Shop Log

Testing to Find the Best Oil Finish

For over 20 years, we used Deft Danish Oil mixed with 20% polyurethane varnish.  To choose this product and mix, we tested a dozen or more oil finishes (some with toxic solvents and some without) to find the finish that would resist water spotting the best and achieve a satin look and feel.  Deft Oil is no longer made.  We had to test again.  

Oil finishes are subject to "water-spotting"--that is the appearance of a shadowy mark where water sits for a time. Some are notoriously bad about it.

To find the finish most resistant to water spotting, we applied three coats of the various finishes to sample blocks of wood.

finishes to test
wood finish test samples

After 3-4 weeks curing, we placed drops of water into a marked grid on the samples.

dropping water on finish samples to test

We dried some of the drops individually on a timed schedule, and let some dry completely. 

Gary drying finish samples for test

We found that Rubio Monocoat (with its accelerater) was the best of 10 candidates. We were surprised and delighted to find that it is plant-based and non-toxic.  We were chagrined to pay four times the price.

Rubio and samples

The company claims this is a one coat finish (monocoat).  For the results we are after, it is not.

Our Oil Finishing Schedule.