How to Finish Unfinished Wood Furniture Naturally

Updated February 21, 2017

Wood furniture requires a protective finish to protect it from the gradual effects of nature. Bare wood is susceptible to drying, warping and cracking over time. Although applying a polyurethane varnish is the modern method of finishing wood, using oil finishes are an affordable alternative that enhance the natural beauty of wood even more effectively. There is a variety of natural oils to choose from depending on the finish you wish to achieve on your wooden furniture.

Pour linseed oil onto a clean cloth and rub it in the direction of the wood grain for even coverage. Boiled linseed permeates and nourishes the wood, but takes a considerable amount of time to dry--one full day. New wooden furniture will require several coats to achieve a shiny gloss finish.

Apply pure linseed oil using the same method. It takes approximately three days to dry but provides better protection than boiled linseed oil. Buff the finish with a soft cloth once you are satisfied with the results.

Finish the furniture with Danish oil for newer wood. Apply it with a soft cloth and allow it for the time indicated on the product label. Danish oil has a much faster drying time than linseed oil and provides a more resilient finish.

Sand the first coat of Danish oil with a fine silicon-carbide paper once it has dried. Repeat the procedure for two to three more coats of the finish, but do not sand the top coat.

Use tung oil as an ideal option for woods that are light in colour. It also dries more quickly than linseed oil and offers longer protection. Apply it to a clean cloth or with a foam applicator brush, following the wood grain. Allow it to stand for at least one hour and apply one to two more coats for a durable finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiled or pure linseed oil
  • Soft cloths
  • Danish oil
  • Silicon-carbide paper
  • Tung oil
  • Foam brush
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