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Danish oil finishing advice

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hellobadger

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Hi everyone,

I've just completed an Elm coffee table and I'm really happy with how it's turned out. I decided to finish it in Danish oil as I've had great results with it before, particularly with a Yew kitchen bench where the finished surface is smooth-as-marble. So, I followed the instructions - I sanded it to 240 grit and applied 3 coats leaving it to dry each time. But, the finish isn't great this time, not at all. Basically, it's a bit....rough, the grain is really jumping out in a bad way (photo attached).

I watched a guy on Youtube wiping excess Danish oil off each time he applied it and then wet-sanded the Danish oil into the wood with 600 grit sandpaper. Does anyone recommend this? If so, what do I need to do to my table from where I am now? Just jump straight in with the 600 sandpaper and more oil?

Many thanks,

Andy
 

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topchippytom

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Sounds like the wood is quite arbsorbent with the oil so i would sand it back as you mentioned and re apply the oil,Cannot do any damage.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Give the bare wood a good wipe over with hot water and let it dry - it doesn't take long - it'll raise the grain so you can sand it again before the oil. Yes, wipe it off after every coat except possibly the last.
 

RichardG

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I also saw this video and tried wet sanding using Danish oil as the lubricant on a small box using 500 grit wet and dry and it worked well although a bit messy and wasteful of the oil. Hard to say if the finish was any better than dry sanding though, although when doing car body work you always wet sand so could be something in it.

Richard
 
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I haven't used Elm, but every wood is going to be different, and may require more coats than others before the grain stops raising so much between coats.

If you have remaining offcuts, you may want to experient with a (very) thinned down sanding sealer before the oil. But be warned, it will competely change the look, and may look 'plasticy'.
 

Pete Maddex

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I use a scotchbrite pad to apply Danish oil to oak, but I have been told the sponges with a scrubbing pad on one side are good.

The aim is to make a slurry to fill the grain so sand the oil until it just starts to go off and wipe down.

Pete
 

Lons

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There's a big difference between Yew and elm the latter usually has a very open grain which needs filling.
Years ago I made a nest of elm coffee tables and used a transparent grain filler before danish oil, worked well and as far as I know the tables are still good. Havent tried the wet sand slurry method but can't see why it won't work and as the lubricant is oil there should be minimal grain raised.

Must try it myself sometime, got me thinking what can I make now. :)
 

will1983

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Wet sanding with oil is a technique used a fair bit in Luthiery.
I did it on the beech doors of my wardrobes and it seemed to work well. I used Tung oil for those though, not danish oil but the principles are the same.
 

thetyreman

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I have tried sanding into wood with pure tung oil + 600g, it's usually on the very last layer, helps penetrate into the grain, but it will dull the wood a bit, when I tried it on oak it looked slightly too matt for my tastes, I prefered how it looked finished with a cabinet scraper no80 then oiled, it was just a bit glossier and a smoother surface once cured.
 

hellobadger

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Thanks so much for the advice, I love this forum.

I tried sanding it back and went with the wet sanding approach with the oil. The finish is certainly much better and I can live with it. Hard to tell from the photo how much better it is but it passes the touch test very nicely.

Thanks again,

Andrew
 

Trevanion

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RichardG":11fbw3qo said:
although when doing car body work you always wet sand so could be something in it.
I just have to chime in as someone who’s very familiar with body work having spent my whole life around it, the reason you wet sand is that its much easier to see scratches being removed as you progress through the grits and that it also keeps the dust down. Nothing more to it than that :D .
 

RichardG

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Trevanion":kfjt8jmu said:
RichardG":kfjt8jmu said:
although when doing car body work you always wet sand so could be something in it.
I just have to chime in as someone who’s very familiar with body work having spent my whole life around it, the reason you wet sand is that its much easier to see scratches being removed as you progress through the grits and that it also keeps the dust down. Nothing more to it than that :D .
Thanks, you learn something every day on this site.

Richard
 

Lons

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RichardG":3dfqtblg said:
although when doing car body work you always wet sand so could be something in it.
Yes but surely not the same as wet sanding on wood!

Paint on the metal or plastic of car bodywork doesn't have an open grain as wood does so the dust won't mix with the oil and fill the grain. Different scenario.
 
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