The Good Oil

Protecting Exterior Wooden Furniture, Objects and Doors. Here’s how.
Earthwood recommends using oil to protect your outdoor furniture, wooden sculptures, and exterior doors. Oil is far superior in outdoor settings, because instead of sitting only on the surface, it soaks deep into timber. An oil-treated wooden object has the advantage of accepting expansion and contraction in heat and cold, whereas a quick drying lacquer which coats the surface only and forms a shield, may crack over time and allow seepage.

Oil is easy to apply and weatherproofs by repelling moisture from within. Oil-treated timber is also much easier to fix if any problems occur – a quick rub and re-application and you’re done. If a problem occurs with a lacquered finish on exterior timbers, the entire object must be stripped. This can be a difficult task for items such as wooden carvings, or ornate doors and furniture.

We use Haarlem Oil, which is a Danish Oil, for exterior work. This oil is a composite and must be allowed to dry completely between coats. In warm temperatures at least 24 hours should be allowed between coats, but it may take as many as forty-eight hours in cold temperatures. If each individual coat has not been allowed to completely dry, you will get a tacky finish which remains tacky for years. If you’re not sure if the application is dry enough to apply another coat, rub it with a little bit of sandpaper. If the surface produces a fine dry dust, it is dry enough to apply another layer of oil.

Spend the time when oiling exterior wooden objects and you can achieve a satiny finish which looks almost like paint. If you want a really good look, we recommend three to four coats, but two coats are sufficient to give protection.
BEFORE EARTHWOOD Whale and calf sculpted from Hawaiian Rainforest timber - severely weathered with rotten bottom and one fluke on the mother broken

AFTER EARTHWOOD Oiled with Haarlem Oil Whale and Calf wooden sculpture from Hawaiian rainforest timber

The other nice thing about oil is that anyone can do it. Apply it with a brush or rag and clean the excess off once it has soaked in. Just remember, the trick with Danish Oils is to let them dry completely between coats.

If you need to know more, give Mark a call.


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