If you’ve ever done any kind of wood finishing before, you are probably already familiar with Linseed oil.
This timeless oil finish has been used for hundreds of years as a wood preservative. And it does a fantastic job of soaking into wood grain… making every fiber incredibly resistant to rot and decay.
In fact, Linseed oil is so good at it’s job that it is widely used as the main ingredient in other wood finish oil blends, (such as Danish oil and Teak oil).
However, the world of oil finishes casts a wider net than Linseed oil and its derivatives. And, no, we’re not talking about Tung oil here.
If you want a natural wood finish, but you want to try something new, then Walnut oil could be right up your street.
You see, Walnut oil is extracted from a plant source, just like Linseed oil. But, while Linseed oil comes from flaxseed’s, Walnut oil comes from its namesake… Whole Walnuts.
But, what is it about Walnut oil that makes it such a great oil finish for wood? And why should you choose this nutty oil over any other finish?
Well, in this post, you are going to find out why using a specially treated Walnut oil is the only type you should be using on wood.
And, you will also discover why this oil finish is so much safer to use than Linseed oil…
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Is Walnut Oil Good For Wood?
A Walnut oil finish works as well as any drying oil. It’ll soak into those wood pores and enhance the look of wood grain – as well as preserve that lumber.
And this clear finish can do all of this without darkening the color of wood. But, you need to use the right type of walnut oil…
That is because, when it comes to wood finishing, you should be using heat treated and filtered walnut oil. This refined version of Walnut oil will dry, cure and harden.
Your standard grocery store culinary walnut oil is a non-drying oil that can be consumed. And, if you were to use it as a wood finish, it will go off and rancid within a few months.
But heat treated Walnut oil isn’t meant for consumption. And it won’t go rancid either, as all of the proteins in it have been filtered out.
If you do opt for Walnut oil, you should check out Mahoney’s Walnut Wood Finish. This wood oil product has been filtered and heat-treated. And it contains all natural ingredients.
OK, So How Long Does Walnut Oil Take To Dry?
It takes around 1-2 days for Walnut oil to dry. But it can take as little as 24 hours if you turn up the dry heat.
Beyond that, Walnut needs extra time to cure too. In which case, heat treated Walnut oil should need around 2-3 weeks to wholly cure.
Does Walnut Oil Dry Faster Than Linseed Oil?
Walnut oil takes longer than Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) to dry. But it will dry faster than a traditional Linseed oil finish.
A Quick Guide To Drying Times
Walnut oil takes 1-2 days to dry.
Linseed oil takes 2-3 days to dry.
Boiled Linseed oil takes 24 hours to dry.
And, What Is Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) Exactly?
Well, BLO is Linseed oil that has been put through a super heated treatment. And, as part of this treatment, chemical additives get added to this natural oil.
Those chemical additives turn Linseed oil from a slow drying oil into a refined fast-drying version of its former self.
So, Can You Use Walnut Oil Instead Of Linseed Oil As A Wood Finish?
Absolutely. Walnut will cure into a hard resin coat just like Linseed oil. And it will give wood a satin finish once cured.
Better yet, this clear finish won’t yellow as it ages.
Does Walnut Oil Darken Wood? Walnut oil is a clear finish, (similar to Tung oil), and it doesn’t darken wood.
But, Doesn’t Walnut Oil Spontaneously Combust (Just Like Linseed Oil)?
Well, Walnut oil is not classed as a flammable oil at all. So, it won’t spontaneously combust like Linseed oil can. And here’s why…
Certain oily liquids can go through a chemical reactive process called oxidation. This is a chemical reaction to oxygen that creates a burst of energy in the form of extreme heat.
That heat – combined with the flammable liquid itself – can result in spontaneous combustion.
Now, there are numerous oils that have this ever present oxidation risk. And one such oil is Linseed oil. But, not all oils are what we call ‘flammable’.
You see, most any oily liquid will burn if you heat it up to the right temperature. And that right temperature is what we refer to as an oils ‘flashpoint‘.
However, flammable oils have a flashpoint that falls within a very specific temperature range.
Oil Flashpoints (And Why It Matters For Fire Safety)
A flammable oil is any oil capable of sparking up at a temperature of 200°F (93.3°C) or less. What’s more, these oils are not only classed as flammable, but they also present a high-risk for spontaneous combustion.
Linseed oils flashpoint is 93°C (200°F), making this a flammable oil. Which is why you need to be so careful when disposing of Linseed oil soaked rags.
However, Walnut oils flashpoint is much higher, clocking in at 160°C (320°F). This puts Walnut oil well above the flammable liquid temperature limit.
And that is why this wood finish does not run the risk of spontaneous combustion.
To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Main Takeaways…
- 1). Heat treated Walnut oil is a clear drying oil that will cure and harden.
- 2). Walnut wood won’t darken wood, (neither will it yellow over time), like a Linseed oil finish.
- 3). And, unlike Linseed oil, Walnut oil does not come with the added risk of spontaneous combustion.