Upgrading or improving how your home looks is not an easy task. The amount of money you would have to spend to give your house a different look is dreadful to even think about. But, what if there were cheaper (very cheap) ways of re-innovating your house looks?
The simplest and the most effective method of giving your house a completely different look is by “repainting.” But, don’t think about the traditional repaint your house with expensive color paints, rather a different finishing oils on various house equipment.
Say, a piece of beautiful hardwood furniture (chair or table) can be given a completely different look depending on which “oil” you treat them with. But, there is a dilemma you will face: the choice of oil. People are torn between which oil is best and where they are applicable, that question is hard to answer without knowing all the info, but hopefully, you’ll know how to make the right decision after reading this post. The choices of oils are among Teak oil, Tung Oil, and Danish Oil.
The first and the most basic step in properly differentiating the three oils are to understand what each of them really is. If you simply take their names to determine their contents or their application, you would end up surprised, the fact is that their names have got nothing to do with their content; example: Teak oil is not made out of a teak tree nor does the name mean that it’s suitable for treating teak tree products.
So to begin the comparison let us see the oils individually and look at what they are and what to use them for.
First, let’s see what Teak oil is and where and how to best use it.
What is Teak Oil?
As stated above “teak oil” has little to do with the teak tree itself. The name is a marketing oriented term, meant to describe its suitability to use it as a finishing agent on different woods. The actual composition of the oil varies with different brands. But, in general, the Teak oil is a composition of different oils and varnish such as –
- Linseed seed
- Tung oil
- Soya oil
- Mineral spirits
Both Linseed as well Tung oils are natural oils. The minor difference lies in their source of extracts. Where Tung oil is extracted from a nut in the Tung tree, the linseed oil is extracted from seeds from an ancient Flax tree.
Where is the best application for Teak Oil?
Teak oil is best suited if you are dealing with thick/dense tree products such as Mahogany, Teak, Rosewood, Snakewood, Walnut, Oak, Cherry, etc. The reason for using Teak Oil is because of its capability to give the furniture finishing a warm and radiant glow. Also, one of the main applications of Teak oil is to use it on furniture that has to deal with the good amount of sunlight exposure- outdoor or garden furniture. Why? Because Teak oil has excellent UV protection capacity, the amount of it is dependent on the brand of the oil.
How do you apply Teak Oil?
The process of applying Teak oil to any of the above-mentioned woods is simple and easy. You can do that with any of the three most common methods: Spraying, Brushing or Wiping. Any of the given techniques will give you a significant result as long as you don’t rush it. For more detailed and best finishing, it is best to use the wiping method as this allows you to thoroughly apply the oil enabling maximum oil penetration to the wooden surface, and giving it an excellent finishing.
Where should you NOT use Teak Oil?
After knowing where and how Teak oil is best suited for, you also need to understand where and when you have to leave your Teak Oil aside. Teak oil is not suited for conditions where you require your furniture to have a “glossy finish aka high-sheen finishing.” So avoid using it on furniture that requires glossy looks. Also, one of the things that Teak Oil isn’t really known for is its life durability factor. It doesn’t extend the life of your wooden furniture as much as other oils do.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent for applying to dense woods
- Extremely easy to apply
- Good resistance to crack or chip
- Suitable for both exterior and interior furniture
- Hard for glues to stick once they are applied
- Not suitable for Glossy finishing furniture
- Poor furniture life extension factor
The next oil we will look at is the Tung Oil, and how and where it can be used for. Most importantly, where NOT to use it.
• What is Tung Oil?
Tung oil is extracted from nuts that grow on the Tung trees. Tung oil has been known in ancient China, and even appears on a number of scripts for its use in preserving wooden ships. The name “Tung” is a Chinese word which literally means “Heart.” The name is derived from the look of the large dark green Tung tree leaves, which resembles the shape of a Heart. The composition of Tung oil is–
- Tung Tree Nut
- Soybean oil
- Linseed oil
- Poppy, etc
The average lifespan of the Tung tree is about 30 years, and its peak can reach up to the height of about 40 feet.
What and where is the Tung Oil applicable?
One of the most important features of the Tung oil is its superior Waterproof capability. In fact, it’s waterproofing application dates back to about 400 B.C. Ancient Chinese scripts dating back to the “Song Dynasty” remarks the usage of Tung Oil for waterproofing of their wooden ships.
The Tung Oil is best suited for indoor furniture and dishes finishing. It gives a warmer as well as glossier finish as compared to the Teak Oil. The application of Tung oil is wider as compared to the Teak Oil as well. It can be used for treating almost any type of wood furniture, the only factor you need to keep in mind is that Tung oil should only be used for indoor furniture.
The reason for this is because Tung Oil has the tendency to dry up as soon as it gets exposed to sunlight.
How do you apply Tung Oil?
Unlike Teak oil, the method to apply Tung Oil isn’t a simple procedure. As stated above, Tung oil is extremely sensitive to air. This means that if you apply Tung Oil directly without any coating or protective layer, it would just dry up within a matter of seconds. This is why Tung oil is applied only after multiple coating layers. After properly applying the oil, the final result is a deep, wet, and almost transparent finish. In fact with the right amount of coating layer, the finishing product can even resemble a plastic-type look.
For best result, it is best to use at least 3-layers of the coating prior to applying the oil. The method used is to use a lint-free rag and rub it along the grain.
Where should you NOT use Tung Oil?
You will need to avoid Tung Oil in some particular area where your requirement doesn’t compliment the features of Tung Oil. The most important factor that you should avoid is using it on outdoor furniture. Since outdoor furniture is exposed to sunlight most of the time, making the Tung oil coating useless. Also, Tung Oil has long drying duration, so it should not be used for purposes where you require your furniture to be dry as quickly as possible.
P.S. Tung Oil has a very poor storage time. You should only purchase it when you require its usage. Else it gets spoiled in a couple of months.
Pros & Cons
- Can be used for almost every type of wooden surface
- Excellent waterproofing capability
- Entirely non-toxic and can be used for food bowls
- Long lifetime once applied
- Warmer and glossier finish
- Suitable to protect expanding/contracting woods
- Cannot be used for outdoor furniture’s
- Can’t be stored for long periods
- Long drying duration
- Pure Tung oil has poor penetration power (requires prior coating)
The last oil on the list is the Danish oil. As per the previous two oils, we will see its application, and when or where you should avoid using it
• What is Danish Oil?
First, of all let’s clear out the smoke and get it out of your head that Danish Oil has got anything to do with Danish people. The name seems to have originated in the second half of the 20th century when Scandinavian furniture was popular for its exquisite and low-glossy finishing.
In terms of composition, the Danish oil contains almost the same elements as the other two oils mentioned. The main components are
- Linseed oil
- Tung Oil
- Mineral Spirit
- Varnish, etc.
Similar to Tung Oil, Danish oil also has very high resistance to water and also possess strong UV protective feature. Most of the products that are available on the market are sold under the label of “Danish Oil Finish”, which is an implication of the fact that it is more than “just pure oil.”
Where and what can Danish Oil be used for?
The most important thing you need to keep in mind when dealing with Danish oil is that it is the most effective one for regaining the natural coloring of wooden furniture. So, in cases you want to bring out the natural color of the timber used in your furniture, Danish oil should be your pick.
Danish oil is also a hard drying oil, which means that it can dry up or polymerize quickly when it comes in contact with oxygen. This makes it an excellent surface to glue on after its application. The Danish oil gives the furniture a satin water-resistant and hard-wearing finishing. It can also be used as a primer prior to applying the actual paint or varnish.
How do you apply Danish Oil?
Danish oil like Tung Oil cannot be applied directly due to its high sensitivity to air. First, you will have to apply at least 3-layers of coatings with the help of cloth or a brush. You have to be careful while doing this and make sure that you wipe off any excess coating residue. Once you finish applying the coating it usually takes around 4-24 hours to dry off completely.
Where NOT to use Danish Oil?
Danish oil has been known to possess components that can trigger spontaneous combustion. This means that you should basically avoid applying it on any furniture that may be exposed to fire for a good amount of time. Also, Danish oil has less durability and needs regular re-paint as compared to both Teak and Tung Oil, so avoid using it on furniture’s where you don’t want to keep re-painting it regularly.
Pros & Cons
- Good water-resistant capability
- Can be used for both outdoor as well as indoor furniture’s
- UV protection feature that aids in preventing discoloration
- Dries out very quickly
- Great penetrating capability
- Less durable when compared with other oils
- Needs regular re-painting
- Only be applied to bare wood
If you plan to use any of these oils when working on your DIY projects, the first thing you need to know is the type of wood you are dealing with. The second factor is the type of furniture you will be using it on (indoor or outdoor). Depending on these two factors and some others (depending on your project) you will have to base your decision on.
If you are working on outdoor furniture, say, an outside bench, that needs good UV protection, you have to either go for Teak or Danish oil. The choice between the two will again depend on which tree you’re using. If it’s hardwood, your best choice would be Teak Oil. Else, go for Danish oil
On the other hand, if you are working on a DIY project that requires a glossy finish and is targeted for indoor usage, Tung Oil would be your best choice.
These are only some simple examples. You can look at their comparisons and decide for yourself which kind of oil would suit your project the most.
Where to buy
The best place to buy these oils would be a craft shop. It is usually a place where you can chat with the owner about the use of these oils and he might give you a piece of specific advice. However, if you have no such shop nearby you can buy it like me straight from amazon, hassle-free.