Hot Linseed Oil Finish

I love the look and feel of oiled wood. Oil finishes penetrate deeply to accentuate the grain and figure of wood, yet they don't build much thickness on the surface, so the wood still feels like wood. Here's how I apply my oil finish:

First I heat the linseed oil to about 120° in a pot on an electric hot plate, outside my shop. Heating the oil makes it penetrate deeper, giving the wood more depth and color. {Caution: Hot oil is a fire hazard. Heat only over an electric hunter outside your shop. Remove from heat before it begins to smoke.)

I apply the oil liberally with a rag, using a big cast-rubber glove to protect my hand. I let the oil soak into the wood for at least 20 minutes, then wipe the surface completely dry with clean rags. To prevent any oil from leaching or "bleeding" out of grooves later, I use a shop vacuum to pull out any excess from those areas. {Caution: Oily rags may burst into flame spontaneously if not properly disposed of Put them in airtight metal containers approved for this purpose, or, hang them out to dry, then discard withyour trash.)

In all, I apply three coats of hot linseed oil, followed by two or three coats of nx)m-temperaturc tung oil I let each coat dry for at least a day before rubbing it out with 0000 steel wool. Then I give the surface one last rubdown with hot linseed oil to restore the sheen dulled by the steel wool. After a few days' drying time, I wax the piece with a camauha-based wax such as Trcwax (available at many liardware stores).

One interesting benefit of the hot linseed oil finish is that after applying it, I can adjust colors and contrasts with non-grain-raising (NGR) stains. After I wipe the stain on, I can literally pull it back out with steel wool until only a slight blush remains, or I can remove the color entirely with another coat of hot oil. I create the feeling I want by leaving more color in the shadow areas or by downplaying an area. I can lighten other areas to catch highlights or to feature a certain aspect of a piece. There is no science to this; I discovered it by working my way out of a mess I had created.

1 also found that hot oil will pull certain dyes out of the rags I use. An old cotton flannel shirt can add an almost imperceptible blush to the color of the wood. I'm always testing old clothes to find a "lucky" rag.

I never stain raw wood because I like the natural color effects I get with oil. I've found a couple ways to "chcat* on the color of the oil. Since linseed oil darkens with age when stored in containers that admit light, I keep supplies of oil of varying ages to use for different color effects.

Applying oil finishes does liave a drawback, though—it's exhausting work. It takes two hours to oil and wipe down a major piece, and at least that much time to rub out each coat with steel wool. But it's worth the effort. By the time my five-coat oil production is finished, I have, in csscncc, created 50 years of patina.—/?./.

Author created foot details and fillets on legs, stretchers and breadboard ends with a 10-in. saw blade.

using a lighter wood (cherry) for the legs and stretchers and by adding details such as the shaped feet and the tiny fillets on the edges of the legs and breadboard ends. (See photos, above.)

I constructed both tables with pegged mortises and tenons. The drawers are solid cherry (cxccpt for the maple fronts), with hand-cut half-blind dovetails in front and a single, wide through-dovetail at each rear corner. The back of each drawer is notched to slide on a dovetail "hanger" strip screwed to the underside of the top, an idea borrowed from an old country work tabic I bought at a flea market.

I finished both tables with my usual hot linseed oil and tung oil finish. (See sidebar.) ▲

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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