A User’s Guide to Wood Oil

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 choice due to their staying power and protective properties, wood oils confer significant advantages with their naturally nontoxic formulations and ability to draw out 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 oil 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 linseed oil for an enduring polymerizing finish.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dark Half

A mixture of Dark Tung Oil and Citrus Solvent, Dark Half comes ready to use on DIY woodworking projects that require a deep, rich finish. Since this wood oil cures by oxidation and not evaporation, it penetrates deeply into wood surfaces to prevent dryness and add a healthy matte finish with just a hint of darkness for further woodgrain enhancement.

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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.

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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 thin down wood oils to the perfect consistency, or put it to work cleaning paintbrushes or degreasing equipment.

What Is Wood Oil?

Wood oils are finishing oils made via plant extraction, and many options have nontoxic formulations with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for safer woodworking. 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 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 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 medium adds a beautiful sheen and extra durability to your favorite 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 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, 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 allows fuss-free repairs as needed.

What Is the Best Oil for Wood?

The best oil for wood varies with the types of 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 outdoor decor 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 oils feature a tint to help accentuate wood grain and aid in covering small surface flaws.


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