Stop right there.
Before you finish your quarter sawn white oak projects, you need to know how to make that beautiful ray figure jump out.
The good news is that it takes no special hard-to-master technique, or an arsenal of chemicals, or a new set of tools to add to your shop. In fact, you can get a popping finish without even stepping foot into a “real” woodworking shop. You could do this within the tight confines of a veranda of a New York City apartment if you had to.
The secret budget-friendly answer is in a can of Danish oil. And all you have to do is apply it after your final sanding and before your top coat of choice – and the top coat is entirely optional. Danish oil, such as by Deft, is a penetrating tung oil and urethane finish that’s highly effective at highlighting wood grain without obscuring it.
The Danish oil by Deft in particular will seal the wood (in addition to adding depth to the grain) with a hard shell urethane once it’s dry. So you don’t necessarily have to use a shellac, lacquer, or varnish on top of it. Only if you want to.
Take a look.
Four Different Finished Samples; Which One Is the Best?
Which one of the four looks the worst as far as figure is concerned?
Exactly. That boring piece in the lower right corner.
You can’t tell from this picture, but the wood does have some modest figure.
It’s only finished with a coat of sanding sealer and a clear lacquer.
This is a good example of what to expect when you don’t try to help out the figure. Just ho-hum results. And who wants that?
The Two on the Left Look Pretty Nice, Don’t They?
See this piece to the left? Now we’re getting somewhere.
This piece was first stained with a “walnut” oil based gel stain, then sanded to remove surface color.
Then we applied the magic ingredient: Danish oil (fruitwood color).
After it dried, which was about 3 days, we shot a few coats of clear Deft lacquer.
Sanding the stain off was just a simple experiment that proved to have little worth. It darkened the pores a bit, but otherwise added nothing.
<– Here’s the best result (my opinion, anyway).
We took this quarter sawn white oak piece and simply added two coats of Deft Fruitwood Danish oil, let it cure, then topped it off with a clear Deft lacquer.
What do you notice about this piece?
First, it’s worth pointing out that the fruitwood Danish oil only darkened the wood slightly.
Second, well, just look at it. That figure came alive with just a little extra effort and time, but it’s obviously worth it. If you’ve just spent weeks or months building a project, the finish is what really sends the message about your handiwork and hard work.
The Comparison – Danish Oil vs. No Danish Oil
The real comparison.
See how the left side pops right out, and the left is really dull? The entire piece has a gel oil-based stain.
The left side has just a Fruitwood Danish oil coat. The right just a wipe-on polyurethane clear finish.
The benefit of Danish oil should be very clear. And the serious downside to a regular wood stain should be screaming at you.
The funny part is that this piece has only so-so figure. But a splash of Danish oil changed the world.
What Do You Think of The Danish Oil on Quarter Sawn White Oak?
It should be very evident as to why you should use Danish oil. You’re going to have a fantastic looking finished piece.
To boost your results even more, do this after the Danish oil cures:
- Apply sanding sealer, sand smooth, and repeat until the tiny pores of the wood are completely filled
- Apply a shellac, lacquer, or varnish top coat of your choice
- Take the time to buff out the top coat. You’ll get a stunning finish
Finishing off the surface like this gets you a perfect glass-smooth surface, and you’ll be the envy of all your woodworking buddies.
How ever you choose to finish your quarter sawn white oak project, I think it goes without saying (because the pictures said it all): do yourself a favor and take the time to apply a Danish oil.
Tags: finishingThis entry was posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 at 12:41 am and is filed under Tips and Tricks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.