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Rav 01-24-2013 02:52 PM

Need help oiling wood paneling
 
1 Attachment(s)
Hopefully this is the right forum for this; please let me know otherwise. We have a 1931 house with dark wood paneling above the fireplace (now a gas insert). We bought the house in 1992, and have never treated the wood in any way. And it looks like the previous owner may not have either. It was dry, with very little sheen. We wanted to restore its sheen. First I cleaned with Murphy Soft Wipes and let dry. Then, so far, I've applied three coats of Formby's Lemon Oil. It looks great when it's still wet. I let each coat dry for at least two days before applying the next coat, although each time it appeared to have dried and completely soaked in after just a few hours. The issue is, it keeps soaking in, and there's not much more sheen than when I started. Is it unusual to have to apply many coats before it stops completely soaking in? How many more coats might I have to apply?

The picture below is prior to applying the first coat, but while it has improved a little since then (the narrow pieces of wood between the panels, in particular), it doesn't look all that different now.

Thanks for your advice.

oh'mike 01-24-2013 03:36 PM

That is ,very likely, a shellac finish----you have gone about this with the wrong products---in my opinion---

More shellac--perhaps even a french polish would have been a better approach--

Wipe on poly would have freshened that right up also---

now you are in trouble----if you want to restore the finish --all of that wax and oil needs to be removed---mineral spirits and steel wool--followed by an alcohol wipe down will be required first.

ric knows paint 01-24-2013 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rav (Post 1101027)
Hopefully this is the right forum for this; please let me know otherwise. We have a 1931 house with dark wood paneling above the fireplace (now a gas insert). We bought the house in 1992, and have never treated the wood in any way. And it looks like the previous owner may not have either. It was dry, with very little sheen. We wanted to restore its sheen. First I cleaned with Murphy Soft Wipes and let dry. Then, so far, I've applied three coats of Formby's Lemon Oil. It looks great when it's still wet. I let each coat dry for at least two days before applying the next coat, although each time it appeared to have dried and completely soaked in after just a few hours. The issue is, it keeps soaking in, and there's not much more sheen than when I started. Is it unusual to have to apply many coats before it stops completely soaking in? How many more coats might I have to apply?

The picture below is prior to applying the first coat, but while it has improved a little since then (the narrow pieces of wood between the panels, in particular), it doesn't look all that different now.

Thanks for your advice.

Hiya Rav...

Good to see you back again...I'm thinkin' Mike is calling your finish a shellac because of the age of your home. To me, it doesn't look like shellac, but it's hard to tell from a pic. Regardless, if that wood is as dry as you say, I don't think you have to worry about removing anything prior to re-oiling, but having said that...Lemon Oil really isn't the right product to use (at least at this stage of the game - I'll get to that later)...

Personally, if this were my project and I wanted a hand-rubbed look (as opposed to a varnish surface coating), I'd take a look at Danish oils. The type of surface you've described is what Danish oils are made for - dry wood. It is a solvent based blend of varnish and drying oils and can be applied by rag or brush. It may take 3 coats to get the kind of sheen you're looking for (on dry wood, 3 coats should yield a nice, continual low lustre - very rich looking). Danish oils smell great too - no strong solvent smell.

Periodically, you'll need to re-address Danish oils by simply rubbing a "maintenance" coating to the surface every now and then. This "maintenance" coating restores any lost lustre that takes place with any drying oils, but it's really an easy application with very little surface prep (dust first, remove cobwebs...that's about it)...(shoot, you really don't even have to dust). These products are really not for high traffic areas, but would be perfect on wood paneling.

Watco is probably the best known brand of Danish oils...and is now owned by Rustoleum. You can read all about these products on their website. On their website, they also have several other drying oils and rubbing varnishes to consider.

One thing to understand when rubbing out wood with drying oils - wood is not like a manufactured substrate - there are varying degrees of porosity within the same board...and these oils are penetrating oils (as opposed to surface coatings). Because of these variances in wood, oils may penetrate the grain differently on spring growth versus summer growth - by doing so, sometimes you'll experience higher and lower sheens on your project. To most, that is one of the beauties of a hand rubbed oil finish...and since most hand rubbed oils dry to a low satin sheen, the differences usually aren't that glaring. But if you'd prefer a uniform sheen, a surface coating such as a poly may be the better choice (a lot more work, and IMO they don't look near as nice).

Lemon oil is probably better used as a furniture polish for already finished woods. It's pretty good at restoring sheen and covering scratches (plus it also smells great), but it doesn't really have enough solids, or body, to use on anything even remotely porous, as you've already experienced.

Anyway, good luck and let us know what you decide.

Rav 01-25-2013 09:55 AM

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Hi, Ric. Good to hear from you again, too. Thanks so much for your detailed response, I appreciate it.

I went to the Watco web site (www.rustoleum.com/cbgbrand.asp?bid=11) and looked at the Danish Oil as well as the other products. At first, it looked like they were all stains, which concerned us as we don't want to risk changing the color of the wood. I Googled "clear danish oil" and found references to Watco's "Natural" color Danish Oil, which is one of the colors shown on the Watco web site. Is that, essentially, clear? Otherwise, would one of the other Watco products shown there provide the same result, but without staining? For example, they have Tung Oil and Rejuvenating Oil (there were others, but they didn't look like the right things to use).

One other question: My wife wants to know if it turns out that shellac had been previously used, would the Danish Oil make the situation worse, or would we be no "worse off" than we are now with the lemon oil?

I've attached a more close-up picture of the wood, if that helps any.

Thanks!

ric knows paint 01-25-2013 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rav (Post 1101631)
Hi, Ric. Good to hear from you again, too. Thanks so much for your detailed response, I appreciate it.

I went to the Watco web site (www.rustoleum.com/cbgbrand.asp?bid=11) and looked at the Danish Oil as well as the other products. At first, it looked like they were all stains, which concerned us as we don't want to risk changing the color of the wood. I Googled "clear danish oil" and found references to Watco's "Natural" color Danish Oil, which is one of the colors shown on the Watco web site. Is that, essentially, clear? Otherwise, would one of the other Watco products shown there provide the same result, but without staining? For example, they have Tung Oil and Rejuvenating Oil (there were others, but they didn't look like the right things to use).

One other question: My wife wants to know if it turns out that shellac had been previously used, would the Danish Oil make the situation worse, or would we be no "worse off" than we are now with the lemon oil?

I've attached a more close-up picture of the wood, if that helps any.

Thanks!

It is possible that shellac was used on your paneling back in the 30's (or since then, for that matter). Shellac was commonly used back then - but so was lacquer, varnishes, rubbing oils, beeswax, wood polishing (burnishing), and I'm sure others...the telltale sign of shellac though is it's high gloss. Your board doesn't appear to have much, if any, sheen to it - and if there's still a surface coating that remains, I think the lemon oil wouldn't be able to penetrate completely as you've described.

So, there would be no incompatibility with a penetrating oil and a remnant of a shellac (or other) film, but any shellac could keep the oil from penetrating...and these oils are too soft to serve as a surface coating. The best recommendation really would be to test some out on an inconspicuous area and see what happens - you should be able to tell immediately if the oil is going to penetrate - if it just lays on the surface (not what you've experienced with lemon oil), more prep would be needed to then finish with penetrating oils.

Mike mentioned a solvent wash of either mineral spirits or alcohol or both to remove any waxes that may have been applied over the years. Built up waxes could also impede the oil's ability to penetrate...typically waxes will show a build up, in less handled areas of your board, that may be a little soft or gummy. The more wax applications over the years, the higher sheen will be apparent in those areas that aren't handled or cleaned as easily as the flat portion of the boards (especially inside corners).

If you were to consider a french polish with shellac - the finish appears hand-rubbed (although a higher sheen than a penetrating oil), because it is hand rubbed. Unfortunately, it's not as easy of an app as is oils. It requires mixing of components (shellac/alcohol/turpentine) and spreading with a rag folded to about the size of your fist. There are youtube videos to watch that'll help, but it can be a little tricky. The results, on the other hand, are beautiful - stunning - exquisite - amazing. It's actually kind of a lost art. Kinda labor intensive though...

I shoulda mentioned earlier that Danish oil comes in many different "tones"...Natural is probably what you'd be most interested in - it is clear, but has an amber cast (as most oils will), that brings out a depth and richness to natural wood. Regarding the differences between the other oil type finishes available through Watco - If there tung oil is actually a tung oil varnish, I think it'd be more a surface app than a deep penetrating oil...if it's straight tung oil, it would actually penetrate and harden the wood, and have more moisture resistance than Danish oils have, but i'm not sure that'd be of benefit to you. The rubbing varnishes are not something I've used a lot of - they can look great, but they are a surface coating without a great deal of penetration.

I'm not sure if I answered your question or made things more confusing, but I mean well when I'm rambling...

Rav 01-25-2013 10:52 AM

Thanks so much, ric. Based on what you've said, here is my plan: Get the Watco natural color Danish Oil, apply one coat in a small inconspicuous area, see if it penetrates. If it does, do the whole job (up to 3 coats). If it just sits on the surface, don't continue without further prep.

Rav 01-25-2013 12:34 PM

Ric: In thinking about this further, I'm wondering if I should make a sanding pass before applying the Danish Oil. I want to make sure there is nothing left on the surface (i.e. old shellac) that might impede the oil from penetrating. I don't want to end up regretting not prepping properly first. If you think this is a good idea, what grit(s) should I use (180? 220?)? I don't want to remove the stain or anything. Should it just be a light sanding? Should I clean afterwards with a tack cloth, or a rag dampened with mineral spirits? Thanks for your advice.

zircon 01-25-2013 01:03 PM

Rub down first with rag soaked in mineral spirits to dissolve wax, dirt, grime that built up over the years. Then rub down with 000 steel wool soaked in BLO(boiled linseed oil). The steel wool will cut part way through the top layer of finish without disturbing the stain and the BLO will build the finish back up.

Rav 01-25-2013 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zircon (Post 1101780)
Rub down first with rag soaked in mineral spirits to dissolve wax, dirt, grime that built up over the years. Then rub down with 000 steel wool soaked in BLO(boiled linseed oil). The steel wool will cut part way through the top layer of finish without disturbing the stain and the BLO will build the finish back up.

Are you saying to use BLO instead of Danish Oil, or use BLO and then use Danish Oil? Thanks.

zircon 01-25-2013 01:29 PM

Just BLO. I think you will be pleased with the finish.

ric knows paint 01-25-2013 04:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rav (Post 1101752)
Ric: In thinking about this further, I'm wondering if I should make a sanding pass before applying the Danish Oil. I want to make sure there is nothing left on the surface (i.e. old shellac) that might impede the oil from penetrating. I don't want to end up regretting not prepping properly first. If you think this is a good idea, what grit(s) should I use (180? 220?)? I don't want to remove the stain or anything. Should it just be a light sanding? Should I clean afterwards with a tack cloth, or a rag dampened with mineral spirits? Thanks for your advice.

Rav,

As Zircon & Mike both mentioned, it never hurts to solvent wipe a wood surface before putting any finish on to remove any wax build up...if your wood is dry enough to absorb oils, sanding is probably not necessary.

Regarding BLO - BLO would work fine here. There are differences though between BLO & Danish Oils with distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. BLO is a heavier bodied and slower drying oil than is your typical Danish oil. However the viscosity can be lessened - and the dry time sped up by reducing BLO with mineral spirits, or (my favorite) gum spirits turpentine. You can't really over thin BLO with these sovents, just remember a little goes along way when treating oils.

On the other hand, Danish oil is a blend of oil(s), including BLO and Tung oil - plus a varnish element (varnish in this example is actual manufactured varnish - not just "boiled" oil). Many of the components of Danish oil are blended to address those weakness of an individual component, if applied separately. Danish oil is already reduced with solvent to a recommended consistency, and the varnish element kind of restricts how deeply the oil will penetrate.

Both products penetrate the wood's fibers and strengthens the wood. In multiple applications, BLO will become more of a surface coating than Danish oil (at least in the same number of apps). That, by itself, is neither an advantage or disadvantage of either.

Advantages BLO - Heavier film build. Able to create a higher sheen than with Danish oils. Penetrates deeply into wood fibers.
Disadvantage BLO - Can be slow drying. Product doesn't harden adequately and usually requires waxing. May become soft and wrinkly if applied too heavy. Can encourage mold/mildew growth.

Advantages Danish oil - Dries relatively quick. Has better resistance to hot water than BLO. Can be top coated with paint or varnish. Doesn't yellow with age as BLO will.
Disadvantages Danish oil - Not as hard as BLO (if BLO dries properly). Requires maintenance apps more frequently than BLO.

I hate to stick you on the horns of a dilemma, but either product will work fine in your application. Personally, I prefer the Danish oil - Zircon (and others) prefer the BLO. Neither product is gonna let you down.

Rav 01-25-2013 06:11 PM

Thank you, Ric (and Mike and Zircon). At this point, I think I will use Danish Oil rather than BLO, as it sounds more fool-proof for this novice to apply (and I'm just the fool to prove it :laughing:). Plus I have no problem with the "requires maintenance apps more frequently" disadvantage -- I don't mind applying a coat every now and then.

Since you're not recommending sanding but say that a wipe with mineral spirits wouldn't hurt, I will do that first. But in order to do this RIGHT, I have a few questions:

Does "rub" mean just a once-over with light or medium pressure, or does it mean RUB RUB RUB with greater pressure?

Do you think using 000 steel wool is also a good idea? If yes, do I use it to rub down WITH the mineral spirits? Or do I use it separately before or after the mineral spirits?

After the rub down with mineral spirits, do I need to then rub down with alcohol (I assume denatured)?

All of those different steps have been mentioned but I'm not sure whether I need to do all of them. I guess what I'm saying is I really want to do this job right, and I would appreciate your help with step-by-step directions. Thanks!

ric knows paint 01-27-2013 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rav (Post 1101990)
Thank you, Ric (and Mike and Zircon). At this point, I think I will use Danish Oil rather than BLO, as it sounds more fool-proof for this novice to apply (and I'm just the fool to prove it :laughing:). Plus I have no problem with the "requires maintenance apps more frequently" disadvantage -- I don't mind applying a coat every now and then.

Since you're not recommending sanding but say that a wipe with mineral spirits wouldn't hurt, I will do that first. But in order to do this RIGHT, I have a few questions:

Does "rub" mean just a once-over with light or medium pressure, or does it mean RUB RUB RUB with greater pressure?

Do you think using 000 steel wool is also a good idea? If yes, do I use it to rub down WITH the mineral spirits? Or do I use it separately before or after the mineral spirits?

After the rub down with mineral spirits, do I need to then rub down with alcohol (I assume denatured)?

All of those different steps have been mentioned but I'm not sure whether I need to do all of them. I guess what I'm saying is I really want to do this job right, and I would appreciate your help with step-by-step directions. Thanks!

Hey Rav,

Rubbing with 4/0 steel wool wouldn't necessarily hurt anything, I probably wouldn't do it unless there was a stubborn build-up of wax or other soft oils (like in difficult to clean corners)...otherwise, wiping with mineral spirits should easily remove surface waxes that may have been applied over the years. Also, again unless you have some really difficult build up of wax, I wouldn't use the alcohol.

Rubbing the Danish oil will be very similar to polishing furniture - Although you'll want to apply it fairly liberally, there's really no reason to apply with any great force - also remember, you'll be putting on more than one application.

I think you're gonna be surprised at how simple an application this actually is - and how nice it's going to finish out. As mentioned earlier in this post, if at some time you wish for a higher sheen than what Danish oil is going to provide, you can always apply subsequent coats of BLO, Tung Oil or even varnish over the Danish oil. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Rav 01-27-2013 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ric knows paint (Post 1103073)
Hey Rav,

Rubbing with 4/0 steel wool wouldn't necessarily hurt anything, I probably wouldn't do it unless there was a stubborn build-up of wax or other soft oils (like in difficult to clean corners)...otherwise, wiping with mineral spirits should easily remove surface waxes that may have been applied over the years. Also, again unless you have some really difficult build up of wax, I wouldn't use the alcohol.

Rubbing the Danish oil will be very similar to polishing furniture - Although you'll want to apply it fairly liberally, there's really no reason to apply with any great force - also remember, you'll be putting on more than one application.

I think you're gonna be surprised at how simple an application this actually is - and how nice it's going to finish out. As mentioned earlier in this post, if at some time you wish for a higher sheen than what Danish oil is going to provide, you can always apply subsequent coats of BLO, Tung Oil or even varnish over the Danish oil. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

OK. Thanks again for the advice, I'll get started tomorrow, and I'll definitely let you know (with pics) how it turns out. I work slowly so you may not hear from me for a while!

Rav 01-27-2013 12:25 PM

I was going to go out and get a can of mineral spirits, but found that I have a can of "E-Z Paint Thinner" which says "A proprietary blend of colorless low odor mineral spirits used for thinning oil base paints and general cleaning purposes. Most widely accepted by the professional painter. TT-T-291F, D235 TYPE I." Is this good to use, or should I go get a can marked specifically as "mineral spirits?" Any particular brand? What about odorless? Thanks.


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