I am no expert
 

woodbloke66

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davidps":81q0ucqz said:
Hello!

Now here’s my question: The front of the sideboard is in pretty good condition and I don’t feel it needs stripping and refinishing like the top. It’s just a bit dull and lacklustre.
Although the front looks good, it will have acquired a surface patina and some grime over the years which needs to be gently removed before applying the Danish Oil. This Liberon stuff is pretty good but there will be other products that do a similar job. Always try it out on a hidden test piece before tackling the main job - Rob
 

Trevanion

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woodbloke66":1wez80wd said:
Although the front looks good, it will have acquired a surface patina and some grime over the years which needs to be gently removed before applying the Danish Oil. This Liberon stuff is pretty good but there will be other products that do a similar job. Always try it out on a hidden test piece before tackling the main job - Rob
Meths and Pure Turps mixed 50/50 works very well when scrubbing with 0000 wire wool if you just want to clean off the grime and freshen up the surface a bit. Meths, Turps and Boiled Linseed Oil (any oil would probably work) mixed in equal parts also works excellently for cleaning and leaving a finish behind, it's a good way of cleaning something up without ruining the patina too much.
 
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