View Full Version : oil finish

Bill Stanard
11-22-2003, 10:44 AM
From the early days, I remembered a mixture of boiled linseed oil, turps, and a splash of varnish that made a very fine sealer / finish for woodwork not exposed to the elements. I mixed some up and... blaatttt.... it never dried. I must have remembered the formula incorrectly. Does anyone know the linseed/turps formula and care to share?

David Toner
11-22-2003, 11:13 AM
Fine Woodworking magazine #122, Feb,97, has an article about just that mixture. To boil it all down, the article says that equal measures of either boiled linseed or tung oil and varnish with turpentine to thin. It states that the the measurments are very forgiving so anywhere close to that ratio will work fine. The author, Garret Hack, prefers spar varnish over Polyurethane or alkyd resin varnish but admits that it takes longer to dry than the others. He does specifically say not to use raw linseed oil because it will take longer to dry. The turpentine is used to thin the mixture and to speed drying time. I have not used this mixture myself so therefore have no first hand knowledge of any of this.Just passing it along.

Bob Smalser
11-22-2003, 11:15 AM
Add Japan Drier to it and try again. In most of these home brews the varnish is there just to help it dry...if applied in enuf coats for a built-up surface, it's pretty soft for daily use.

There are some commercial preparations of the same thing for gunstocks...Truoil and Permalyn are two of them from Brownells.com. Both soft varnish finishes that don't darken in UV. Truoil uses spar and Permalyn poly.

I use Linseed/Turps/Pine Tar at 60/30/10 done in a double boiler to 180 degrees or so and a healthy dollop of paint-store Japan Drier.

It'll dry eventually with a heavy-metal drier added. Raw linseed never will. Boiled linseed has drier added but not much of it.

Here's what it looks like on DF:


The Special Sauce or Boat Soup above is cheap and fast....problem is that it blackens in UV light. The best fix for that I've seen yet is what we recently slopped on a timber frame structure:

When I talk to this timber crew again I'll get the name of their supplier.

This guy ain't on the net and brews this soup in his barn...and Bear Creek Timberwrights out of Montana swears by the stuff because it doesn't darken in UV.

We applied it on the trusses I helped a neighbor and this crew erect a couple weeks ago. It is a mixture of Pure Tung, Linseed, Turps and Orange oil...and smells like it...nice and fresh and citrusy. They buy it for 45 bucks a gallon or so.

Here's the project and how this finish looks...16k BF of B.C. old-growth DF at $1.80/BF or so:



[ 11-22-2003, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

11-23-2003, 08:20 AM
Them trusses are absoflaminlutely beudiful Bob! :eek:
I made a couple like them years ago fur an architect fella, we made one a day me an the young apprentice. Taut him how to do it the real way, no nails just mortices, wedges n dowels etc :D
Ya know what the young upstart said after?
"Stupid way to make sumfin, why not just shoot it together wif da nail gun?" :rolleyes:

Bob Smalser
11-23-2003, 12:21 PM
Yup....more like talking to God than work when you get to play with such wonderful material and craftsmanship. We trade work on these projects...but I'da helped just for the pleasure.







Big project for one friend and his mate to do alone, eh? He hired this timberframe crew to make and erect the trusses...now he's back working alone again.