Best Oil For Reclaimed Wood

Unlike other types of wood used in making furniture, reclaimed wood requires applying a certain kind of oil to make it appear attractive and protect it from scratches and changes in humidity. Due to the varying options, furniture makers might get confused when selecting the best oil for reclaimed wood. If you find yourself weighing options when faced with the task of picking the best oil for your salvaged or reclaimed wood, then this article will most likely be of great assistance.

The best oil for reclaimed wood is the double-boiled linseed oil made from flaxseed, it is easy to apply and dries naturally on wood. Some other worthy mentions are danish oil and teak oil.

However, most people tend to get confused when reclaimed wood is mentioned. They sometimes mistake reclaimed wood for recycled wood and are prone to using other oils for the finish, which does not give them the desired result. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, knowing what reclaimed wood is will help you decide what factors to consider before deciding what oil to apply to your reclaimed wood.

What is Reclaimed Wood?

When something is reclaimed, it is still in its original form. It has not been altered though it may be old and might have lost its original attractiveness due to a long period of usage.

Reclaimed wood is a wood piece that has originally been used in different projects but has been repurposed and converted for another woodwork project without altering its original form. 

A lot of reclaimed woods have been previously used to construct old warehouses, old factory buildings, old barns, and other buildings that have been torn down. Surprisingly, a large number of those reclaimed woods are hundreds of years old. They are carefully rescued and preserved to be repurposed because they are usually high-quality natural woods.

Some of the qualities that make reclaimed wood attractive are:

  • The woods had a natural ability to resist insects and mold.
  • The woods possess a unique physical appearance.
  • Reclaimed wood is often very strong and highly durable.
  • Reclaimed wood is best for sustainable and Eco-friendly buildings.

Why is Linseed Oil the Best Oil for Reclaimed Wood?

Linseed oil is the best option for the interior and exterior of reclaimed wood because  of the following:

  • The linseed oil is pure and natural.

The linseed oil is derived from ripe seeds of the flax plant and during the extraction of the oil from flaxseed, there is not much alteration. Chemicals are not introduced during the extraction of the oil, hence it possesses natural qualities that are useful in protecting the reclaimed wood. The double-boiled linseed oil is the best oil for reclaimed wood. However, most companies produce different brands of linseed oil but they take care not to apply unhealthy chemicals that could harm users.

  • The linseed oil is not hard to use and does not require expertise.

Almost anyone can apply the linseed oil on reclaimed wood because it does not require some form of expert-level technical skill. The process of application is straightforward.

  • The linseed oil is environmentally friendly and affordable.

Unlike other oils that are produced in labs, and possess chemicals, linseed oil is easy to get. It is derived from flaxseed which can be easily grown in favourable conditions. However, certain brands produce the oil and they take care not to apply unhealthy chemicals, making the linseed oil environmentally friendly and affordable.

  • The linseed oil is compatible with most oils.

You can apply other oils on the wood after applying the linseed oil as the linseed oil is compatible and usually dries within 24 hours when it is polymerized. This unique quality makes it easy to apply other oils to the wood if the need arises.

There are numerous reasons linseed oil is often the best choice. However, certain factors are worth considering before choosing the oil you will use for reclaimed woods.

How to Choose the Best Oil for Your Reclaimed Wood

Finishing your reclaimed wood furniture with oil makes the unique character of the wood shine, easily creating an aesthetically appealing appearance. To choose the best oil for your reclaimed wood, you need to consider the following factors:

  • Ease of application

Perhaps you want something easy to apply, something that you can get done yourself. Some almost pure oils are easy to apply. All you have to do is rub them on the surface of the wood and leave the wood for some time. The oil will penetrate the wood, and then you can clean off the excess. After that, you will have to wait for the stipulated period to allow the oil to dry. The oils that fit into this category are linseed oil and tung oil. 

These oils tend to alter the wood’s colors they are applied to slightly, but they give the wood an attractive look.

  • Protection against wearing and resistance to moisture

Before deciding the oil you’ll apply on reclaimed wood, you might also need to consider how much protection the oil can offer against moisture and wear. Woods that will encounter extensive wear will require a different type of oil compared to those with minimal wear. 

  • The location you intend to use the wood.

Before you decide on the oil you’ll use, you might also need to consider the location you’ll be placing the wood. It could be outdoor or indoor. 

  • The chemicals that may have been used during the wood’s previous treatment.

Knowing how the wood has been previously treated and the chemicals used during the treatment is an important factor worth considering when selecting the oil for reclaimed wood. 

Different Oils Used for Reclaimed Wood 

Though linseed oil is the best for reclaimed wood, other oils are often used during finishing. Some of the oils used are danish oil, teak oil, mineral oil, walnut oil, hard wax oil, and many others.

How to Apply Oil to your Reclaimed Wood 

Applying oil to your reclaimed wood furniture surface is not a difficult task; it is something you can do in a short time, depending on how large the furniture’s surface area is. 

  • Step 1

Sand down the surface of the reclaimed wood using fine sandpaper.

  • Step 2

Rub the wood oil of choice into the wood with a soft cloth.

  • Step 3

Wipe away any excess debris.

  • Step 4

Let it dry for about a day in between each coat.


  1. What’s the difference between wood oil and wood varnish?

The major difference between wood oil and wood varnish is their penetrative abilities.

Wood oils penetrate the wood, reviving it from the inside out. Wood oils can protect your reclaimed wood despite surface damage.

Wood varnish, on the other hand, does not penetrate the wood. It forms a protective layer on top of the wood, protecting it from spills and scratches.

  1. Which should be applied first, wood varnish or wood oil?

If wood oil has been applied to a surface, the wood varnish will not stick to the wood surface if applied to the same surface because the varnish cannot penetrate the oil.  To apply the word varnish, it is always best to sand down the surface first before applying the varnish.


Having discussed different wood oils that you can use for reclaimed wood and the factors to consider in choosing the best wood oil, you should now be equipped with the knowledge on how to oil reclaimed wood. As mentioned, linseed oil is usually the best choice as it  penetrates deeply to nourish the wood from within without obstructing or concealing the wood’s unique grain. It is a very versatile, pure oil that possesses the properties of real wood oil.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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