Should You Use Danish Oil on Pine Wood?

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Concerned about the longevity of your pine outdoor furniture and decks? If you want to ensure they stand the test of time, it’s crucial to provide them with a robust and long-lasting protective coating. While there are various options available, our seasoned woodworkers highly recommend applying Danish oil to pine wood.

If you’re curious about what Danish oil can bring to the table for your pine creations, read on for all the insightful details!

About Danish Oil

Danish oil has a unique and advanced formulation which makes it a preferred wood finish of most woodworkers. It is composed of two or more solvents that offer wood protection. 

Usually, it is a mixture of a large portion of tung oil or polymerized linseed oil added with varnish, mineral oil, or other polyurethane solvents. But other manufacturers mix turpentine for a hint of a pine tree essence.

wood Danish oil

Although it contains mostly tung or boiled linseed oil, Danish oil works differently from vegetable oil. What’s exciting about it is you can use it with any type of wood, mainly pine wooden surfaces.

How Good is it on Pine and Why is it Popular?

The Danish-oil finish is popular among woodworkers because it brings a luxurious appearance to their pine project pieces. They prefer using pine Danish oil to accentuate the look and wood grain pattern of the surface. 

If you want to keep your prevent cracking in your pine surface, you can also reapply it. It’s also used to fix minor wood imperfections without sanding, and it does not require too many coats.

Based on research findings, Danish oil boasts a remarkable curing speed, clocking in at less than 6 hours – a noteworthy advantage compared to other finishing oils. 

However, it’s essential to note that if you decide to apply multiple coats of Danish oil or if your pine wood happens to be on the damp side, the curing process could extend to a week or even two.

Yellow Pine

Moreover, many experienced woodworkers swear by Danish oil finish due to its exceptional ability to withstand water and moisture. It’s a top choice for protecting various wooden items, although it’s not recommended for treating cutting boards. 

Interestingly, it’s still a popular choice for enhancing the durability and beauty of cutlery handles.

Can You Use Danish Oil Over Wood? Does Danish Oil Darken Wood?

Indeed, danish paint oil is the best match for your pine furniture surfaces, considering its ease of application by hand or wipe-on finish. 

Once applied, the durable finish will not appear film-like on the surface but is drenched in the wood. This is because pine is a soft wood with porous timber. 

Depending on the type of finish you want, Danish oil will darken wood. Applying Danish oil also alters the color of pine furniture surfaces and reacts to the wood’s natural oils. You can achieve a darker or natural finish using golden oak, black walnut, natural, and red mahogany shades.

Can You Use Danish Oil Over Varnish and Stain?

If you’re thinking about applying Danish oil over a stained wood surface, you’re on the right track for a successful outcome. Danish oil works really well in this scenario. However, there’s a bit of a catch when it comes to varnish. 

You see, varnish is like a protective shield for wood, and it doesn’t allow oils to seep into the wood grain. So, I suggest a crucial step: removing the varnish before you go ahead and apply that Danish oil. This way, you’ll get the best results for your wood finishing project.

Pine log

For the stained surface, make sure that the stain used is oil-based. Otherwise, the oil cannot penetrate water-based stains. Also, try it first on a small piece of wood so it will not damage the entire surface if something unexpected happens.

See Also: Does Pine Stain Well?

Potential Dangers Of Using Danish Oil and How to Avoid Them

Before using this oil, you should first determine whether it works fine or is already harmful. Expired or contaminated danish oil loses its quality and performance as a finisher, resulting in a sticky and uneven finish.  

But how would you know it’s terrible? You must dispose of it if it has a thick, rubbery, stringy, and unpleasant appearance. You can also tell the difference between a new and a spoiled one if the latter smells foul or rotting. 

Contamination occurs because of improper storage. If it gets exposed, there are potential risks to your pine furniture. So, how would you avoid it?

danish oil in a jar and wooden chair

To ensure your item remains in top-notch shape, store it in a cool, dry spot. It’s crucial to seal the container securely to keep out air, which can thwart the growth of mold. This simple step will help preserve your item’s quality and longevity.

Pros of Using Danish Oil

Quick Drying

As mentioned earlier, this oil dries quickly compared to other wood finishing oils. In less than 6 hours, your pine is dried already. But sometimes, depending on the weather and humidity, you must wait a week or two to dry it thoroughly.


It provides your wood with chemical resistance, safeguarding it against potential damage caused by spills of household cleaning supplies, solvents, and food.


Aside from chemical resistance, another one of the danish oil pros you should know is it’s water resistant or waterproof. It contains solvents that transform its particles into a solid layer while it reacts with air.


What about the additional sheen and glossiness of your pine-made furniture? Danish paint provides extra protection by giving off chemical agents responsible for creating heat resistance which gives your pine its natural beauty. 

It also shields your pine furniture from exterior defects. 

wood and stain

Cons of Using Danish Oil

Unreliable Durability

Depending on the types of its mixtures and the proportion of solvents, it can be less durable.  Also, the finish easily attracts dirt, making your wood fragile. So, make sure you purchase high-end quality danish oil and clean the surface regularly to remove dirt on it.

Can’t Use Over Paint

Another thing about it is that you cannot use it over a painted surface. However, lightly sanding the surface can penetrate wood pores and adhere to your paint.  

What to Consider When Coating Pine with Danish Oil

When it comes to applying Danish oil to bare wood furniture, you’ve got a pretty open field without any specific restrictions. However, to achieve the best results, it’s essential to take into account various factors and steps both before and after you apply the oil.

Applying Danish Oil on Top of Painted Pine

When you want to apply danish oil on painted pine, you should do it immediately. But it can blend into your paint, unless you consider curing it for at least 48 hours.

Yellow Pine Amoire

Also, you can apply it on top of acrylic or water-based painted pine wood. However, you should not use acrylic paint over danish oil.

Painting On Top of Danish Oil

Another consideration is painting on top but sanding it first, using fine sandpaper or sandblasting. Sanding your surface can give your paint something to stick.

If you opt not to sand, choose shellac or oil-based finishes but make sure the danish oil applied is completely dried.

Outdoor vs Indoor Application

It can be versatile for the surface that needs wood finishing. For outdoor applications, it should have higher varnish components for maximum wood protection. For indoor, you should apply more linseed or tung oil on pine.

Protective and Finishing Qualities

Naturally, it offers protective and finishing wood qualities. You can purchase it to give your furniture and decks resistance to water and humidity. There are also additives, such as UV inhibitors, mixed in danish oils. 

staining pine wood with Danish oil

Curing Period

When you are drying oil, you need to consider the climate conditions and humidity. Ideally, the curing time is less than 6 hours in average climate conditions. Otherwise, you must wait a week or two to cure the applied danish oil.

End Grain and Edge Grain Wood Surfaces Application

The wood absorbs it quickly by applying it in the direction of the grain. Whether the pine wood furniture has end or edge grain wood surfaces, you must follow its direction. Start to apply danish oil directly to the end grain sections to prevent them from appearing darker. 

Maintenance & Care

Lastly, the danish oiled surface can fade over time, so regularly cleaning the surface can maintain its look and beauty. Also, you can re-apply it in thin layers to maintain protection from external damage.

Applying Danish Oil to Restore Pine Wood

Prep the Surface

To restore your pine wood, first, you must prepare the wood, mainly removing old paint, varnish, stain, or any finishes. For old paint, you can use a paint stripper, especially if it’s multiple-coated paint.

sanding cabinet surface

Also, you can use a wood cleaner solution to completely remove the dirt and stains from old finishes. Then use sandpaper to get rid of the remaining finishes applied before. White spirit is [1] effective in clearing old waxes and grease.

The Wet-On-Wet Method

Once you clean the entire surface, you can restore it using this wet-on-wet technique. Here are the basic steps:

Step #1: Sand the surface using 80-grit sandpaper. Using a vacuum, you can remove sanding dust on the surface. You can also wipe it using a clean, soft cloth. 

Step #2: Then apply it using a lint-free cloth. You can apply multiple layers until the surface stops absorbing oil. The wood should be wet. Let it rest for 20 minutes. 

Step #3: Next, apply it again until you achieve the preferred wood shades of the wood. At this point, the wood should be soaking wet with oil. Then let the wood dry for 20 minutes. 

person holding cloth

Step #4: Finally, wipe the excess oil on your surface using a clean rag. 

The Smooth Finish Method

Here are the basic steps to apply danish oil on pine wood with the smooth finish technique.

Step #1: In a circular motion, start sanding the wood using 80-grit sandpaper. Then remove the dust using a cheesecloth and a vacuum to remove the dust completely.

Step #2: Next, apply the danish using a clean cloth or a brush. Ensure there are no dull spots and that the penetrating oil fully covers the surface before letting it dry for 4 minutes. 

Step #3: Then, wipe off extra oil and leave the wood overnight in a warm area. 

staining pine

Step #4: The following day, check it and apply the second coat. Then gently sand it using 600-grit sandpaper, following the direction of the wood grain. Wipe away the dust from the surface before drying the wood overnight in a warm area.

Step #5: The next working day, apply the third and last coat of danish oil. Then sand afterward and cure the wood in a warm area for two days. The remaining wood debris should be removed after it is completely dried.

Should You Sand Between Danish Oil Coats? Are Top Coats Required?

You should sand in between coats so that your pine furniture will have a perfectly smooth surface. Lightly sanding in every coat of danish oil removes obvious dust nibs. Leave behind the stain or brush marks in the meantime.

In sanding between danish oil applications, our experts recommend using the finest grit, say 320 or 400-grit sandpaper, for a smoother result. Depending on the smoothness you want, you can use any sandpaper grit. 

Can You Use Lacquer on Top of Danish Oil?

Lacquer is an oil-based varnish that would not stick completely if applied over the danish oiled pine furniture. Yes, you can use lacquer or any paint products with oil-based pigments over them, but there are considerations. 

spray painting chair with purple lacquer paint

As mentioned earlier, it should fully cure before applying paint or stain on top of it. Another option is lightly sanding it to provide adhesion before painting lacquer on danish oil on pine or other wood types.

Will Danish Oil Protect Pine Wood Surfaces from Water?

The applications of danish oil protect wood pine furniture from water, moisture, and humidity. Once applied, it offers additional layers to safeguard the surface from the thriving of molds resulting in its decomposition. You can use it as a primer before painting it.

Is It Possible to Thin Danish Oil For Thinner Coats?

You can thin your danish oil depending on the texture of your wood surface. It contains 1/3 thinner, but you can still dilute the 20% with thinner or mineral spirits. 

Danish Oil vs Linseed Oil vs Tung Oil Finish for Pine

wood finishing oil

Here’s a quick comparison of danish, tung, and linseed oil finish for pine wood



Curing Time


Resistance/ Durability

Danish Oil 

(Mixture of linseed or tung oil and other solvents) 

Easy to apply by hand or wipe on using cloth 

4 to 6 hours

Natural or transparent satin or semi-gloss

Resistant against chemical and scratch, Waterproof 

Linseed oil 

(Pure oil from Flax seeds)

Becomes sticky if inappropriately applied 

24 to 72 hours

Mellow or Patinated 

(Depending on application)

Resistant on water, moisture, and humidity, scratch-resistance

Tung oil

(Also known as Chinese wood oil; Derived from tung tree)

Hard to apply; Required brush 

7 to 10 days (initial)

15 to 30 days (fully cured)

Natural or transparent satin 

Resistant on water, moisture, and humidity; scratch-resistance

Best Watco Danish Oil Shades for Pine

1. Watco 242220 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Low VOC, Quart, Dark Walnut

One of the best danish oil shades is Watco’s dark walnut. The finish offers a cool-toned, medium brown with a dull luster. It darkened the surface without removing details of the wood grain for an artistic furniture appearance that is similar to a professional job.

2. Rust-Oleum 214380 Watco Danish Oil, Quart, Red Mahogany

This Watco’s red mahogany is undoubtedly not red but a combination of pink and red hues or reddish pink color. It can darken pine’s unnoticeable white burn marks and restore the beauty of the wood. Just like a birdseye maple, it accentuates the birdseye figure.

3. Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Quart, Natural, 32 Fl Oz

Another best of Watco is this natural danish oil hue known as a “go-to danish oil” for pine woodworking projects. It enhances the existing color without changing it. It is also the easiest finish for your pine wood surface to make its natural color look distinctive.


Is it fine to apply teak oil on pinewood?

You can use teak oil on pine wood surfaces, but it should be the least of your options. Unlike danish oil, teak oil is pricey, and you have to use more than 7 coats to have your desired finish.

How long does it take for Danish oil to last on pinewood?

You can achieve your desired finish in less than 24 hours after you apply the last coat of danish oil to your pine surface. Pine project pieces with oiled surfaces can last over 10 years. 

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When it comes to enhancing and safeguarding your pine wood projects, Danish oil is the go-to solution for a robust and enduring finish. Among the options available, I highly recommend Watco Danish oil due to its versatility in achieving various shades and finishes.

By applying this oil, you not only elevate your wood’s appearance but also rejuvenate its innate charm. Furthermore, the protective shield it provides makes your pine wood resilient against potential harm from water and direct exposure to sunlight. It’s a win-win for both aesthetics and durability.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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