What Kind of Oil is Best for Pinewood

Pine is one of the best softwoods in the market available for making furniture and carvings. It is comparatively cheap and regardless of it being a softwood, it is still pretty durable. It is very light colored and takes to finishes really well, but what oil finish suits it the best? Depending on the use and scenario, you might want to know what kind of oil is best for pinewood. In this article, we will be dealing with exactly that and also give you a guide on how to apply an oil finish to this wood.

The best oils for finishing off Pine are linseed oil and Danish oil. Since Pine is a light-colored softwood, applying something like linseed oil helps avoid darkening its hue. Not to mention it is one of the best oil finishes if you are planning to use it on things like cutting boards, food bowls, and other utensils. Pinewood is also great for furniture, in which case you can use Danish oil. You can find it in various shades and it is very durable.

Pine is a softwood and since most people are used to working with hardwoods for furniture, they often look over it. However, it is one of the most durable lumber and has been tried and tested for construction and furniture. The old stave churches of Scandinavian origin were built out of ore-pine almost 800-1000 years ago. It is a cured pinewood that is resinous and avoids rot and decay. Those churches still stand tall and have survived almost a millennia. Even in modern-day cases if treated and cared for properly, pinewood furniture is strong and will last you for decades without breaking.

Best Oils for Pinewood

1. Linseed Oil

When it comes to natural finishes, linseed oil is one of the best, if not the best, finishes available to woodworkers. It gives the wood a beautiful amber hue that captivates the eyes of people. Traditional woodworkers swear by its results on any wood. For pinewood, you couldn’t ask for a better wood finish, specifically for cutting boards and kitchen utensils.

The light colour of Pine becomes exquisitely beautiful after having been finished with linseed oil. The light shade of the wood and the grain pattern become accentuated by the amber hue you get from this oil finish. Also, it does not have a strong odour and once it dries and cures, it is completely food safe. However, most natural oil finishes are non-toxic and food safe.

Linseed oil dries to a hard finish on the surface while it penetrates the wood and gives Pine renewed life. This just makes the wood even more durable than it already is.

Sunnyside’s Pure Linseed Oil is a top seller and one of the best in the market. Since it is pure and does not contain any drying agents, it takes longer to dry fully. It takes about 2-4 days for it to dry properly but as a result, the oil penetrates deep into the wood. 


  • Gives Pine a beautiful amber look and accentuates the grain.
  • Protects from water damage.
  • Non-toxic and can be used on food utensils.


  • Darkens the amber hue over time which might not appeal to some people.
  • Takes too long to dry.

2. Danish Oil

One of the favourite oil finishes of woodworkers has to be Danish oil. It is so easy to apply, its drying times are shorter compared to most other oil finishes. However, that is not even the most appealing part about it, people prefer Danish oil for its durability. This is thanks to a mixture of oils including Tung oil and linseed oil, along with resins and varnish. These oils, resins, and varnish dry to a hard film finish that protects wood from external damage.

For a durable wood like Pine, Danish oil is the perfect match, as it not only protects against water damage but also accentuates its grain and look. This makes it perfect for furniture made out of pinewood. So you get not only the benefit of added durability but also beauty from applying Danish oil.

There are many brands in the market for Danish oil with each containing different ingredients. However, the Rust-Oleum’s Watco Danish Oil in natural shade pairs perfectly with pinewood. It does not alter or darken the light-colored wood and dries extremely fast, within 6 hours. Though you might want to cure it for at least a week or two for good measure.


  • Dries fast.
  • Very durable as far as oil finishes go.
  • Does not require too many coats thanks to added resins and varnish.


  • Since it has solvents and drying agents, it is not advisable to use Danish oil on food utensils or cutting boards.

Step-by-Step Guide on Oiling Pinewood

Before applying any finish, you need to make sure that you prepare your pinewood. To do so you need to sand it from 80-grits all the way up to 240-grits. This will make the surface of the wood smooth and help it accept the finish better.

Step 1 – Preparation

For this, you can either use a random orbit sander or a sanding block. Of course, using a random orbit sander will make the job of sanding comparatively easy and fast. However, it is not necessary since it can be done by hand as well. So start off with 80-grits sandpaper and sand thoroughly making sure you cover the whole surface. Once you are done with that move up to 120-grits of coarseness. After finishing up with that you can move up to 180-grits and that is where you can stop.

Though if you want you can use 240-grit sandpaper and sand in the direction of the grain by hand. Though it will be hard work it will really make an impact on the overall results. These results will be really visible once you apply the oil of your choice to the pinewood.

Step 2 – Cleaning Up

Once you are finished with the process of sanding, take a rag or Scotch Brite pad and clean the surface where you have to apply your finish thoroughly. Make sure to remove any dust or nubs that might be on the pinewood.

Step 3 – Applying the First Coat of Oil

After cleaning up your pinewood, it is time to apply the first coat of the oil finish of your choice. Apply a liberal amount and make sure that it covers every crevice and corner. You can either use a brush or a rag for the purpose of spreading the oil throughout the wood.

Step 4 – Cleaning Off Excess

You need to wait a few hours after you have applied your first coat of oil. When you are done waiting for that long take a clean rag and wipe off any excess oil from the pinewood. You need to make sure there isn’t any excess oil on the surface, if there is any you need to wipe it off with a rag.

Step 5 – Applying the Second Coat

When you are done cleaning you need to give 12-24 hours for your finish to dry depending on the oil you have applied. Once the oil has dried it is time to apply another coat of the oil finish. Repeat the same process as the first coat making, but this time you don’t need to be liberal about the quantity. Just apply a little on a clean rag and rub it all over the pinewood.

Note: You can apply as many as 5-6 coats of oil if you really want a durable finish.

Step 6- Cleaning off Excess Oil/Sweat

When your pinewood is completely saturated with oil it will start to form what woodworkers refer to as sweat on the surface. This is the excess oil that has formed on the wood because of being saturated with it. You just need to take a clean rag and wipe it off or else the excess will not dry and make the surface of the pinewood sticky.

Benefits of Oiling Pinewood

While it is true that Pine is a durable softwood, it does not change the fact that it still needs protection from moisture. A traditional finish like oil is a great way to protect your pinewood furniture and items. Most oils dry and cure to a hard film finish which in turn protects wood from moisture. Moisture is one of the biggest factors of wood warping, shrinking, swelling, and rotting.

A good oil finish will prevent the wood from absorbing moisture over time. If you want your pinewood furniture to last you decades, nothing beats a few coats of your favourite traditional oil finish. Not that is not where the benefits stop, as applying an oil finish also accentuates the look of your pinewood. So every time you apply an oil finish to the wood, it will look as good as new.

Lastly, it also replenishes dry wood as oils penetrate its pores, giving it a new life. This in turn ensures that your pinewood furniture will last even longer than it normally should.

What Oil Will Darken Pine

People enjoy the natural look of wood, they prefer to leave its colour intact. However, at times a light wood like pine can benefit from a darker shade. While some people will immediately think of stains, there are actually oils that can darken your pinewood. Dark Tung oil can darken Pine while giving all the benefits of an oil finish.

Some oils like linseed oil darken over time, giving the wood an antique look. The amber shade that accompanies the use of linseed oil becomes more prominent as it ages. Another oil that can darken pinewood is Danish oil since it can be found in many shades. You can even find more shades in Watco’s Rust-Oleum Danish Oil that can make your Pine darker.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Does linseed oil darken Pine?

Yes, linseed oil darkens the amber hue it gives to the wood over time. As the oil finish ages, it will start to give your Pine an antique look.

Can I use Danish oil on Pine?

Yes, Danish oil is one of the best oil finishes for Pine made furniture. The varnish and resins give it a durable and hard finish that prevents it from being damaged by water and scratch marks.

Is Tung oil good for Pine?

Yes, Tung oil is also great for Pine. It is one of the main components of Danish oil and it performs similarly to linseed oil. In some scenarios, it is even better than most traditional oil finishes.

Final Thoughts

Pine is often overlooked due to the knots it has and because it is cheap wood. However, it is durable, and it has great workability, cutting and sanding it is very easy. The light colour of the pinewood sometimes confuses people about which oil finish will suit it best, but hopefully after reading our article that shouldn’t be the case. 

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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