How to Finish Oily Woods
Seal in the problem, don't wipe it away.
Synopsis: Oily tropical woods such as cocobolo, bubinga, teak, and others pose problems when using oil-based finish. Jeff Jewitt’s solution is simple but effective. First, understand why these woods are so challenging when it comes to using oil-based finish. Then, seal off the problem with a coating of finish that isn’t affected by the oils in the wood.
Many woodworkers use exotic tropical woods such as rosewood, cocobolo, jatoba, bubinga, wenge, teak, and others. If you’ve ever applied an oil-based finish to one of these woods, you have probably run into problems: Either the finish took a very long time to dry, dried only partially and stayed tacky, or wouldn’t dry at all. And even if the finish dried, it might have peeled or flaked off later. Your first reaction probably was to blame the finish or yourself, without realizing that the wood was in fact the culprit.