The 5 Best Oils For Oak Furniture

Best Oils For Oak Furniture

Oak furniture is a beautiful addition to any home, but it can also be difficult to keep looking great. If you want your oak furniture to stay in pristine condition for years, then you need the right oils. There are many great oils out there, but some will not work as well for this type of wood.

If you’ve been searching for high-quality oils for your oak furniture without any luck, we have good news for you. We scoured the internet in search of the best oils to use on oak furniture and found that these 5 are the best! 

Use Danish Oil for an Attractive Natural Finish

The first oil to consider is Danish Oil. This popular finish for oak furniture leaves a natural and attractive look that protects the wood against water, alcohol, dirt, and even sunlight. It can be applied in thin layers to produce an antique or glossy sheen that will last a long time before needing another coat! 

Danish oil is a popular finish on oak furniture because it brings out its rich tones and prevents surface staining.  This oil takes about 15 minutes to soak into the wood. Therefore, it’s advisable to apply only one layer per day. The additional layers will build up a thick and durable coating like wood varnish.

It’s also a great oil for furniture because it is thin and penetrates deep into the pores of the wood to protect against water damage; however, some people find that they experience more splitting in their oak pieces when using Danish Oil.  It can be used on unfinished or varnished surfaces.

How Much Danish Oil Do You Need for Your Project?

To calculate the amount of danish oil needed for your project, you will need to estimate how many square feet (or yards) of wood are in question.  Most people use about a quart per square yard when doing projects such as furniture staining and refinishing. That would mean that if there were five squares on one side of a yard, you’d need about five quarts of danish oil. 

How to Use Danish Oil On Oak Furniture

There are two ways of applying danish oil on oak furniture — wet on wet, single day application, and the one coat a day application method. Your choice between the two will depend on how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the project and how fast you’d like to go back to using the furniture. Below are the steps for each method.

Wet On Wet, Single Day Application Method

This method allows you to apply danish oil within a single day. The furniture should be ready to use within 48 hours. The idea is to leave the wood surface wet with danish oil (without producing puddles or areas that are too oily-looking) for at least an hour until the wood is fully saturated. 

After an hour, repeat the process and leave it to rest for 20 minutes. Repeat the steps and let the furniture rest for another 20 minutes. By this point, you’ll notice that most of the oil isn’t soaking into the wood as it was initially. This is a sign that the wood is fully saturated.

Use a clean rag to wipe off the excess oil, and let the furniture rest undisturbed for another hour. Once the hour is up, wipe off any excess oil. Leave the furniture undisturbed for 48 hours to allow the danish oil to cure before using the furniture.

One Coat a Day Application Method

This method is perfect for those who have several furniture pieces to work on or a limited time to work on the project each day. Follow the steps below:

  1. Apply danish oil liberally until the wood stops absorbing the oil.
  2. Leave the furniture undisturbed for 20 minutes, then use a rag to wipe off the excess oil.
  3. On the next day, repeat steps one and two.
  4. Day three involves the same steps. However, the wood should look extremely wet and unable to absorb any more oil at this point. Still, reapply and leave the furniture undisturbed for 20 minutes before removing the excess oil.
  5. Leave the furniture to cure for at least 48 hours before using.

How Often Should You Apply Danish Oil to Oak Furniture?

The best way to keep your oak furniture in good condition is by applying a light layer of danish oil every few months. Also, to keep the furniture in tip-top condition, avoid using cleaning agents with chemicals. These substances can damage the wood and change its color. To avoid damaging the surface, use soap and water or feather dust the area to avoid any contact with water.

Source: Danish Oil

Get an Attractive Finish with Beeswax

The best way to preserve and protect your oak furniture is with beeswax. Beeswax has many benefits, including a deep honey-like aroma that can be hard to replicate. It’s also easy on the eyes–beeswax creates less glare than other coating materials like varnish or shellac. 

Beeswax is also an excellent option for environmentally conscious people. The wax is made from natural materials, and the coating does not contain any formaldehyde, which can trigger allergies or asthma symptoms in some people.

Beeswax offers several benefits over other coatings on oak furniture: 

  • Protects against water damage
  • Creates less glare than varnish or shellac
  • It can be used economically (since a little goes a long way)
  • It does not contain any formaldehyde
  • Offers an environmentally friendly option for coating furniture.
  • Excellent for revitalizing distressed wood
  • Produces an unsealed wood finish

Practical Tips

Before applying any coating, make sure the furniture is clean and dry. This will help the wax or paint adhere to the surface more effectively. Applying light sanding dust can also create an attractive finish on old oak pieces of furniture that have been scratched during use.

After using beeswax on your oak furniture, you should also avoid chemical cleaning products. These permeate the wood, thereby drying out and causing irreplaceable cracking. It’s best to use soap and water when washing the surface. Alternatively, feather dust to avoid messing with the beeswax at all.

How to Apply Beeswax to Oak

Applying beeswax to oak is a relatively simple job, but most people do it wrong. If you want your furniture to look stunning, follow these steps:

  1. Brush the wood: This step allows the wax to penetrate the grain of the wood.
  2. Apply a light coating: People often put on too much beeswax, and it clogs in their pores, giving your furniture an uneven finish. Remember that you can always add more later if necessary, but removing excess is difficult once applied!
  3. Allow time for the wax to do its thing: Leave the furniture alone for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you leave it longer than this, it will dry too much, thereby making buffing challenging. However, the shine will be more prominent.
  4. Buff: Use a lint-free cloth to buff the wax into your furniture. Buffing is essential as it removes excess wax and restores sheen.
  5. Repeat: If necessary, apply another layer of beeswax or other natural oil such as olive or jojoba 
  6. Wipe any drops from spills before they dry so that you can clean them up.
  7. Now stand back and admire your work!

Source: Instructables

Maintain the Furniture Color with Tung Oil

There are many reasons why people love using Tung Oil for their oak furniture. This oil is flexible, durable, and food safe. Not to mention, it provides a waterproof finish that doesn’t mold, darken, or go rancid. Tung oil is also among the fastest drying oils. Therefore, if you don’t like waiting for hours on end before wiping the excess, this is a great product to use.

From an aesthetic standpoint, tung oil is also the perfect choice. It has a natural yellow hue that can darken with age, providing an antiqued look. There are many shades to choose from as well, ranging from amber to deep walnut brown colors.

A little goes a long way when it comes to tung oil too! Therefore, you’ll get more use out of your oil for years to come.

What’s the Difference Between Pure and Dark Tung Oil?

One of the challenges most people face when shopping for tung oil for their oak furniture is whether they should purchase pure or dark tung oil.

Pure tung oil refers to the colorless form of tung oil that has not been mixed with any other type of stain, which is why it’s called “pure.” It is a great option for those looking for a more natural finish on their oak furniture and don’t want a glossy or heavy finish.

On the other hand, dark tung oil is a darker version of tung oil, often mixed with other stains to produce a richer color on the wood. The additives are often non-carcinogenic. Therefore,  it is a preferred choice for those who want their oak furniture to have an aged, weathered look without compromising their health. 

How Much Tung Oil Do You Need for Your Project?

To calculate the amount of tung oil needed for your project, you will need to estimate how many square feet (or yards) of wood are in question.  Most people use about a quart per square yard when doing projects such as furniture staining and refinishing. That would mean that if there were five squares on one side of a yard, you’d need about five quarts of tung oil. 

How to Use Tung Oil On Oak Furniture

There are several steps you need to follow to ensure you achieve excellent results. These include:

  1. Clean the surface:  your furniture needs to be clean before you start. This means removing dirt, grease, and wax from the surface of any old finish that was put on earlier.
  2. Sand lightly: using very fine sandpaper (200 or finer grit), smooth out any dents or rough spots in your wood’s surface. 
  3. Thin the oil: Before you start, always thin the tung oil with a solvent like mineral spirits or turpentine.
  4. Apply tung oil liberally: use a rag to apply the oil in sections: You can’t apply it all at once because it will take too long to dry, and your furniture is going to be sticky for a while. It’s crucial to apply generous amounts because, unlike vanish, which sits on top of the wood, the goal with tung oil is to saturate the wood cells.
  5. Wait 12 hours: before moving on, if you applied more than one coat of tung oil, wait 12 hours before applying another coat. Continue applying additional coats until about 80% of the furniture surface appears glossy. This means that the wood cells are saturated with oil.
  6. Remove unabsorbed oil from the surface: Unabsorbed oil will rise to the surface and form a shiny film on your furniture. To remove the excess, simply wipe it off with a paper towel or dishcloth.
  7. Let the oil cure for at least 30 days: For your furniture to be fully protected, you should let the oil cure for at least 30 days. It will take up to 10 days for the oil to start curing and 15 to 30 days to cure completely. During this time, avoid placing the oak furniture in direct sunlight. Also, in the first 10 days, check the furniture often and wipe off any excess oil that seeps to the surface.

How Often Should You Apply Tung Oil to Oak Furniture?

The frequency of retouching your furniture will depend on how often it is used. Even if you have let the oil cure for 30 days already, it’s always best to give your oak pieces another application of tung oil once a month or so to keep them fresh and protected from wear.

Source: Real Milk Paint

Keep Your Oak Furniture Moisturized with Olive Oil 

Another great oil you can use on oak furniture is Olive Oil. Olive oil is a healthy alternative to other oils, and it can be used on wood of any type as long as the surface isn’t sealed or varnished. This means that you will need to sand off any previous finish before applying olive oil. 

Besides, olive oil is an all-natural oil, which makes it an excellent option for anyone worried about the safety of their children or pets. It’s also an eco-friendly option.

The best way to make sure your furniture gets a solid application when using olive oil is to ensure you clean the surface before application. This way, you’ll be guaranteed an even finish throughout the furniture pieces. 

How to Use Olive Oil on Oak Furniture

To polish finished wood, combine two parts of olive oil(don’t use virgin olive oil because it doesn’t work well with finished wood) and one part lemon juice. Apply the mixture to the furniture using a lint-free cloth. Leave the furniture piece unattended for at least 20 minutes to allow the oil to sip into the wood. Next, wipe off the excess oil using a clean rag. Repeat the process, making sure to focus on the trouble areas. 

If you’re working on unfinished wood, mineral oil is a better alternative. Combine two parts of the mineral oil with one part of lemon juice. Apply the mixture to the furniture using a lint-free cloth. Leave the furniture piece unattended for at least 20 minutes to allow the oil to sip into the wood. Next, wipe off the excess oil using a clean rag. Repeat the process, making sure to focus on the trouble areas. 

Source: How Stuff Works

How Often Should You Apply Olive Oil on Oak Furniture?

Olive oil can be applied to furniture every month or two. However, it’s best not to apply too much olive oil because excess oils may cause a sticky residue and attract dust. 

The trick is to focus on trouble areas like scratches, dents, stains, etc. Apply a small amount as needed, making sure to wipe off the excess oil.

Stay Green with Linseed Oil 

Linseed Oil is also a great oil to use on oak furniture. There are several reasons why this oil makes for a good finish. For starters, linseed oil is a natural product and it’s made from plants. This means that the furniture will be more environmentally friendly because this type of finish isn’t manufactured using toxic chemicals. Second, saturates deep into the wood grain to protect against scratches and humidity changes rather than forming a film on top of the wood.

Does Linseed Oil Change the Color of Wood?

Some people worry that linseed oil will change the color of their wood. This is not usually a problem, but it can happen depending on how much you use and what type of wood you have. For example, some types of pine or eucalyptus may turn yellowish if they are too exposed to the oil. This shouldn’t be a problem with oak furniture because oak isn’t as light colored as pine.

Linseed oil can also turn yellow if it is past its prime or hasn’t been properly stored, but this shouldn’t be a problem for the linseed oil that you buy from a store. With proper care and storage, there should not be any problems.

Is Linseed Oil Waterproof?

Linseed oil is naturally water repellant. However, when used as a wood finish, this oil is prone to water damage. Try avoiding placing cold glasses on oiled furniture without coasters, and if the surface gets wet, clean it up with a dry cloth immediately.

Source: Vermont Woods Studios 

Choosing the Right Linseed Oil for Finishing

There are various types of linseed oil, so it’s important to know which one is best for you. Raw linseed oil is the least popular because it takes about three days for each coat of oil to dry. Not to mention, it leaves a sticky feel on the wood surface, which can be rather off-putting. If you want to use raw linseed oil, it’s best to dilute it with the same quantity of an orderless thinner or citrus solvent.

The best linseed oil (and also the most popular) is double boiled or polymerized linseed oil. This type of oil dries quicker (within a few hours) and leaves an even, hard surface. It also allows the wood to breathe better, which is why it’s great for finishing oak furniture.

Lastly, you have the option of choosing linseed oils that have drying agents. These types of oils are specifically made to dry much faster than traditional linseed oil. If you want your surface to be ready in a few hours, this is the best option for oak furniture finishing. You can also add drying agents to your linseed oil on your own. Just be sure to follow the instructions so that you can get the most out of your oil.

How to Use Linseed Oil on Oak Furniture

It’s best to use linseed oil on bare or previously oiled wood since any other surface like paint, wax or varnish will prevent the oil from soaking into the surface.

Before starting, make sure to clean your wood with a damp cloth so that you remove any dirt or dust particles. Then allow it to dry before applying linseed oil. Next, apply three coats of linseed oil and let it dry for 12 to 24 between each coat. After applying the final coat, lightly hand polish the surface. This step will enhance the satin finish and help you achieve an even smoother texture.

Repeat the application process as needed and give the furniture enough time to dry before using it. After the application, plan for maintenance at least once a year. Scratches and  stains on the surface are not uncommon, but applying a new coat of linseed oil will help conceal them. However, you don’t have to apply the oil to the entire surface every time. Just focus on the trouble areas.

Source: ARDEC

Can You Leave Oak Untreated?

It’s not advisable to leave oak furniture untreated. Wood is porous and will absorb a lot of spills, which might end up permanently staining the surface. Besides, if left untreated, oak tends to weather to a silver color in around a year. If you want to retain this color, treat or seal the wood before exposing the furniture to the elements.  However, you should know that doing this is signing up for repeat treatments since the weather gradually erodes the treatment off.

One thing you shouldn’t worry about with oak furniture is insects and fungi. The wood is highly resistant to insect damage and it doesn’t produce sap that can attract fungus. Therefore, if you’re planning to store your furniture outdoors without treatment, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

Source: Oak Masters

Nonetheless, as a general rule of thumb, you should do your best to protect your oak furniture against temperature changes, moisture, sunlight, and heat. The following tips will go a long way in helping you keep your oak furniture in tip-top condition.

  • Ask for maintenance instructions when you purchase the furniture: There’s a great chance the wood has already been treated. Therefore, it’s best to ask for a pamphlet with care instructions so that you won’t need to guess.
  • Store your furniture in a cool, dry location: It’s essential that you store your oak furnishings when they’re not being used so they can rest and recover from the inevitable wear and tear of day-to-day use. To ensure their quality remains high, make sure these items are also free from moisture.
  • Clean the furniture correctly:  It’s important to clean your furniture with a commercially-made cleaner and dry it off thoroughly. This will help eliminate any dirt that might get trapped in the pores of the wood, which can cause damage over time.Alternatively, use a damp cloth occasionally to get rid of any dust or dirt on the surface of your furniture.
  • Coat with oil: You can prevent cracks in oak sofas and chairs by coating them regularly with an appropriate finishing oil to keep the wood supple and moist. This is especially important if you live in a humid climate where moisture levels are high, as this will lead to warping
  • Apply wax: When you need to restore the luster of your oak furnishings, apply one coat of quality natural wax will do wonders for the appearance of your furniture. This will also protect the wood and make it easier to clean in future
  • Polish: Polishing a furniture surface with a quality wax polish is an excellent way to maintain its shine. The best type of polish for oak furnishings is one that has been designed specifically for this purpose, as these contain ingredients that are suitable for the type of wood you’re working with.
  • Avoid direct sunlight or heat:  It’s a good idea to avoid placing your oak furniture in direct sunlight or near an area where there is likely to be a lot of heat. This will lead to the overall condition deteriorating more quickly and could reduce its lifespan.

Source: Oak Furniture Store

Wrapping Up

There you have it, a list of oils you can use to maintain the condition of your oak furniture. The best oils for oak furniture are those which have been specifically designed with this type of wood in mind, as these will contain ingredients that won’t damage it. 

Whether you’re using natural oils or oils with additives, be sure to follow the application steps to the letter for the best results. Most importantly, keep up with the reapplication to keep your furniture in tip-top condition.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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