Tried & True finish - what's your thoughts?

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Forum topic by Michael James posted 04-19-2010 08:44 PM 31358 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael James

89 posts in 4017 days

04-19-2010 08:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing tried true

Hey everyone,

I’ve been doing some researching online about Tried & True after watching/reading Christian Becksvoort’s thoughts on it on FWW.

What I’ve read online is that it’s not too durable for most surfaces that get any wear & tear. I want to build a cherry bookcase and cherry morris chair and use this finish. I also was looking at it for an entertainment centre. I love the environnmental aspect and the safety aspect as I have kids at home. But, because I have kids at home, I need something that can take a bit of a hit. I am also completing a bunk bed for my son right now that I might use it on (although that may be pushing it as he’s 4…).

I guess what I’d like to know is others experiences with it. Their website says you can get better durablility on it with multiple coats and I was wondering if that’s true.

Please feel free to share anything about the product.

-- Michael James -

27 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4840 days

#1 posted 04-19-2010 10:48 PM

since no one has responded guess I will, I have tried it, its basically boiled linseed oil, the difference is it is actually cooked like the old stuff was, the stuff now days isnt boiled ,they throw some japan drier in it and call it boiled.. just how it is, my experience with it was , its very slow to dry , days and days ( actually weeks), you have to apply it very thin, ( so it dries), it doesnt offer much protection , if I were you I would use some General finishes Arm r seal, its a urethane oil, tough as nails and easy to repair, it dries quickly.. just my 2 cents worth here , if you use it on all the pieces you have listed you will spend far more time watching it dry than you ever did building it.. but I will say this, if you want to use BLO to pop the grain, this is some of the best out there , its the real deal… just slow

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 4017 days

#2 posted 04-19-2010 10:59 PM

Thanks for the comment….only problem is that I can’t seem to find Arm R Seal in Canada. I can find some General products but not many.

-- Michael James -

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 4091 days

#3 posted 04-20-2010 04:47 AM

I really like that General Finish Arm R Seal but it turns to sludge real fast in the can. it is easy to use, great finish, brings out the wood grain & color. But I dont normally use a quart in 2 weeks and thats all the time you get after opening the can. If you have a larger project it is a great choice.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 4020 days

#4 posted 04-20-2010 05:24 AM

My dad used Tried and True on a bed about 8 years ago and it could not look better. He used the oil and beeswax formula. Yes, people are right that it can take a little while longer to dry, but the durability is tops. I think he did 3 coats. You can’t beat the smell either- it’s not all chemicals, it smells real.

Bill, you really only get about 2 weeks out of a can of Arm-R-Seal? I’ve been working on the same quart for a year now on some small projects. Right before I close the can I exhale (carbon dioxide) into the can with a straw. It makes all the difference.

View tnwood's profile


270 posts in 4056 days

#5 posted 04-20-2010 02:26 PM

Tried and True is not a particularly protective coating but there are several kinds and you are not specific in which one to use. I use the varnish oil formula and it is a moderately protective product with multiple coats. It is probably adequate for the bookcase. The chair is a different story however. I’d look toward a polyurethane or varnish product for that use. The General products are good ones but there are many others out there. Once most of these finishes have dried they are essentially non-toxic so that should not be a major concern.

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 4091 days

#6 posted 04-21-2010 02:44 PM

Edziu, I never thought of that idea. I’ll try it because I do like the product. It doesn’t darken the wood like other rubbing oil mixes. Unless it is a table or other furniture I like to use something with BLO or tung oil in it.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 4017 days

#7 posted 04-21-2010 02:48 PM

Thanks everyone. I guess I’ll just have to poke around and see if I can find some Arm R Seal in Canada. I might try the T&T on the bookcase and do it before assembly? Who knows…

-- Michael James -

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 4017 days

#8 posted 04-21-2010 08:58 PM

Sorry…I was just speaking of Tried & True in general. I was thinking of using the Varnish Oil as demoed in the video. But, I have also heard arguements for the Original Finish…

-- Michael James -

View QuangFromCalgary's profile


44 posts in 3968 days

#9 posted 04-22-2010 06:06 PM

I have used both Original Wood Finish and Varnish oil on the cherry coffee table. No chemical, nice light smell but does not last long (after few days, you can’t smell a thing). Oil is not a protective thing as poly.

First of all, you have to be very patient with this product. If you put on too much it will take few days to dry out. What I did was to put on very thin layer (it says on the can too). I left about 6 hours for it to dry. Then put the next coat on.
The Original Wood Finish gives a matte sheen after about 5 coats. The Varnish oil also gives a matte sheen but more on semi gloss side. Both of them need a good rub after the second coat to get the nice sheen.
The final sheen is very nice to look at and touch too. For my next cherry project, I am going to use it again. More work but the result is very beautiful. I have not tried with other woods yet.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 4019 days

#10 posted 08-30-2012 03:53 AM

can the varnish oil be used for the base of a cherry side table, but with wiping polyurethane varnish on the top for more protection (thinking Arm R Seal). My thinking is: I’d like to lower as much as possible the wiping varnish stench.

How about the Tried and True Danish oil for small boxes? Is is decent?

View woodworker74's profile


1 post in 2986 days

#11 posted 11-17-2012 04:13 AM

I have used tried and true linseed and beeswax formula on extensively used instruments (musical) and a variety of projects, always with excellent results. (Many other finish types are thought to choke the sound on an instrument.) I have even used it on a heavily used black walnut kitchen countertop, which they do not recommend, but again the results were great and the counter has been used several years now in an extremely busy kitchen and still looks great. If it ever clouds up from moisture (which isnt that often) it just dries itself out and looks none the worse for wear. I have even used it after it was quite old and started to gel, by just breaking through the gel layer to the oil beneath, again no ill effects. I love knowing how safe the product is and the finish is so naturally beautiful.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3171 days

#12 posted 11-18-2012 01:17 PM

If it dried any faster I think I would have traveled back in time….. It sucks….. Some say be Patient, being in a comma comes to mind….. Bad experience as you can tell….. Never again….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View woodsprite's profile


1 post in 2955 days

#13 posted 12-17-2012 10:15 PM

I realize this is quite an old post but felt the need to chime in. I have been using Tried and True products for the past 8 years on everything interior and, aside from raw Tung Oil or Shellac, I wouldn’t use anything else. For years I bought in to the modern sham that is the wood finishing industry and plasticized and toxified everything in the house. Only after attempting some antique furniture repair did I stumble on to the secrets of attaining a truly beautiful and durable wood finish. Never again will I subject myself or my family or my clients to what boils down to exposure to flammable, combustible, carcinogenic and temporary finishing products. Natural oils will never require stripping and refinishing because they can never delaminate or flake and they cannot harm your environment. What they will do is provide a beautiful, low cost finish that will only improve with time. There is a learning curve to using these products, primarily that of patience, but compared to the learning curve of toxic and fast drying polymers the oils are a breeze. Aside from the environmental advantages of investing in a non-toxic production, non-toxic application and non-toxic living environment, these products are far more affordable, durable and beautiful AND you don’t have to worry about ignition sources, dust contamination or a blemished finish needing stripped and started over. The only way you can hurt these finishes is to subject them to standing warter or harsh chemicals. keep in mind that standing water will destroy ANY finish. Well, enough of my rambling… I will close out by offering this perspective… if you want a plastic finish, buy formica, not wood!

-- You are forever younger than you will ever be!

View mathius269's profile


4 posts in 2064 days

#14 posted 05-28-2015 03:19 PM

I feel I need to chime in here as well. There are many misconceptions on Tried & True, such as it not being durable and taking forever to dry. If you follow the directions on the can, it’s actually very easy to apply, repair, and will last a very long time if applied properly. Polyurethanes are horrible for making the grains pop and beautifying the wood, it basically is like covering the wood with a sheet of plastic. When a polyurethane gets scratched, the only real way to fully repair it is to strip the surface and refinish. With Tried & True, all you need to do is reapply the finish to the damaged area, and rebuff. It makes the wood surface look natural, with a satin finish, not some crappy shiny gloss.

For everyone saying that it takes forever to dry, that is because they didn’t read the directions. When you apply a coat of the finish (using a lint free cloth, not a brush), wait an hour and then rub the surface completely dry with a clean cloth. If you’ve applied it correctly, there shouldn’t be much residue on the rag used to dry it. I will always use Tried & True for my wood finishing, nothing else compares.

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2931 days

#15 posted 05-28-2015 04:01 PM

I really like the Tried and True, I have the pure linseed oil, the one they call Danish oil with the smaller print of “Non Toxic polymerized linseed oil” and the Varnish oil which seems to be more polymerized and adds varnish resins.

Their Danish oil definitely takes some time to cure but I like the fact that you can practically eat it with a spoon. The fact that most other finishes are toxic or have toxic fumes probably doesn’t bother most people, but I like to limit my exposure. If you’re running a commercial shop the extra time for the Tried and True to dry and the multiple coats needed for a decent finish are probably not worth it unless you are specifically marketing the non toxic finish aspect and there is a market for that.

The Varnish oil is much much thicker and seems to offer better protection. Both bring the grain out nicely and I like using a traditional finish and particularly on tool handles. But the fact is both finishes take a long time to dry compared to other finishes and need more coats. It’s a trade off and I ilke it, but it’s not for everyone.

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