Dark spot using Watco Danish Oil

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Forum topic by MB100 posted 10-25-2021 12:23 PM 310 views 2 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MB100's profile


5 posts in 39 days

10-25-2021 12:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: black walnut watco danish oil finishing dark spot

Need some advice.

Send it down this countertop 80, 120, 150, 180, to 240.

Applying danish oil with great results except for this one spot where are you can see it’s very dark and actually has a grayish tint when viewed from the side.

Plan to finish with Poly.

Am I stuck with this spot, is it normal, is there something I should do?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated

6 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


6069 posts in 3638 days

#1 posted 10-25-2021 12:55 PM

Sand it back then use a sealer, like seal coat, skip the watco and go right to the poly.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View DevinT's profile


2104 posts in 253 days

#2 posted 10-25-2021 02:55 PM

Make sure you give the seal coat ample time to dry. That is über important.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View EarlS's profile


4815 posts in 3634 days

#3 posted 10-25-2021 03:20 PM

IMO – it is normal. I see that kind of spot quite often on walnut when using watco. I consider it part of the wood character. I’m looking at the walnut top on my desk and there are several spots like your picture.

My belief is that the wood grain is more open or it runs differently than the area around it so more watco is absorbed into the wood. You can feel and see the difference in the grain when you are sanding it as well.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View DevinT's profile


2104 posts in 253 days

#4 posted 10-25-2021 03:36 PM

I had a similar experience when finishing my router table.

I called Dad and he basically told me what EarlS said above. I sent him a photo and he said “oh, looks like you’ve got some Tiger striping action—looks good!”

Well, it was my first foray into Watco, and when my Dad told me that, I didn’t necessarily agree with his assessment. I decided to put on an additional 8 coats of Watco (Logic: it will even out with more coats; Narrator: it didn’t, only more contrast).

Looking back at the photos, it was actually fine. Do I like it now with 9 coats? Yes. Would I have liked it with one coat? Also yes—I was a beginner, and thought it was unappealing at first.

All that being said … there is an easy way to prevent it.

Grab yourself some wood conditioner (e.g., Varathane) and:

1. Ignore the directions (which are written in a way to make you fail, think it was your fault, and go buy another can)

2. Apply it, wipe it off after 15 minutes, let it dry for 24 hours

You’ll never have those dark spots from Watco ever again.

NOTE: Watco doesn’t do that to all woods. Pine, Walnut, Oak, ... anything with big fat pores or varied pores.

The “conditioner” is just a wash coat of lacquer that, when dry, prevents the Watco from going down too deep, so you get a nice shallow coat of Watco.

However, I should warn you that this technique gives you a very very uniform finish. So uniform that I actually tend to find the results to be bland and boring. Though, sometimes that’s what the project (or customer) calls for, I—for myself—have grown to love the varied stripes and patches that occur in wood naturally.

Yeah, on occasion, I’ll bust out the varathane when I have become really attached to the way a wood looks pre-oil, and just want to preserve whatever pattern is in there without disturbing it too much.

As for just going poly after a straight sand … without the BLO component of Watco, you’re not going to get the chatoyancy we all love. Though, to be honest, Walnut doesn’t have much to offer in that department.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View OSU55's profile


2900 posts in 3276 days

#5 posted 10-27-2021 08:47 PM

Thats just a more porous area of grain. As mentioned you can use blotch control (read here but too late now). At this point there are 2 choices 1) wet sand with the watco, same grit as final sanding wet/dry paper. 2) when you do the poly, thin some 1:1 and apply like danish oil, flood on, keep wet for 10 min, wipe off, can wet sand the spot or entire surface when you do this. Apply rest of poly coats as planned – solvent not wb poly.

View MB100's profile


5 posts in 39 days

#6 posted 11-02-2021 04:03 PM

Thanks everyone!

Came out fantastic.

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