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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Oiling Rosewood furniture


Hi Greg-

I have been searching for an answer to my question for ages.

We purchased a few pieces of Scandinavian rosewood furniture about 40 years ago.  Since I cannot find an oil that I am sure is good for the pieces, they have not been oiled for years.  The store was emphatic that we could  only oil the furniture.  Anything else would affect the pores in the wood.  

I have been looking on the Internet for ages, calling furniture stores, and asking people I talk with.  No one has been able to give me a definitive brand name.  I know a lot on the info given me has been I am afraid to do anything.

Would appreciate a brand name of a good Scandinavian rosewood oil ....and how to purchase the product, please.

Thank you!!!!

Hi Mary Ellen, the catch all term of "Danish Oil" is used to describe these finishes, which are drying oils, containing natural resins,(usually modified Tung oil), driers, Phenolics and other ingredients. They are drying oils, meaning they penetrate the wood fibers and harden like a varnish in the wood, leaving the pores open and curing to provide a durable finish that leaves a natural, 'hand rubbed' appearance. Modern day versions of these products typically ditch the Linseed oil base, for more modern modified Tung oils, as Linseeds have a known tendency to darken and break down with age, as well as not being as hard and/or durable when cured. (which can take weeks)They are really closer to wiping varnishes...The beauty of these finishes is that they are easy to apply, fairly water resistant, will never chip, flake, crack, etc...and can be re-applied as a way to rejuvenate the surface down the road. As multiple coats are applied however, the finish will start to "build" a film thickness that can start to fill the pores and eventually build to what looks more like a traditional 'film' finish like a varnish, so over application is not advised.You simply apply it to the cleaned surface with a brush, let it sit for 5-30 minutes (less on a veneered surface), and then wipe it completely off, leaving a very thin application behind.If it get sticky as you're wiping it off, simply apply more and then immediately wipe off well. Let dry for 24 hours and evaluate the surface at that point to see if additional coats are warranted. A damaged or badly worn surface may not respond to the new application, and may remain discolored, dull, stained, etc...and at that point further restoration may be need, but at that point it becomes much more complicated, and not usually the realm of the novice. Cleaning the surface of oils, wax, food residue with mineral spirits, sometimes aided by a 0000 steel wool pad or ScotchBrite pad will prepare the surface , but also allow you to see what the oil will do to the surface, as wetting it with the mineral spirits will mimic the 'look' of the applied oil finish.Sometimes wet sanding with 400-600 wet dry paper with the Oil finish can yield a better result, but I do not recommend that to a novice as it can be difficult to know how far to go, and if the method is having the proper result as it's being done... Watco Danish Oil is the easiest to find, and a good, reliable product. Please read, understand and follow the directions on the product, especially the warnings on disposing of rags, etc., due to the danger of spontaneous combustion.
Please post back if need be, and best of luck.

You can find it at Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, etc. and it does come in colors...I like the Black Walnut or MAYBE Red Mahogany on Rosewood...but you will likely need to experiment on a back leg or similar area to see the final 'look' BEFORE committing to the entire piece..
And finally here's a little reading for you which hopefully will not confuse you further....

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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