How to Apply Raw and Boiled Linseed Oil on Pine Wood

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Pine has a striking beauty due to its warm golden color that sets it apart from other types of wood. However, applying the wrong type of finish can darken its stunning color, causing it to lose its aesthetic appeal.

So, I have prepared this in-depth guide on how to use linseed oil on pine wood to help you achieve a durable and beautiful finish.

Can You Use Linseed as a Sealer or Finish for Pine Wood?

Linseed oil is a versatile finish that most woodworkers prefer to use on various types of wood. I’ve used linseed oil numerous times on my pine furniture and flooring, and it never disappoints. Generally, linseed oil is a natural oil extracted from the seeds of the flax plant.

It is commonly used as a wood finish and preservative due to its excellent penetration capabilities. Essentially, you can use Linseed oil on your pine wood pieces, such as furniture, flooring, and decks.

It can give excellent protection to pine wood as it can penetrate the wood fibers and create a hard protective layer.

When applied on pine wood, linseed oil seeps into its pores and channels and reacts with the air, causing it to harden and form a seal against moisture, dirt, and other contaminants.

using linseed oil on pine wood

This seal helps to prevent water and moisture from seeping into the pine wood, which can cause it to rot, warp, or crack.

Additionally, linseed oil contains natural preservatives that help to deter insects and fungal growth, which can also cause damage to the pine wood. As someone who likes to ensure the longevity of my projects, this feature is invaluable to me.

Moreover, linseed oil can help maintain the natural beauty of your pine wood by enhancing its natural grain and color.

I’ve found that linseed oil has a way of enhancing the natural grain and color of the pine wood, bringing out a radiant, warm glow that really catches the eye.

Overall, applying linseed oil can help to extend the pine wood’s lifespan and maintain its natural look and feel, preserving its unique character and charm for many years.

pine wood dining tale

Raw and Boiled Linseed Oil

When it comes to linseed oil, you’ve essentially got two main options: raw and boiled. Having worked with both, I can give you the inside scoop on their pros and cons.

Raw linseed or flaxseed oil is a popular natural oil finish and preservative for different types of wood. It has an extraordinary penetration capability that can completely protect the wood from harsh elements.

It is suitable for outdoor applications since they are susceptible to rot and insect infestation. So, using raw linseed can help to extend their lifespan and protect them from environmental damage.

Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that the drying and curing process for this particular product can be quite lengthy, often spanning from several days to weeks. As a result, it is commonly utilized as a penetrating finish for bare wood, rather than as a final top coat.

Despite the wait, I love how it enhances the wood’s natural grain and color. It’s easier to apply on a wood surface due to its thin and runny consistency. It gives a more natural and clearer finish to wood, enhancing its natural grains and color.

Overall, using raw linseed as a wood finish can help to protect, enhance, and preserve its natural beauty and durability while also providing a safe, sustainable, and non-toxic finish.

pouring linseed oil

Meanwhile, boiled linseed is a type of linseed oil that has been treated with heat and chemicals to speed up the drying process.

It is a preferred type of wood finish by many woodworkers because it dries quicker than raw linseed and produces a harder and more durable finish. It’s my go-to when I need a finish that can take a beating. 

It can protect the wood surface from scratches, scuffs, and daily wear and tear. It brings out the natural color of the wood, giving it a more vibrant golden glow.

Essentially, boiled linseed is more water-resistant than raw linseed, so I’d recommend it for woodwork in humid or damp conditions.

If you’re looking for an environmental-friendly finish, you can use boiled linseed since it’s a natural, non-toxic product that is safe to use around people and pets.

applying oil

Overall, boiled linseed is a more processed and modified version of raw linseed that produces a harder and stronger finish.

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Apply Linseed Oil on Your Pine Wood in 7 Steps

Generally, linseed oil is easier to apply on pine wood. This is because pine is a softwood that readily absorbs oils and finishes, so linseed oil can penetrate the wood easily.

However, it is important to properly prepare the wood surface before applying the oil for it to adhere properly and stay longer. Below are the steps you can follow to use linseed oil on pine wood.

Supplies Needed

Step #1: Prepare Your Pine Wood Surface

Preparing the surface of pine wood before applying linseed oil is essential to achieve a smooth and even finish.

linseed oil

But the first thing you must do is to prepare your work area. Ensure to work in a well-ventilated area and has better air circulation.

Aside from helping to eliminate the strong smell of solvents like mineral spirits that you will use, a workspace with a better airflow will help your linseed oil finish to dry faster.

As much as possible, avoid working in a closed area since the chemicals can emit harsh odors and harm your body. Furthermore, the sawdust and sanding debris can cause allergies and eye or skin irritation.

If you’re working on a detachable wood item like furniture, I advise taking it outside in an open workspace.

Meanwhile, if you’re working on fixed wood pieces inside the house, like walls or flooring, ensure to open all the windows and doors. Put a fan by the door or window to have better air circulation.

pine wood slabs

Now, you can start cleaning the pine wood surface with a clean, lint-free cloth. Ensure to remove debris and dust as these particles can interfere with the adhesion of linseed oil to the pine wood surface.

Also, the wood surface may have accumulated oils and greases, especially if you’re working on old pieces of wood.

You must gently scrub the surface with a clean cloth to remove these oils, as they can hinder penetration and adhesion of the linseed oil finish, causing it to peel or bubble.

Once the wood surface is clean, sand it using 120-grit sandpaper to remove the tacky dirt, stains, and mold.

Additionally, sanding the surface with fine-grit sandpaper removes any bumps or rough spots, creating a smooth surface that is more receptive to an oil finish.

sanding down wood

Remember to sand in the wood grains’ direction to prevent marks and scratches on the wood surface. After you sand the surface, get a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust from the surface.

Step #2: Thin Your Linseed Oil

Thinning linseed oil is not always necessary, especially on types of wood that absorb oil easily, like cedar. 

However, I highly recommend thinning the linseed oil for the first coat to make it easier to apply and allow it to penetrate deeper into the pine wood. 

But be mindful not to thin the linseed oil too much as it may not provide enough protection for pine wood. 

Make sure to follow the correct mixture proportion. Generally, you can mix a 1:1 proportion of mineral spirits or turpentine with linseed oil to achieve a great consistency, but you can adjust depending on what you need for your project. 

painting over tung oil finish

Below are the steps to thin linseed oil:

  1. Pour the needed quantity of linseed oil into a bigger container.
  2. Add the same quantity of mineral spirits or turpentine to the linseed oil. You can add more until you achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Stir the mixture thoroughly using a stick or brush. Make sure that the mixture is homogeneous and that there are no clumps or lumps.
  4. Test the mixture on a small hidden area of the pine wood to ensure that the consistency is appropriate for your desired finish. You may adjust the mixture by adding more oil or thinner if needed.

Step #3: Apply the First Layer of Oil

Soak a clean, lint-free cloth, brush, or sponge into the linseed oil and apply it to the pine wood in long, gentle strokes. Make sure to apply the oil evenly to avoid blotches or streaks, and cover the entire surface.

Apply the oil generously, but avoid creating puddles or leaving excess oil on the surface. Allow it to sit on the pine wood surface for 20 to 30 minutes or until the surface looks shiny.

Once the surface is dry to the touch, use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess oil from the surface of the pine wood. Make sure to wipe in the wood grains direction to avoid leaving streaks or marks.

applying tung oil on maple wood

Step #4: Let the Oil Dry Well

Linseed oil can dry faster, especially if you thinned it with mineral spirits. However, I suggest you leave it for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Your area’s climate conditions can also affect the linseed oil drying time. For instance, if your area has a wet climate, you must wait several days to even weeks for the linseed oil to fully dry.

Letting the linseed oil first coat dry completely is crucial because it forms a strong bond with the pine wood, making the finish more durable.

Otherwise, if linseed oil is not allowed to dry completely, it can attract dust and dirt. It can be susceptible to damage and may even cause the wood to decay or rot prematurely.

Step #5: Do Light sanding

Once the pine wood has completely dried, I advise lightly sanding the surface to remove any dust or debris that may have settled on it while drying.

Tack Cloth

Sanding after the first coat of linseed oil will also smooth out any rough patches or bubbles that form on the wood surface. Additionally, it will promote better adhesion of the subsequent coats of linseed oil on the wood surface.

This will allow the oil to penetrate more deeply and evenly into the pine wood. Essentially, sanding after the first coat will result in a smoother and more uniform final coat.

To lightly sand the pine wood, use sandpaper with fine grit, such as 220 grit. Gently scuff the surface in the wood grains direction. Avoid sanding too aggressively or using too much pressure, as this can completely remove the linseed oil and damage the wood.

After a light sanding, wipe the surface using a clean, lint-free rag to remove any dust or debris.

Step #6: Apply More Layers (As Needed)

You can now apply additional layers of linseed oil on pine wood, depending on the type of finish you want to achieve and the quality of the mixture you use.

Refer to the product label and follow the manufacturer’s recommended number of coats for pine wood. You should repeat the application procedure as you did on the first coat.

drying oil overnight

Typically, you can apply three to four layers of linseed oil finish on pine wood to make it more durable and withstand wear and tear over time.

These additional layers of linseed oil can help to fill in any pores or imperfections in the pine wood that you may have missed on the first coat. Also, multiple layers of linseed oil can help to deepen the color and enhance the pine wood’s natural beauty.

Step #7: Let the Final Oil Coat Dry and Cure

Once you’ve applied the final layer of linseed oil, allow the pine wood surface to dry for at least 48 hours. However, the curing time depends on the type of linseed oil you use and the climate and weather conditions in your area.

If you use raw linseed, I recommend waiting for five to six days for it to fully cure. On the other hand, boiled linseed is quicker to cure and only takes two to three days.

It is important to let the linseed oil cure completely to create a more solid and durable finish on pine wood.

On the other hand, if the linseed oil is not fully cured, the pine wood can be vulnerable to damage from moisture and other harsh elements. This can lead to the rotting or decaying of the wood sooner.

Pine wood

Advantages of Linseed Oil When Used on Pine

Linseed oil is a great choice for finishing and preserving pine wood as it provides numerous advantages, such as the following:

Is it Advisable to Use Linseed Oil on Outdoor Pine Wood?

Yes, you can use linseed oil [1], particularly boiled linseed, on your outdoor pine wood, as it can give adequate protection against exposure to moisture and weather variations. However, you must ensure to use only high-quality linseed oil products that can provide a durable finish.

How Many Coats of Linseed Oil Do You Need to Apply to Pine?

I recommend applying at least three coats of linseed oil on your pine wood pieces to achieve a more durable finish that can withstand weathering and resist other forms of damage, maintaining their natural beauty for many years.

How Long Will Linseed Oil Last on Your Pine Wood?

Linseed oil will last on indoor pine wood for at least two years. While for outdoor pine wood, linseed oil can last up to two years. However, if maintained properly, linseed oil can last even longer and extend the lifespan of your pine wood.

pine wood table

Does Applying Linseed Oil Waterproof Wood?

Unfortunately, applying linseed oil does not waterproof wood, although it helps the wood to resist water and moisture damage. If you need to waterproof the wood, you must apply a topcoat waterproof sealer.

What’s The Best Oil for Pine?

linseed oil on pine wood

There are many types of oil finishes you can use. The best oils for pine wood are:


Does linseed oil darken pine?

Yes, linseed oil darkens pine wood slightly as it penetrates the wood fibers thoroughly. Over time, different environmental factors can cause the pine to darken. However, this depends on the type and quality of linseed oil you use and the number of coats.

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Linseed oil is a great option for finishing pine wood as it helps enhance its natural beauty while protecting it against harsh elements. Additionally, pine wood absorbs linseed oil easily, making it an ideal finish.

Overall, using linseed oil on pine wood is a great way to achieve a beautiful, natural finish while providing optimum protection and extending its lifespan for many years.

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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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