Danish oil on white oak - will it survive a cup without a coaster?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 11-30-2018 11:44 AM 2002 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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839 posts in 1242 days

11-30-2018 11:44 AM

I’m working on a side table with a QSWO top. I intend to use danish oil (watco), my first time using it.
I don’t anticipate heavy abuse, but the occasional cold glass with condensation will be placed on the table without a coaster. Will danish oil survive this, or do I need something with more film-building?

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

15 replies so far

View GrantA's profile


2107 posts in 2009 days

#1 posted 11-30-2018 01:06 PM

I think you’ll want something on top, a good waxing will protect it, I’m not sure if it’ll leave a ring or not. I’ll have to try it on my bench – it’s got Danish oil and wax

View OSU55's profile


2497 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 11-30-2018 01:28 PM

Just dpends on how much film thickness you build and how long the water is in contact. Just add a couple of thin wipe on coats of poly over it and you up the moisture resistance significantly. Another choice is to add dye to poly and apply the poly the same as danish oil. This may help.

View Wildwood's profile


2790 posts in 2736 days

#3 posted 11-30-2018 01:34 PM

If were talking about using enough coats of pure Tung oil would say would be safe, but very long drying times between coats even if thinned.

Think would be safer with a wiping varnish whether commercial product or homemade. Homemade wiping varnish simply 50/50 mix of poly or varnish and solvent/thinner (mineral spirits). Two coats of 50/50 mix equals one coat of film finish. Whether homemade or commerical product just as easy to apply as oil varnish blends.

-- Bill

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1496 posts in 3451 days

#4 posted 11-30-2018 01:35 PM

I know there is a division between to poly or not to poly, but, I’ve got kids & I’ve found that two light coats of a WB poly sprayed on will ensure that you’ll never have to try and fix a drink ring. I refinished a 1914 QSWO table for the kitchen table which has survived 15 years of kids growing up doing home work etc, I’ve cleaned paint, markers and even nail polish off of that table.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View waho6o9's profile


8811 posts in 3179 days

#5 posted 11-30-2018 01:53 PM

Maybe take some off fall pieces and try different finishes on them to find the one you like.

Not a bad idea to write on the back the types of finishes that were used.

Watco oil takes a minimum of 72 hours to dry. Looking forward to seeing your table in the

project thread.

Best of luck!

View bondogaposis's profile


5604 posts in 2953 days

#6 posted 11-30-2018 01:53 PM

Poly will serve you better on a table top. You can use Danish oil on the rest of it, but a few coats of wipe on poly on the table top will hold up better.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ppg677's profile


219 posts in 1458 days

#7 posted 11-30-2018 02:03 PM

I would use several coats of Wipe-on Poly.

I love Danish Oil for non-tabletop uses.

View Tony1212's profile


375 posts in 2336 days

#8 posted 11-30-2018 02:30 PM

Why not shellac? You can build it up and will protect the wood very well, and it’s easy to fix if something does happen to it. Non-alcoholic liquids will literally roll right off of it. Plus it dries quick – you can get 3 coats on in a day.

If you really want to get fancy, you can do a french polish with the shellac.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View JohnMcClure's profile


839 posts in 1242 days

#9 posted 11-30-2018 02:50 PM

Thanks everyone, this was very helpful.
I like the sound of danish topped with WO Poly. But I’ve also never tried water-based poly, so maybe it’s time to give it a try…
Tony, I do love shellac and have used it on quite a few projects, just nothing that sees daily wear. I’m not averse to trying it here, but I believe I’ll do as Waho said and try combinations on my offcuts.
It’s a round tabletop that I’m cutting from a glued-up square so there will be 4 nice-sized corners to experiment with!

FWIW the reason I was looking to Danish in the first place is because I read somewhere it does a great job of popping QSWO grain. I don’t know how that compares to shellac in terms of highlighting grain.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View splintergroup's profile


3194 posts in 1824 days

#10 posted 11-30-2018 03:09 PM

Watco is a good product for highlighting grain with basically zero effort (wipe on, wipe off). It is a blend so it has some varnish mixed in, but is not really intended to “protect” the wood.
I agree with the others and suggest a topcoat over the oil for the table surface. Poly is good but I’d look into what, if any prep needs to be done if you are putting a water based product over oil. Shellac is probably what I’d try, you can get it in a spray can if you don’t want to mess with mixing and/or padding it on.

View therealSteveN's profile


4591 posts in 1176 days

#11 posted 11-30-2018 03:21 PM

Poly for the win.

-- Think safe, be safe

View OSU55's profile


2497 posts in 2591 days

#12 posted 11-30-2018 03:33 PM

Oil based poly will provide the same chatoyance (or “grain pop”) as blo, danish oil, shellac, etc. Water based poly will not, but shellac or oil under it will help a lot (shellac is the best choice). There is really no need to use danish oil – add a little dye to poly, thin it 1:1, and visually there is no difference, but the poly provides more protection and can be built to whatever film thickness you want.

View Lazyman's profile


4474 posts in 1989 days

#13 posted 11-30-2018 03:35 PM

I used a walnut Watco topped with some paste wax on a pair of steps stools I made for my kids nearly 30 years ago and they held up very well to water splashes from use while brushing their teeth and washing their hands at the sink, not to mention standing on them. Watco finishes have some resin in it to give some protection. It won’t be as good at resisting water rings as a WO poly but is a pretty durable finish in my experience. Of course if they changed the formula in the last 30 years…

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1496 posts in 3451 days

#14 posted 11-30-2018 05:04 PM

Just go the master if you want to highlight the figure… Charles Neil

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11994 posts in 4030 days

#15 posted 11-30-2018 05:34 PM

I use a 50/50 mix of oil based spar varnish and Watco, as a wiping finish. Usually, three coats, increasing the varnish by half…or so… for each coat. The 4th coat is straight varnish. Then, a coat of JPW finishes it off.
Been using this formula for years. It seems to hold up in all situations involving coasterless drinks.

-- 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

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