Watco Danish Oil Finish in kitchen without adding a clear coat?

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Forum topic by shwoodnt posted 08-08-2016 07:26 PM 5135 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 1573 days

08-08-2016 07:26 PM

In my kitchen will be drawer fronts and cupboard doors of maple, aspen, and ash.

The plan is to use Watco Danish Oil Finish on the woods. The can reads, both:

“Watco Danish Oil Finish is a unique blend of penetrating oil & varnish that stains, seals & protects in one easy step.”


“If a topcoat is required, use Varathane Interior Diamond Wood Finish (oil based or water based)....”

So I’m wondering whether I should stop after the Danish Oil and not add the shiny topcoat of Varathane.

The drawers in these pictures have sapele handles finished only with the Danish Oil.

The tall cabinet holding the dishwasher, and all the other carcasses are finished with Varathane and have a thick shiny coat.

Maple will go under the sink. Aspen to the right of the sink. The ash on three drawer fronts to the left of the stove and a pantry door to the left of that, and on the front of the dishwasher cabinet.

Is it simply a matter of personal preference between the grainier finish of the tung oil alone and the thick shiny coat of varathane? Or will spills in a kitchen make a shiny protective varathan coat an obvious choice over frequent sanding and reapplication of the tung oil?

I won’t be getting fancy and using finishes other than simply this tung oil or else this tung oil and the recommended water based varathane. So, no need to discuss different finishes that may work better. I’ll be sticking to one of these two.

4 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

12241 posts in 4278 days

#1 posted 08-08-2016 10:40 PM

As a long time users, I wouldn’t use only Watco on kitchen case work.
My process is somewhat strange but, the first coat is Watco then subsequent applications are a mixture of Watco and satin poly. I start at 50/50 and reduce the Watco for each of the next coats.
BTW, this is home made wiping finish.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1134 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 08-09-2016 03:04 AM

Common practice is to use a durable top coat any time you have project that will be exposed to wear and water. Kitchen cabinets definitely see both of those things. I think the best approach depends on what you want the cabinets to look like in 10 years. I think that the roughest thing on cabinets that are finished with watco only will be oils and fats from cooking that splatter directly onto cabinets and get migrated to peoples hands where they get migrated indirectly to cabinets. I think 10 years of that exposure will show quite a bit on Watco which has almost no ability to repel anything, whereas the poly will hold up much better to that and will be easy to scrub clean. So, if you want a more patina look, Watco might be a good choice. If you want the cabinets to more or less the same 10 years after installation, I’d go with the poly.

Personally I like the look of Watco better than poly, but I don’t know if I’d have the courage to go with just Watco on kitchen cabinets.

-- Paul Mayer,

View jwmalone's profile


768 posts in 1552 days

#3 posted 08-09-2016 03:10 AM

Gene Howe has it right. All that crap they sell nowadays are just new twist on stuff that’s been around forever. When I finish maple I use a mixture of stain and Polly till the color is right then straight clear coat. Make your own. As pmayer said you really want a durable top coat in the kitchen.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View shwoodnt's profile


24 posts in 1573 days

#4 posted 08-09-2016 04:09 AM

OK. The answer looks clear. Thanks.

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