Danish Oil on Pine: Hit or Miss? (Including Application Technique)

So, you’re making pine furniture or cabinets for a customer or DIY, and the project is coming along nicely. However, you’re still undecided on the finishing.

Ideally, you’d like to oil the item to preserve its natural qualities, especially the grain pattern and color. You also love that wood finishing oils protect items from cracking, staining, and scratching.

However, although you’re leaning towards Danish oil, you’re still unconvinced. The following quick guide will help you understand the basics of Banish paint, how Danish paint looks on pine, and whether it would be a good choice for your pine woodworking project.

Finally, we’ll explain how to apply Danish paint on pine and list a few alternatives if you decide to try out a different wood oil.

Is Danish Oil on Pine a Good Finish?

Yes, Danish oil provides the most durable finish on pine woodworking projects, including furniture, paneling, and cabinets. In addition, as a hard-drying finish, it offers better protection for softwoods, including pine, than other finishes.

What is Danish Oil?

Danish oil is a wood finishing oil typically made of tung oil or polymerized linseed oil – the exact composition varies from one manufacturer to the next.

It is a hard-drying oil that transforms into a solid when it reacts with oxygen in the air, offering excellent protection to the surface wood surface underneath.

Even better, it leaves the surface the surface looking slick without interfering with the original wood color.

Watco Danish Oil Colors on Pine

Watco oil is a unique blend of penetrating oil and varnish that hardens in the wood (not on the wood), protecting the wood from within while enhancing the outward characteristics.

If you’re wondering about the look of Danish oil colors on pine, we’ve picked up a few Watco Danish oil on pine reviews to give you a clue.

1. Medium walnut danish oil on pine

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This first one, the Watco 65951, is a medium-walnut Danish oil that leaves pine surfaces looking warm and rich with the glow of a hand-rubbed finish.

It is a mix of blended oil and varnish that deeply penetrates wood pores to protect your items while enhancing the natural look of the wood.

You can use it for a variety of applications, though it works best for indoor wood surfaces, including bare, stripped, and sanded furniture.

However, it’s not a very good choice for floors. Whichever the application, it creates a rich, warm glow that enhances the natural look and feel of the wood.

A gallon of Watco 65951 covers 85 square feet and dries to the touch in about six hours, protecting the surface from abrasion, chipping, and peeling. It’s very easy to apply.

2. Dark walnut danish oil on pine

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If you’re not a fan of the medium walnut finish, Watco 65851 offers a darker shade of walnut at about the same price. The dark walnut Watco Danish paint is applicable in the same applications as medium walnut Watco Danish oil.

So, you can use it on various indoor wood surfaces, including bare, stripped, and sanded surfaces, with no problems. Like the medium-walnut Watco oil, it dries super fast.

Often, the surface is good to go within six hours of applying the oil. More impressively, a pint of the oil covers up to 170 square feet. For context, a regular bedroom floor is about 100 square feet.

The dried oil forms a rich, warm glow that enhances the natural qualities of the underlying wood. It also protects the surface from spills, abrasion, chipping, and peeling.

3. Natural danish oil on pine

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Finally, if all you want is to maintain the natural colors of the pine item, you should consider the natural Watco Danish paint color.

It’s an oil-based formula of blended oil and varnish that penetrates deep into the wood and fills the wood pores to protect your items. The dried transparent coat leaves your pine furniture and cabinets warm and glowing.

If you’re wondering, it’s very easy to apply the oil. Begin by brushing or wiping off the pinewood surface to remove any dust traces.

Then apply a coat of Watco Danish oil and let it soak into the wood for at least six hours. Once dried, the hardened surface protects the wood beneath from abrasion, chipping, stripping, and spills.

You can use the natural Watco Danish oil on various surfaces, including sanded, bare, and stripped surfaces. A quart of the oil covers up to 170 square feet.


Now that we know how Danish oil looks on pine wood, let’s answer common questions and address common concerns around oiling pine with Danish oil.

Danish Oil Pros and Cons

Are Danish oils a good choice for pinewood finishing? The following pros and cons of danish oil should help you make an informed decision.


  • It is chemical-resistant: Coating your pine-made furniture with Danish oil protects the surfaces from chemicals spills. 
  • It’s scratch-resistant: Danish oil on wooden surfaces dries into a tough but elastic layer that easily withstands temperature variations and resists minor scratches. 
  • It dries fast: Though we often recommend that you leave the surface for at least 24 hours to cure fully, Danish oil is often dry enough within six hours. For instance, if you wish to apply another coat of oil, you can do so after six hours.
  • It is waterproof: If you wish to keep your pine surfaces waterproof, a coat of Danish oil will do the trick while preserving the wood’s natural qualities. 


  • The finish isn’t very durable: The biggest downside of Danish oil is that it doesn’t last very long. Although it may give you several months of excellent surface protection, you need to reapply the oil frequently to maintain the protection and flawless look.
  • You cannot use it over paint: Unlike paints that easily go on top of another finish, you must strip the paint from the wood surface before applying Danish oil. This can prolong the application time.

Does Danish Oil Darken Wood?

Yes, Danish oil darkens wood slightly. In fact, you can combine it with oil-based pigments to make wood stains. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one, darker woods are generally richer and come with a luxurious feel.

So, a darker pine wood cabinet may look even better and one of the best wood for painted kitchen cabinets than natural-colored pine furniture. Secondly, a darker wood shade hides stains better. So, it may be better for exposed surfaces.

Nevertheless, if you do not wish to darken your pinewood items, you should opt for a water-based urethane finish. Water-based polyurethane leaves the wood color as is and also doesn’t yellow.

Can You Use Danish Oil Over Wood?

Yes, you can apply Danish oil over wood. More importantly, you can apply it over many different wood types and in different applications.

For instance, Danish oil works excellently on interior woodwork and furniture. You can use it on chairs, tables, cabinets, etc., as it is non-toxic and doesn’t have any lingering smells that may put off your guests.

You can also use it on utensils, butcher blocks, salad bowls, and other wooden utensils as it’s food-safe. It dries into a hard, satin finish that enhances the natural qualities of the wood while also protecting the wood surface underneath. 

Now check out our article “Is Danish Oil Considered Food-Grade Safe?” for a comprehensive exploration of the food safety aspects associated with Danish oil.

Can You Apply Lacquer Over Danish Oil?

Yes, you can apply Lacquer over Danish oil. The main reason is that Danish oil is a drying oil while lacquer is a non-drying finish. Drying oils “cure” rather than merely “dry” over the wood surface.

Curing means the finish is absorbed into the wood while drying means it doesn’t penetrate the wood. A fully cured dried oil allows you to apply another layer of non-drying finish, such as lacquer, without any issues.

The most important thing is to wait until the Danish oil finish has been cured completely. So, you want to wait at least a full day (24 hours) before applying the lacquer. 

Will Danish Oil Protect Pinewood from Water?

Yes, Danish oil protects wood surfaces from water. In fact, it’s also effective from moisture. So, you don’t have to worry about water spills on the surface or exposing the wooden item to high-moisture conditions such as the basement. 

So, what makes Danish oil waterproof? Because of the constituent drying oil. As we mentioned earlier, Danish oil is made by mixing varnish with a curing oil such as linseed or tung. Curing oils are highly waterproof

For instance, tung oil is one of the most water-resistant finishes known. It hardens into a hard solid film that doesn’t allow water to pass through. Meanwhile, varnish adds a durability component. 

Can You Use Danish Oil for Outdoor Furniture?

Yes, you can use Danish oil on outdoor furniture. It is food, water, and alcohol-resistant, making it an excellent low-sheen finish for outdoor wooden furniture.

The trick is to apply the oil correctly and allow it to cure fully before exposing the furniture to outdoor conditions. You can rest assured that the oil won’t peel, flake, chip, or crack if you do so. 

That said, though, if you intend to use it for outdoor furniture, it’s best to make the furniture from hardwoods that haven’t been treated with another sealant.

The oil doesnt soak well into the wood if the furniture has already been treated with another finish. However, you can sand the previously finished surface before applying a new coat of Danish oil if you’re prepared to go the extra length. 

Can You Thin Danish Oil?

Yes, you can thin Danish oil. Even better, you can use a wide variety of solvents to thin Danish oil, from mineral spirits to standard paint thinner, white spirit, and naphtha. 

But, before you thin it, you may want to know that Danish oil already contains thinners. Standard Danish oil comprises three main parts, i.e., oil, varnish, and thinner. The three are mixed in equal parts.

However, you’re free to dilute it further if you want a thinner coat, especially if you intend to apply two or more coats of the oil. If using white spirit as the thinner, add 20% white spirit to the first coat and stir vigorously to mix the solution. 

How to Apply Danish Oil 

There are two broad methods to apply Danish paint on pine and other wooden items. The first approach is the wet-on-wet technique which involves wetting the surface before applying Danish oil.

Meanwhile the second technique is the smooth-finish approach which involves applying the oil on a smooth, dry surface. 

Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is critical before applying Danish oil as it removes dust, bumps, and moisture that may be trapped beneath the oil.

The good news is that you don’t need much prepping on a new surface. You only need to sand it down properly and wipe off the dust.

However, previously oiled/finished surfaces may prevent the oil from penetrating the wood. So, you need to strip the surface with the appropriate paint stripper before applying a fresh oil coat.

Use white spirit to clean previously waxed surfaces or surfaces with grease. Finally, never apply Danish oil in damp conditions. Make sure the environment is at least 10 degrees but not in direct sunlight. 

Step-by-Step Guide

Although you can follow whichever approach you prefer (wet-on-wet or the smooth surface application), we will only explain the wet-on-wet technique as we believe it’s the best way to apply danish oil on pine. 

  1. Thoroughly sand the pine surface with 80-grit sandpaper. Always sand in a circular motion for the best outcome. 
  2. Use a handheld vacuum to remove the sanding dust.
  3. Use a clean, lint-free cloth to apply Danish oil to the surface. It’s best to work in long, broad circles. Reapply oil to the cloth when necessary and continue application until the wood is dull – not shiny.
  4. Wait 20 minutes, then apply a second coat of Danish oil on the still-wet surface. Use thinner oil for the second coat as wood absorbs less oil in the second round. You know it’s time to stop when the wood no longer absorbs oil.
  5. Let the wood dry for an hour. Then use a clean, soft cloth to wipe off the excess Danish oil. After that, leave it to dry for another 48 hours. Now, you can start using the item.

The main difference between wet-on-wet and smooth surface application is that you need to let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.

So, you often need to wait 24-48 hours before applying the second coat of Danish oil. 

Also Read: How to Make Pine Look Like White Oak

Other Oils to Consider for Pine Finishing 

If you discover that Danish oil won’t do the trick, perhaps because you want a more durable oil finish, two excellent alternatives are pure linseed oil or tung oil. 

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is made from flax seeds. It’s very easy to apply compared to other wood finishing oils. You get to choose from raw and boiled linseed oil options.

Raw linseed oil cures very slowly but is more durable. It’s also 100% food safe. Meanwhile, boiled linseed oil for decking contains chemicals that speed up the curing process. However, it’s not 100% food safe. 

Read also: Difference between linseed oil and Danish oil.

Tung Oil

Tung oil is derived from the seeds of the tung tree, which makes it food safe too. However, it’s a little different from linseed oil and even considered a better option.

For instance, tung oil is highly waterproof and is often used on boats. It is also the most natural wood finishing option. The only downside is that tung oil is a little challenging to apply. You need a degree of expertise to install it correctly. 

You can also check out our article on how to remove tung oil effectively in case you messed up during the application.


Which is the best oil for pinewood?

Most woodworkers consider raw linseed oil the best oil for pinewood projects, including pine tables. It is very durable, easy to apply, and 100% food safe. 

Read also: Knotty pine paint.

Does Danish oil protect wood?

Yes, Danish oil protects wooden furniture against chemicals, heat exposure, superficial scratches, and stains. It also protects wood from water and moisture exposure. 

Does Danish oil wear off?

Yes. Unfortunately, Danish oil wears off rather fast. It’s actually one of the main drawbacks of finishing wood with Danish oil. You need to reapply the oil regularly to maintain the shine. 

How long does Danish oil last on wood?

Once cured, Danish oil can last 10 to 20 years on wood. However, it comes down to the level of maintenance. For instance, you need to reapply Danish oil at least twice a year for maximum results. 

Is natural Danish oil clear?

No, Danish oil doesn’t have a standard color. Instead, the colors vary from product to product depending on the type of varnish, oil, and thinner used. 

Next, read on: Sealer for pine tongue and groove boards


That’s all you need to know about Daning oil on pine wood. By and large, it’s a very good choice for wood finishing. It is waterproof, chemical-resistant, scratch-resistant, and doesn’t yellow.

Above all, it’s easy to apply and dries fast. The only challenge is that it’s not as durable as other oils. All in all, it’s a worthwhile investment. 

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