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Thread: Wanting to learn about BLO

  1. #1

    Wanting to learn about BLO

    I usually use WOP or WTF in my finishing.......I want to learn about BLO also.....

    I have seen numerous comments from turners here who speak to using Boiled Linseed Oil [BLO] and I know it does a couple of things........

    1 - it pops the grain, correct?

    2 - It is used as a base, much like shellac., correct?....can any finish then be put over it - like wipe on poly or WTF [woodturners finish]...both are urethanes, but will water base WTF work as well as poly?

    3- how long do you have to let BLO dry or set up before finish coat? Seems I heard that BLO takes a while to dry?

    4 - do you usually sand after BLO before finishing with WTF or WOP?

    5 - Do you use BLO mainly to get an amber hue?

    6- any pointers as to how you get success would be appreciated! Thanks!

    Additional perspective - in your opinion, will shellac or some other base coat give equal results as BLO for popping the grain and being a good base coat, and what are any advantages to BLO?
    Last edited by Roger Chandler; 12-01-2012 at 8:17 AM.
    Remember, in a moments time, everything can change!

    Vision - not just seeing what is, but seeing what can be!




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
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    I personally use blo with shellac and denatured alcohol....I see an awesome grain after wiping this concoction on about five times while the lathe is turning, then I put a lacquer over it and then REN wax, extremely happy with results.
    1/3 each ingredient and only mix the 1/3 denatured when actually ready to put it on. I premix the blo/shellac in a quart jar. Hope this is helpful.

  3. #3
    1 - it pops the grain, correct? Yes, but any oil will do that. BLO is darker in color than some of the other oils, and it will continue to darken over time.

    2 - It is used as a base, much like shellac., correct?....can any finish then be put over it - like wipe on poly or WTF [woodturners finish]...both are urethanes, but will water base WTF work as well as poly? Can't speak for other water base finishes, but WOP and WTF, as well as other urethanes will adhere fine, but best to wait 2-3 days for good absorption. Otherwise, the drying time for the topcoat will be extended.

    3- how long do you have to let BLO dry or set up before finish coat? Seems I heard that BLO takes a while to dry? See above. I normally apply shellac immediately, and then wait the 2-3 days. A better method would be to wait on the shellac. Chalk it up to impatience.

    4 - do you usually sand after BLO before finishing with WTF or WOP? I wet sand with BLO starting at 320, then 400.

    5 - Do you use BLO mainly to get an amber hue? In part, it also will create contrast and interest with spalted or multi-hue woods

    6- any pointers as to how you get success would be appreciated! Thanks! See above.

    Additional perspective - in your opinion, will shellac or some other base coat give equal results as BLO for popping the grain and being a good base coat, and what are any advantages to BLO? De-waxed shellac will pop the figure (vs. grain), provide a slight amber hue, and is an excellent base coat for just about anything. However, it will not give the color that a penetrating oil will provide. On the other hand, it will not darken the wood over time like BLO.
    Last edited by John Keeton; 12-01-2012 at 9:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Interesting observations and questions. I have tested different oils ,including engine oil,and don't see any difference. Even though linseed oil has a long history, curators and conservators now seem to be unanimously against using it. Seems strange that there is such a stretch between museum guys and commercial pros.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I like to use BLO on cherry. It yields an instant "sun tan" and significantly darkens the wood. After it dries you can finish with another finish of choice that is oil based. I use either Danish Oil or walnut oil depending on the intended use of the item

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Goodland, Kansas
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    Interesting post. Will be watching closely as I rarely use BLO.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    hayden, id
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    I have a question to add.
    Cant blo be used as the primary finish without applying a top coat??
    what is the purpose of applying wop or wtf other than to add gloss or a membrane final finish to a piece??
    just curious.

  8. #8
    Allen, boiled (nowadays driers are added instead of boiling) BLO can be a finish, but....not a very good one. It was used, along with some wax and other ingredients, on early gunstocks. I used in exclusively back in the days of building longrifles, as it was the traditional finish. However, it is soft, and subject to becoming gummy with handling or humidity. Just not a good choice, really, IMO.

    I should add here, that one gets some of the effect of BLO when using a WOP, as it is an ingredient in many of the varnish blends. A pro with that is there will not be as much darkening, but the con is the same thing. If you are after the color, as Al states, then an application of BLO first is better. And, Al is right, not much is prettier than a nice piece of cherry with BLO applied!! Adding the shellac puts the icing on the cake.
    Last edited by John Keeton; 12-01-2012 at 11:22 AM.

  9. #9
    John......your information is really helpful.......I will have to print this thread out after a few more responses......thank you to all the rest of you as well.....every input of info is helpful.........much appreciated!!!
    Remember, in a moments time, everything can change!

    Vision - not just seeing what is, but seeing what can be!




  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    I should add here, that one gets some of the effect of BLO when using a WOP, as it is an ingredient in many of the varnish blends. A pro with that is there will not be as much darkening, but the con is the same thing. If you are after the color, as Al states, then an application of BLO first is better. And, Al is right, not much is prettier than a nice piece of cherry with BLO applied!! Adding the shellac puts the icing on the cake.
    to put a fine point on it, BLO is sometimes an ingredient in oil varnish blends, which are distinct from varnishes. WOP is a type of thinned varnish, as such it has no BLO. BLO pops the grain by virtue of its amber color. You can get a similar effect by using an amberish shellac, or by using an oilbased varnish. These tend to be more amber than waterbased varnishes, which do not pop grain as well. So, oilbased WOP will pop the grain but waterbased WOP not so much, unless some amber colorant has been added to the wop.

    Popping the grain imho is more a function of proper sanding before during and after. If u are buffing, i submit that the effects of blo vs shellac or oil wop will be at best marginally better.

    Blo is also not a good primersealer as is shellac. Shellac has has better compatibility with other topcoats. The exception to this is oilvarnish blends or oil which are not intended to be built up. In this case, shellac will prevent absorption on subsequent coats. Sealing with shellac for film finishes is a good idea sometimes for a variety of reasons. My personal conclusion is that the only thing blo is good for is for making oilvarnish (ie danish oil type) finishes. In this case it increases the open time of the mix which allows u to really rub it around and in and then off, if you are after an inthewood type finish.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 12-01-2012 at 12:47 PM.

  11. #11
    Protection.

  12. #12
    I humbly submit that a better instant suntan is to leave the oiece out in the sun for a day or two before finishing.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Maryland
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    my take

    I use BLO a lot.. here is my take...

    1. Yes, that is what us "woodworkers" give it's first characteristic.
    2. No it is not like shellac at all but it's usually a first step in a multi step process. BLO offers little to NO protection but shellac does.
    3. Dry time is based off (in shop) temp, humidity and how much you put on. A heavy soaking this time of year in a 60 degree shop should take a day. Most woodoworkers do not allow it to fully dry (cure) enough. BLO shouldn't be used if you are in a rush to finish a project. Most furniture people I know and myself wait over night into full 24hrs to move onto the next finish step. Now if you go super light coats, sometimes it can be 3-4hrs if your shop is above 60.
    4. Yes and No, JK answered with wet sanding if you feel the grain raised. If you feel the hue is right, move on to next step. You can add more coats and wet sand too.
    5. BLO will give you an Amber hue, highlight some grain patterns,with just wax as a top coat, it gives a nice luster, hue and finish.
    6. see my steps

    If I use BLO

    • Sand to what ever you like. I normally go up to 1000 grit if I am going to use BLO/wax finish
    • Apply a nice coat of BLO - sometimes off lathe, sometimes on lathe.. depends how big or small.
    • Let it cure over night in the house - temp about 65 - doesn't smell all that bad - summer time, it stays in the shop
    • Add a second coat if needed. Allow to dry 24hrs if so.
    • Then I use Ren Wax as the top coat and buff out.


    Using it with poly or a Antique Oil (which is a blend of BLO and Varnish)

    • Do a light coat - wet sand it needed - or more coats.. make sure it dries.
    • Apply AO or Poly
    • With Poly, some may use dewax shellac as a barrier but I find it is not needed.
    • Definitely not need if you are using AO - AO has blo in it.


    In furniture. I would do the same but the coats wll be heavier and allow to fully dry. I have had to wait 3-5days. This isn't a soaking, just a nice coat with a rag.
    Then I would either spray dewax shellac or hand french polish. Then wax as a final.

    There are mix reviews using BLO and WTF. I need to look at my notes but I somewhere in my head, I thought GF told me there are traces of BLO in WTF.
    WTF is a water based / oil hybrid. My take on WTF is it does what BLO does with a nice hue so I have blo-wtf yet.

    How do you know it's dry? It's not that easy but I use the residue/touch method. If any residue is on a clean towel, it's not dry. If I smell the oil, it's not fully cured. The smell method could drive some people nuts. Typically I hold it close to my nose. Oh, you will soon recognize its unique smell. If I am impatient, I just go with the residue.

    My number 1 pointer is to allow it to fully cure. The oil needs to polymerize and cure into the wood cells. We are impatient when it comes to finish work. I know I am and BLO should not be on the fast track.

    This is why BLO does well on wood because it's one oil that does fully cure. No idea about engine oil but I suspect that will never cure. Other oils like Tung do not cure.

    To me it adds a nice hue/luster to wood but it should go with another step. Whether it be wax, shellac, poly, AO, laquer, etc. Sometimes you need a barrier coat, others you don't.

    Im sure you know about the rag warning. This is true! I had a cup of BLO in styrfoam container and cloth towels. It tried to light off with in an hour lunch break. So bunched up rags, in a can - I can point out some homes that burnt as well of you remember I am a firefighter.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
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    Amazin what I never knew

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Newnan, GA
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    I agree with all of the above. However, see my earlier warning concerning rags and BLO.
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ags&highlight=

    Just be aware.

    Joe
    "When the horse is dead, GET OFF."

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