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Forum topic by bodymanbob posted 04-01-2012 10:55 PM 5626 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 3458 days

04-01-2012 10:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

CALL ME DUMB. but what is BLO?

22 replies so far

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36 posts in 3458 days

#1 posted 04-01-2012 11:47 PM


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117627 posts in 3971 days

#2 posted 04-01-2012 11:50 PM

IMO I would stay far away from BLO there are much much better finishes out there.

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Mike DeCarlo

40 posts in 3152 days

#3 posted 04-02-2012 12:52 AM

BLO is a great first coat for shellac!


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16283 posts in 4612 days

#4 posted 04-02-2012 01:00 AM

Jim, as a man of your immense experience, I take everything you say very seriously. But I really can’t understand what you have against BLO. To me, it’s the most foolproof finish there is. I wipe it one liberally, wipe off the excess, and let it cure for 48 hours. A little buffing with a soft cloth, maybe some paste wax if one is so inclined, and you’ve got a beautiful finish. And you can always add a top coat, like polyurethane, if you want added protection.

Care to share your objections?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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260 posts in 3280 days

#5 posted 04-02-2012 01:21 AM

I’m with the others. BLO is a great way to bring out the grain and natural colors of the wood, then you put a finish on top. DGMAN of Steve Good’s scrollsawworkshop.blogspot espouses cutting the blo with mineral spirits to aid in its penetration and I agree it works well.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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14940 posts in 3084 days

#6 posted 04-02-2012 01:40 AM

I use a lot of BLO and really like it and I too am curious as to why several very experienced members here don’t like it at all.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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10477 posts in 4042 days

#7 posted 04-02-2012 01:42 AM

It cures slow, isn’t so tough. It does pop grain well if you
like the oiled look. Tung cures faster and builds a film
faster in my experience.

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1405 posts in 2892 days

#8 posted 04-02-2012 04:01 AM

I would stay far, far away from BLO too. Soft, rancid, turns very dark with age, stinks, slow curing, difficult to remove, no abrasion resistance, no UV protection, needs renewing, dull appearance, mildew, the list goes on and on. Why use it when there are far better alternatives for not much more money? And what price a finish that lasts and works? I gladly pay $30 a quart for the polymerized version. A little of it goes a very long way because it is applied in quite thin coats.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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13648 posts in 3735 days

#9 posted 04-02-2012 04:08 AM

well bob
by now you have probably guessed
that baked or grilled
BLO is not good

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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298 posts in 4382 days

#10 posted 04-02-2012 04:14 AM

AMEN to that !!! Question for the PRO-BLO guys … what does it do FOR you that can’t be accomplished in a more predictable, safer manner ???

I’ve stripped antiques that were at least 80 years old that obviously had BLO as a base coat … after the old varnish/shellac/whatever was fully stripped, I left the piece on the bench. Eventually, the sun hit that area and warmed the piece … the BLO actually came to the surface and dribbled down the sides of the piece. Now, I’m not opposed to a finish that dries/cures slowly, but, if it isn’t truly cured in 80+ years, I won’t touch it. There’s nothing you can do with that junk that can’t be done with a little common sense and more sane, modern finishing materials & techniques. As far as “popping the grain” goes … one person’s POP is another’s BLOTCH. You never know when BLO is going to cause a horrible blotch, and once it does, it’s about impossible to remove.

I only use the stuff for it’s real intended purpose … liberal coats on handles of shovels, axes, wheelbarrow handles, etc. I NEVER allow it in my woodshop.

Oh … it also can spontaneously combust if you are the least bit negligent with disposal of rags or paper towels with the stuff on it … AND … being an organic product, MOLD thrives on it.

YUCK !!! !!! !!!

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View bodymanbob's profile


36 posts in 3458 days

#11 posted 04-02-2012 05:29 AM

WELL THX’S E1…... I THINK I STARTED SOMETHING WITH MY DUMB QUESTION. Maybe not so dumb after all..LOL thank you all again…

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3555 days

#12 posted 04-02-2012 06:02 AM

Rancid? I resemble that remark Gene. :D

I’ve never used it, but I don’t think I will now. Thanks for asking the question Bob.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3585 days

#13 posted 04-02-2012 06:26 AM

I never liked BLO because of the smell, used it 2 or 3 times, learned something new today!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4612 days

#14 posted 04-02-2012 01:45 PM

As for why I like BLO, see my forum topic on the subject.

As to the objections that have been raised here about it, those are all common symptoms of either:

A) Using raw linseed oil as opposed to BLO which, in its modern form, has chemical additives to make it cure faster, or
B) Not removing excess oil thoroughly enough when applying

I’m not advocating BLO alone for large furniture projects, simply because it’s not that durable. (In fact, doing a little Google searching, durability is the only objection to BLO I’ve been able to find in various woodworking magazine articles on finishes.) But for the kinds of small, decorative projects I usually do, I’ve found nothing that does a better job of enhancing the beauty of certain woods, especially darker species like walnut or bloodwood. For the record, I have used only Klean-Strip brand, so I can’t speak for others.

For you guys who have had these bad experiences with BLO, all I can say is I guess individual mileage varies

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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3263 posts in 3070 days

#15 posted 04-02-2012 02:18 PM

Back when I was in ROTC we had to apply linseed oil to the stocks of our M1 Garands weekly. Clean and polish. Haven’t used it since. Done plan to use it soon. Don’t want to use it again. Nuff said

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