I'm interested in using Danish oil. One of the approaches I have seen is to apply the first coat, let it dry and then use 600 grit sandpaper that you wet with the Danish oil for the second and third coats.

Could you automate this by using a sanding machine or is adding volatile oil to a sanding machine a bad idea?

  • 1
    You indicate in your other Q that you're intending to make something from pine, if this is related to that you won't get any benefit from sanding softwoods to 600 grit unless the wood you're using is particularly high quality or old (with very close spacing of growth rings). In general this method is used to improve the finish when working with hardwoods, which have pores; softwoods have no pores.
    – Graphus
    Jan 10, 2022 at 12:15
  • Ok. I chose pine because it is affordable and im still getting to grip with the process.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 10, 2022 at 12:22
  • Would a easier couple of plain coats of danish oil be sufficient for pine?
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 10, 2022 at 12:23
  • 1
    My opinion: Danish Oil works much better on hardwoods than pine. Better to experiment on red oak, chestnut, alder, whatever is affordable where you live. Visit to lumber yard maybe very useful!
    – Volfram K
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:28
  • Re. the application of these sorts of finishes on pine, one of the main issues (for me at least) is that they build no surface. You'll get that desirable "this wood is finished" look for sure (particularly if the blend has more varnish in the mix than oil) but it can still look a little drab. "Would a easier couple of plain coats of danish oil be sufficient for pine?" I'd strongly recommend doing little test pieces on scrap so you can see the difference side by side. These don't have to be very large, the last time I did a comparison test I did them on small squares, ~10x10cm [contd]
    – Graphus
    Jan 12, 2022 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


In theory yes, but it might come around and bite you later.

The effect of exposure to mineral spirits on the pad in particular is unknown, and many plastics and resins (which foam pads are made from) are attacked by it, either softening and becoming sticky and/or becoming brittle after the solvent has evaporated.

Note: this sanding-in technique is not used by all people finishing with "Danish oil" and other similar finishes which are blends on oil and varnish that are then diluted (sometimes heavily — many or even most are more than 50% thinners!)

I mention this because it's easy to make your own versions of this sort of thing if you have the three starting ingredients — e.g. boiled linseed oil, polyurethane varnish and mineral spirits — at a very significant saving. Additional benefits include:

  • you can tailor the mixture to your own liking, so instead of a single mix of the two finishes (1:1? who knows?!) you can use more oil or more varnish depending on how they work with the wood you're currently using;
  • you can vary the dilution of your preferred ratio(s) of oil to varnish to suit different drying conditions through the year;
  • and last but not least, you have the BLO and the poly.

So instead of having only one mixture you can't alter other than by thinning it even more you can make as many versions as you like, along with the two original finishes which can be used separately (and it won't take long to find applications where you do want them separate).

  • And, with the proper application of a marker & masking tape, or even a fancy-pants label maker, you can have multiple jars of multiple mixtures premade and stored for future use. It's entirely likely that you'll mix up more of the 4:2:1 than you'll need for this project, so just label it and keep it for the next time that seems to be the right thing to use.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 10, 2022 at 19:18
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    @FreeMan, I'm glad a strip of masking tape with hastily scrawled description in marker is an acceptable alternative to a fancy-pants label maker ^_^
    – Graphus
    Jan 12, 2022 at 16:31
  • But, if your wife has 3 fancy pants label makers, by golly someone better get some use out of 'em!
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12, 2022 at 16:43
  • @FreeMan, true dat :-) You can bet if there were a label maker in the house I'd be damned well making use of it! Cos as much as I love my masking tape labels [/sarcasm] they can get damned hard to read after a while......
    – Graphus
    Jan 12, 2022 at 16:55
  • If the results is unknown then I think it is a bad idea.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 12, 2022 at 18:37

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