Don’t Put Hard Wax Oil Over Wood Stain (Do This Instead…)

Wood stain is an easy way to change the color of wood. Yet, stain alone isn’t going to protect that timber from water spills, or everyday wear and tear.

Which is why wood stains need a top coating sealer of some sort. But, does hard wax oil pair well with oily wood stain?

Well, hard wax oil is a penetrating oil product that works best when it can sink into wood.

Related Post: Should You Use A Hard Wax Oil Finish Vs Danish Oil?

But, the problem with applying hard wax oil over wood stain, is that wood stain works in the same way. Wood stain also needs to soak into wood grain to work effectively.

So, in this post, you will find out exactly why wood stains make life so difficult for hard wax oil finishes. We also explain why some clear hard wax oil products could end up darkening wooden surfaces.

And you will discover how you can still manage to get fantastic stain color, (and sealing wax protection), all-in-one go…

hard wax oil over stain

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Can You Apply Hard Wax Oil Over Wood Stain?

No, not if you want to get the full benefit of a hard wax penetrating oil.

Hard wax oils are durable protective finishes that build up a defensive layer on the surface. They also soak into grain, coating wood fibers, making wood less water absorbent.

On the other hand, wood stain is made from a blend of pigments and varnish. The pigments add color to wood, and the varnish makes sure that pigment bonds and stays on wood grain.

However, varnish is a type of drying oil. And drying oils are oils that not only dry (evaporation), but they also go on to cure (chemical reaction), turning them into a solid film coat.

Related Post: Can You Varnish Over Wax Finished Furniture?

So, when you coat lumber with wood stain, you’ve covered that lumber with something that will fill and seal over wood pores. And this is why a hard wax oil doesn’t work well when applied over wood stained timber.

Hard wax oils work by sinking into wood, but wood stain will prevent this oil product from soaking evenly into grain.

Can Osmo Polyx Hard Wax Oil Be Applied Over Stain? Osmo Polyx oil is a hard wax oil product. Which means that it should be applied onto a dry, clean and bare wooden surface.

hard wax oil over stain

Does Hard Wax Oil Darken Wood On Its Own?

Generally, a clear hard wax oil doesn’t darken wood or discolor wood.

At most, it will enhance the appearance of natural wood, the way any liquid can (whether it be oil or a water spill). But, beyond that, it won’t darken wood even further over time.

However, there is one caveat to this, and that is hard wax oils that have Linseed oil as an ingredient.

You see, hard wax oils are made by mixing natural oils, (like Linseed oil or Pure Tung oil), with a hard natural wax, (like Carnauba and Candelilla).

Linseed oil is a naturally-sourced drying oil that is well known for changing the color of wood. Use this oil finish on a wooden surface, and with time, it will darken timber. Especially if that timber surface is stored in a low-light area.

Related Post: Tru-oil vs Linseed Oil: The Top 5 Things You All Wanted To Know

So, if your hard wax oil finish is made using Linseed oil, then even a clear finish could end up changing the hue of your wood craft.

hard wax oil over stain

Is There Any Kind Of Wood Stain You Can Use With Hard Wax Oil?

There’s no need to apply hard wax oil over wood stain. Instead, you’re better off applying something that combines both of them in a single product.

In short, adding a pigment tint to hard wax oil gives you the best of both worlds.

So, use a tinted hard wax oil, such as Osmo Polyx Oil Tints. Available in 7 different colors, this top coating product won’t hide natural wood. And, it enhances wood grain with visible color.

It’s fast drying (taking less than 24 hours). Plus, it only needs 1-2 coats in order for it to give wooden surfaces complete water-repelling coverage.

You won’t even need to sand between coats, (which you would need to do if you used a water-based wood stain). So you’ll save yourself a lot of time and prep by skipping over wood stain altogether, and going straight for this tinted hard wax oil instead.

You’ll find the latest prices for Osmo Polyx Oil Tints over on Osmo’s official website right here.

To Sum Up, Here Are The 3 Main Takeaways…

1). Hard wax oil works best when applied directly onto bare wooden surfaces.
2). If you apply hard wax oil over wood stain, the oil won’t be able to penetrate wood grain.
3). If you want to add color to wood, then simply use a hard wax oil with tinted color added to it.


Evaluation Of Varnish Coating Performance For Two Surfacing Methods On Sugar Maple Wood | Society of Wood Science and Technology (Wood and Fiber Science)