Tom Wisshack says oil finishes accentuate the grain, color, and figure of the wood rather than obscure it. An oil finish will never chip, peel, develop fisheye, or orange peel. Wisshack explains the work involved in preparing a surface for an oil finish and how to rejuvenate previously oil-finished pieces. Preparation is important because the finish will heighten any defects, so be sure to plane or scrape well before sanding with several grits of paper. He spells out the grits he uses and tips to make the work easier, as well as and how to use steel wool to repair old finishes. He ends with information on choosing and applying the oil and his own homemade linseed-oil mixture.

From Fine Woodworking #97