Best Oils for Antique Wood Furniture

December 18, 2022

Staining the antique wood furniture with oil finishes.

The current market for antique furniture may not be that bullish compared to those of the previous decades, but it doesn’t mean that you should no longer invest in antique furniture, for the best pieces of antique wood furniture still sell well despite the bearish sales of other antique furniture. So, if you have great antique wood furniture pieces at home, you should continue maintaining and refinishing those pieces of furniture. One way to refinish your antique furniture is via the use of oils.

At the onset, however, it will be good to know the two types of finishes that you can provide your antique wooden furniture: film Finishes and oil finishes.

  • Film finishes: provide less protection to the wood. But despite providing less protection for the wood, oil finishes are still employed today for their ease of application while enhancing the natural look of the wood. If ever you decide to provide your antique furniture with an oil finish, it will be best to choose the type of oil you will use carefully. 
  • Oil finishes: of course, is more penetrating than the film finish because it can seep down into the wood fiber and create a barrier below the wood’s surface. Oil finishes also cover the wood with a thin film as added protection. 

Most Recommended Oils for Antique Wood Furniture

Oil finishing products come in a wide variety of brands and mixtures. Hence, you may get confused when selecting the right oil for your antique furniture. To facilitate the choosing process for you, we have listed here the top oil finishing products in the market today:

1) Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil

One type of oil in use for a long time in refinishing wood is linseed oil, a major component of the Sunnyside Corporation 87232S. 

The Sunnyside Corporation 87232S comes with boiled linseed oil that makes the grain finish stand out without altering the wood’s natural color. It can complement the existing finish of your wood to prevent damage caused by cracking and over-drying. It is perfect for refinishing exterior and interior furniture. 

The good thing about boiled linseed oil is that it dries faster. Hence, it provides an evenly and smooth finish when it dries. Moreover, it prevents water from seeping into the fiber of the wood. It also prevents chalking. This oil finish is safe and easy to use for both antique and non-antique furniture. Besides, you will surely find this oil product safe to use and excellent for reconditioning your dry antique furniture’s surface. 


  • It offers a faster drying time compared to raw linseed oil.
  • It doesn’t alter the natural color of the wood. 
  • It complements previous finishes.  
  • It is good for exterior and interior furniture. 


  • It is not safe for use in food. 
  • It carries a strong smell that you may not like.

2) Watco 65241 Danish Oil Wood Finish

Another great option when it comes to oil wood finish is the Watco 65241. It provides one of the best oil finishes that you can ever have for your furniture. It is also easy to use and provides a very satisfying finish for your furniture. Watco has meticulously formulated this product to provide its users with a combination of varnish and oil formula that penetrates the pores of wood while not altering the natural wood color. 

It is easy to apply on the wood. You only need to rub the oil onto the wood’s surface to get a good result. With the protection it provides your wood, you can expect your wood to be free of chipping and abrasion. Moreover, the wood surface will sport a new look after applying this oil. 

Watco 6524 is also fast drying. After applying, you can expect the oil to dry after six hours. You can also wash easily the oil that sticks to your hand after applying this oil on the wood’s surface. 


  • It is quick-drying.
  • It’s also easy to apply on the wood’s surface. 


  • It carries a strong scent that may give you a headache.

3) Minwax Antique Oil Finish

It’s the oil finish that is concocted explicitly for antique furniture. It is a product that is oil-based, designed to provide antique furniture with a protective finish. It’s easy to apply and provides your furniture a high resistance to staining. 

The Minwax Antique Oil Finish is best for interior wood furniture like tables, cabinets, doors, and paneling. You can also complement the previous wood stain finish with this oil-based product to enhance the appeal and beauty of your wood. 

You can recoat your antique furniture up to three coats to achieve the finest finish for your furniture. Besides, you can use this product for both unfinished and finished wood. Additionally, it quickly dries after five to ten minutes.


  • It provides for your furniture a high level of resistance to staining.
  • It complements existing stains on the wood. 
  • It is quick-drying. 


  • Some users claimed that it tends to raise the grain of the wood instead of providing a great finish.

Advantages and Benefits of Using Oil for Wooden Furniture and Items

Oil may not be the best finishing product that you can grab out there for your antique furniture. But the use of oil also offers some benefits for your wood furniture. Some of these reasons include the following:

Immediate Protection for Your Furniture

If you got no available finishing substance at hand, an oil finish would surely be your best option. Antique furniture that has been used and exposed to many harsh elements may end up dry and with cracks. So, if you need immediate protection and want to keep your wood furniture from drying, you can always resort to oil refinishing to arrest the continuous drying and degeneration of the surface of the antique furniture. Moreover, oil is easy to apply by simply rubbing it on the wood surface.

It Intensifies the Natural Appearance of the Furniture

Wood has its natural sheen and glossiness, and pieces of antique wood furniture are no different. They also have that natural sheen, brought about by the passing of time. With the use of oil, however, you can intensify the natural look of wood to make it more appealing and provide it with a more enhanced sheen, sans using other pigments of chemicals.

It Hides Minute Imperfections

Antique furniture may be around for several decades or even centuries. Through the passing of time, they might have been exposed to harsh elements that might have damaged their surface. If these damages are minute damages, you can hide these damages using oil.

How to Apply Oil Finish on Antique Wood?

You can use a dry and clean piece of cloth when applying oil to the wood. You can likewise use a synthetic brush for this purpose. Nevertheless, if you use a dry cloth, you can completely deal with the surface of the wood by rubbing it on the wood’s surface. It will be best to use a high-quality cloth to ensure that the surface will not be damaged when you rub the oil. Besides, the application will be even. 

After applying the oil, make sure you wipe the excess oil. Then, wash the used cloth. Know the time needed to dry the oil entirely and follow that timeline before you add a second coat. You should refrain from applying the oil (synthetic or conditioned oils) with your bare hand.

Frequently Asked Questions About Oil Finish

Knowing the best oil products for finishing is only the primary step when you decide to use oil to refinish antique furniture. It will likewise help if you know the following FAQs about oil for refinishing antique furniture:

Is Oil Recommended for Wood Furniture Refinishing?

The oil-based products for refinishing furniture may be your most accessible way to refinish your furniture. Yet, there is also a wide array of polishing products out there other than oil products. We would not recommend that you use oil products for your furniture, but we will also not prevent you from using them, for they can also provide excellent sheen to your furniture. At the same time, they will provide your wood furniture with protection and resistance from damage.

Can I Apply Varnish on an Oiled Wood Surface?

In many instances, you can apply any varnish on a wood that has been refinished with oil, for varnish also carries oil in its ingredients. But since most present-day varnishes sport water-based formulae, you should refrain from using these water-based varnishes on an oiled wood surface. Before varnishing a wood treated with oil, it will be best to check if it is a water-based varnish.

Will the Application of Oil Darken the Wood’s Surface?

Yes, in most instances, the oil will turn the wood’s color a bit darker. Nevertheless, the wood’s darkened shade will indicate whether you will need to make another coating for your furniture.

Can Oil Seal the Wood?

Oil differs from the wood sealer, and as such, you should not confuse these two. But to answer this question, oil can also work as a wood sealer to a certain degree, for it can repel moisture and water. But it is not right to think that it will completely seal the wood. It only provides an added protection for the wood.


You will find many different finishes for your antique wood furniture in the market today. Authentic finishes before, however, are of high maintenance and labor-intensive. But a new trend at present tends to favor more enduring finishes. Simple wax finishes, for example, have been around for a long time, and it provides a satiny and soft finish to the wood. 

Oil finishes have also been around for several centuries, and as mentioned above, they are easy to apply and use. Oil finishes, of course, come with advantages and disadvantages and knowing these pros and cons can help you decide whether to go for oil finishes or not.  

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