Danish oil is a hard drying oil used in wood finishing. It is made of either Tung oil or Polymerized Linseed oil. It gives a hard, water-resistant finish to wood products by soaking into the wood and hardening. It is used as a finishing product, but can also be used to seal wood or prime it before painting or varnishing.
Spray lacquer is another type of protective finish for wood. It is made with a combination of hardening oil mixed with resin and also a solvent. The solvent evaporates hardening and curing the lacquer to the wood. The ratio of oil to resin will determine drying times and the hardness of the finish.
Spray lacquer can be used as a sealant for wood, much like Danish oil. If you’re only using spray lacquer, the first layer will act as the sealant and primer. There are not a lot of solid components to spray lacquer, so several coats are often needed. Spray lacquer often gives a glossy finish that is desired for some projects. However, it is not as scratch resistant as a Danish oil finish.
Danish oil penetrates into wood, so there is no need to sand your project with a high-grit sandpaper. A little roughness makes it easier for the oil to penetrate. Oil finishes take a little more work to apply than a spray finish. Apply the oil so that it looks very wet and let it soak in for about half an hour. Rubbing it in will also help to keep it even and penetrate more deeply. You’ll have to keep applying to dry looking areas as you go for about half an hour. When the oil starts to feel sticky, you’ll wipe off any excess.
Danish oil finishes are very smooth and give a nice, nearly matte finish. However, you can’t apply Danish oils over stains or lacquers because they need to soak in to work. Tinted versions are available if you don’t want the natural color of the wood to be your finished product.
Wood will push oil out of itself for a few hours after application, so you’ll need to check it and wipe away excess oils every fifteen to twenty minutes over several hours until it stops. Drying your woodworking project in a cool area will help control leaking. Heat makes it worse, so rubbing vigorously will make it bleed more, too.
Spray lacquer finishes are done when they are dry, making them a little less labor intensive than Danish oil finishes. Danish oil finishes are sealed with lemon oil or a type of solvent wax as the last finish. This helps to protect the oil from drying out and also gives it a nice sheen. Oils and wax finishes can be reapplied every couple of years to restore the shine to your project.