Danish Oil vs. Danish Oil: Deftoil vs. Watco Brand

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Review by Manitario posted 07-19-2012 12:17 AM 32936 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Danish Oil vs. Danish Oil: Deftoil vs. Watco Brand No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Most of the finish on my projects involves Danish oil; it is a simple, easy to apply finish and wipe on Poly can be applied if further protection is needed beyond what the poly content of the DO provides. Most of the big box stores carried “Watco” brand, so growing up it is what I watched my father use, and then what I used when I started into woodworking. Over the last 6 months though I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find DO in big box stores, maybe the crackdown on VOC’s or maybe it just doesn’t sell quick enough. Regardless, I’ve had to start buying “Deftoil” brand of DO. The application instructions are very similar between brands:
Watco “Flood surface. Keep wet for 30min then wipe off unabsorbed stain. Reapply finish and let sit for 15min then wipe completely dry.”
Deftoil “Keep surface wet for 30min reapplying as necessary as stain is absorbed. Wipe dry after 30min.”

I’ve found out the hard way that if you follow the Deftoil instructions you’ll cry little oily tears as the wood surface will continue to weep finish for the next week, leaving a splotchy, uneven finish. I’ve tried this on walnut, cherry and maple with similar crappy results. The Deftoil DO seems to work best when applied as a wipe on poly; very thin coats and let dry completely between coats. My guess is that the poly content of the Deftoil is higher than the Watco brand. I’ve never had a problem with the results from applying the Watco according to instructions. Anyways, the Deftoil finish looks good when applied in very thin coats, just wish I hadn’t had the frustration of finding this out the hard way.
2 stars for making me sand down a bunch of stuff I tried finishing according to instructions.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3650 days

10 comments so far

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 3014 days

#1 posted 07-19-2012 01:37 AM

Always good to have more than one option, just in case Watco becomes unavailable. Watco danish oils have served me great as well.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3281 days

#2 posted 07-19-2012 01:28 PM

My local Ace Hardware carries all the Watco products, that is where I get mine. Never even saw Deftoil.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View mbs's profile


1668 posts in 3707 days

#3 posted 07-19-2012 10:25 PM

I had the weeping experience with watco. After 2 days of repeated drying I shipped the product to Florida and when it got there the finish looked horrible. The finish had weeped and dried on the surface. I took some 600 grit sandpaper and wet sanded the surface with watco then wiped it down with clean rags and everthing was fine. It wasn’s much effort or cost to do it but it was worrisome until I finished it. Ironically, I talked with someone who told me to switch to Deftoil becasue they never had that problem.

Both Watco and deftoil are readily available at local stores.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View dustyal's profile


1319 posts in 4242 days

#4 posted 07-20-2012 01:10 PM

I’ve had the weeping effect using several oil products… I was just over applying thinking I was following directions.

I’ve learned the hard way, regardless of product, to apply in multiple thin coats. I can usually stop at three… rubbing the second coat out with 0000 steel wool.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3931 days

#5 posted 07-20-2012 02:19 PM

Thanks for the review. So far, I haven’t had any problem with WATCO, and I have used a lot of it over the years. I find it harder to get big cans of it, but it still is available here. Last time I bought it, I went to a paint speciality store, and bought 3 gallons of assorted types.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Willardz's profile


59 posts in 3077 days

#6 posted 07-21-2012 01:00 AM

I use Watco danish oil all of the time. Home depot in the Atlanta area now carries it in the small containers. Before the only places that had it were Woodcraft, and Rockler

-- I have Carrie, food, shelter, and wood to turn. What else do I need?

View Willardz's profile


59 posts in 3077 days

#7 posted 07-21-2012 01:01 AM

Never tried Deftoil or seen it, but glad it is there if Watco dissapears

-- I have Carrie, food, shelter, and wood to turn. What else do I need?

View Mauricio's profile


7165 posts in 3918 days

#8 posted 07-23-2012 02:03 PM

Good info!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View OSU55's profile


2645 posts in 2756 days

#9 posted 04-23-2013 12:02 PM

I’ve used both brands with success. I found the weeping about the same with both. I don’t use either anymore. It’s cheaper and you get a tougher finish just using polyurethane, and not the “wipe-on poly” stuff – it’s just thinned regular poly. About any of the box store brands are fine – the thicker the better really – you get more actual product for your money. Application is much the same as with the “oil finishes” – Thin it 25-50% with mineral spirits, spread it on with a brush, sponge, whatever, and let sit for 5-10minutes. Keep flooding the surface where absorbed, and wipe off. If it gets sticky, just flood more on and it will wipe right off. You can wet sand with paper, steel wool, scotchbrite. 2-4 coats will do – the surface is completely sealed and you will just be wiping off all of the product. Select your sheen accordingly. Can be mixed with any solvent stain for some color.

View enock1970's profile


1 post in 1582 days

#10 posted 03-22-2016 03:41 PM

Cannot find Deftoil at all now. I think it has just gone..

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