How to Finish Unfinished Wood Furniture Naturally

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How to Finish Unfinished Wood Furniture Naturally
Finish wooden furniture with natural oils to protect it. (wood lawn chair image by Daniel Gillies from

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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

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