Traditional Oil Finish Recipe
Professional furnituremaker Chris Becksvoort's go-to finish is simple and goes on easy.
Finish and application: Wipe-on oil and varnish
Skill Level: Easy
Finish Products: Danish Oil, Tried & True Varnish oil and spar varnish (whatever is at hand: McCloskey, Z-Spar, Epifanes) or polyurethane ( Minwax, Defthane)
Project Type: Shaker Chest of Drawers
Maker: Christian Becksvoort
I prefer an oil finish because it is spot repairable and easy. The spar varnish or urethane helps the drying process and adds protection to the finish.
I belt sand to 120, use a random-orbit sander for 150-, 180- and 220-grit, hand-sand to 220-grit and sometimes 320. Then I polish with 0000 steel wool.
2. First coat
Straight Danish oil, ambient temperature should be above 70°. Oil each piece (case, drawers, bottoms, tops) and wipe, being careful to remove all oil. Let dry for 48 hours, and then go over all surfaces with 0000 steel wool.
3. Second coat
Use a mixture of 2/3 Tried & True varnish oil plus 1/3 spar varnish. Wipe thoroughly, at least twice. Let dry another 48 hours.
4. Third coat
The same mixture of 2/3 Tried & True varnish oil plus 1/3 spar varnish. Apply and wipe thoroughly, and again allow 48 hours dry time.
I do not wax anything except the drawer runners and sides because wax encourages heat rings. Assemble all the parts, and wax drawer runners and drawer sides for a smoother glide.