Wood Oils: A User’s Guide

Many options exist for finishing both old and new wood projects, including using wood oils from the Real Milk Paint Co.

While varnishes and lacquers are often the go-to choices due to their staying power and protective properties, wood oils confer significant advantages with their naturally non-toxic formulations and ability to draw out the wood grain and showcase it in its best light. Different wood oils work well for different projects, helping you attain the results you want quickly and economically.

paint brush applying wood oils on a table

Pure Tung Oil

Pure Tung Oil offers a waterproof finish that aids wood in resisting abrasions and acids. This grade 1 formulation has high-quality light yellow coloration to showcase its purity, and it doesn’t mold, darken or yellow with time like raw linseed oil for an enduring polymerizing finish.

Half and Half

With a 1:1 ratio of Pure Tung Oil and Citrus Solvent, Half & Half by the Real Milk Paint Co. eliminates the need to mix a solvent and our wood oils to the right consistency. By thinning the Pure Tung Oil down, it allows the formulation to better penetrate wood and provides a waterproof seal in just three to five coats.

Dark Tung Oil

Our Dark Tung Oil combines Pure Tung Oil with dark brown resinous hydrocarbon materials to create a richly hued finish that resists water and alkalis. The food-contact-safe formulation penetrates wood with ease and builds to a dark matte wood finish quickly to help you get the precise result you want for your kitchenware or woodworking projects.

Dark Half

The Dark Half adds depth and texture to your wood surfaces giving it an aged appearance. A perfect combination of our Dark Tung Oil and natural, food-grade thinner, Citrus Solvent.

Hemp Oil

Formulated with a thin viscosity for premium penetration, our Hemp Oil requires no mixing with solvents for fuss-free use right out of the container. The all-natural formulation with no VOCs offers a clean, lasting finish for raw wood and surfaces covered with chalk or milk paint. This wood oil also aids in reviving worn finishes when you want to breathe new life into upcycled furniture and decor.

Outdoor Defense Oil

Add Outdoor Defense Oil to other wood oils by the Real Milk Paint Co. to help them withstand the rigors of seasonal weather changes. Suitable for everything from wood decks and exterior log walls to wood storage sheds and raised garden beds, this wood oil confers UV protection while helping surfaces resist mold and mildew.

Citrus Solvent

Thin down Pure Tung Oil and Dark Tung Oil easily with our Citrus Solvent. This versatile formulation offers a hassle-free alternative to regular paint thinners and mineral spirits, with its natural ingredients allowing use and disposal with no environmental threats. Additionally, Citrus Solvent doubles as a handy cleaner when you want to remove all the waxes and grease from surfaces before painting, staining, waxing or oiling.

Odorless Mineral Spirits

Unlike standard mineral spirits, Odorless Mineral Spirits from the Real Milk Paint Co. don’t give off noxious fumes for safer use in DIY projects. Use this product to turn wood oil into thin oil and achieve the perfect consistency, or put it to work cleaning paintbrushes or degreasing equipment.

What Are Wood Oils?

Wood oils are finishing oils made via plant extraction, and many options have nontoxic formulations with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for safer woodworking. Some examples are teak oil, boiled linseed oil, danish oil, olive oil, china wood oil and more.

These natural oils are perfect for use on raw wood or as a top coat for items covered in Real Milk Paint, these finishing oils penetrate wood deeply to replenish moisture lost to time and use. While not as durable as lacquer or varnish, wood oils do offer water resistance and ample protection for household furnishings and exterior wood surfaces, and they also allow reapplication as needed to keep surfaces looking their very best.

Should I Oil My Wood Furniture?

Whether you should oil your wood furniture or wooden surfaces depends on the results you want. If your home furnishings look dried out and you wish to revive them, using wood oil in place of regular furniture polish can help.

This versatile oil finish adds a beautiful sheen and extra durability to your favorite wood furniture pieces, helping them retain their beauty even when frequently used by you and your family. In some cases, wood oils can even help you conceal small flaws and scratches in wood furniture and wood surfaces without the need for repairs or refinishing.

Is Wax or Oil Better for Wood?

Wood wax and wood oil both have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, wood waxes dry to a thin protective layer almost like an eggshell to protect furnishings or bare wood, while wood oils cure, more than dry, to create a water-resistant finish.

Keep in mind that waxes typically serve as a topcoat, so you can use them over raw and finished wood alike, though they typically need reapplication 4 to 6 times a year. Wood oils as a finish tend to last longer, reducing maintenance requirements and allowing fuss-free repairs as needed.

What Is the Best Oil for Wood?

The right wood oil varies with the types of wood and items you wish to finish. For example, food-grade wood oils from the Real Milk Paint Co. work wonderfully in the kitchen, providing a simple way to seal everything from cutting boards and butcher blocks to wooden bowls and utensils.

If, however, you plan on finishing exterior wood surfaces such as garden benches or Adirondack chairs, our Outdoor Defense Oil proves adept at protecting and preserving wood, concrete, and stone alike from both time and inclement weather. Additionally, some wood oil finishes feature a tint to help accentuate wood grain and aid in covering small surface flaws.

Directions for Use

How Do You Apply Wood Oil?

One of the main benefits of wood oils is their ease of application. First, use a soft, clean rag to remove any dust from the surface, and clean the wood with Citrus Solvent if necessary.

Next, inspect the surface to see if you need to even out the surface via sanding, add wood filler to repair any flaws or remove stains with products such as our Oxalic Acid.

Once you’ve cleaned and prepped your surface, apply the wood oil liberally with a clean, soft cloth, let it soak into the wood for 45 minutes to an hour, spreading any pooling that may occur.

Continue adding coats in this fashion, giving them time to absorb in between, until you get the results you desire or the wood reaches saturation. You will know that the wood is saturated when the majority of the surface is pooling and no longer absorbing the wood oil, even after 60 minutes. Surfaces coated with wood oils typically cure for use within 7 to 10 days and fully within 15 to 30 days.

Rely on wood oils when you want a protective finish that showcases the beauty of your furniture and decor. Safe formulations that don’t harm the environment help you feel confident when completing woodworking projects using finishing and wood oils from the Real Milk Paint Co., and these products work on a diverse range of materials for versatile use in your craft room, garage or workshop.