Oiled wood bowl made on a lathe

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Why am I soaking my products with wood oil instead of varnishing them? What is the difference between these two coatings during operation?

I’ll tell you everything now.

When I finish making a product on a lathe, be it a wooden bowl, a box, or a tray, I polish it very carefully, one might even say polish it.

For this I use 180 to 1200 grit sandpaper. This means that there are 1,200 grinding grains per square inch of paper.

Grinding is a rather time-consuming operation, but the result exceeds all expectations! The surface becomes smooth and pleasant to the touch.

After sanding, I saturate the product with a special wood oil, in several stages:

Covering with the first layer. This is a generous application of oil to the surface. After 20-30 minutes, the excess oil that has not been absorbed is removed and the product is wiped dry.

Polymerization of oil. After applying the first layer, it is necessary to wait a day for the oil to polymerize, that is, to harden.

Coating with a second layer. The oil is again applied to the surface, but not so abundantly. By analogy with the first layer, we wait 20-30 minutes, wipe dry and then leave for a day.

As a result, the oil saturates the surface of the wood without forming a film on it, and at the same time protects it from moisture.

What about varnish?

Before applying the varnish, the surface does not require as careful sanding as it is necessary when working with oil — the varnish is practically not absorbed into the wood, but forms a smooth protective layer on it, closing the pores of the wood.

So why not varnish your items?

The fact is that during the operation of the product, the varnish will certainly wear off and chip, especially at the corners. And it will be impossible to return the product to its previous appearance, unless you strip off all the varnish from the entire product and grind and coat it again.

But the oil cannot chip, since it does not form a layer on the surface. And in case of scuffs, you can re-coat the product (or only the damaged area) with oil, and it will regain its original appearance.

In this video, I show the process of coating a beech wood bowl with wood oil.

For me, this process is the most pleasant in the manufacture of a product, since the texture of the wood appears, the colors become saturated and the product takes on its final appearance.

Bowl dimensions: diameter 23 cm, height 5 cm.

A little about the tools I used:

The bowl was turned on a Jet JWL-1220 lathe.

We used a plan-washer supplied with the machine and a 4-jaw lathe chuck from the CK-3.75Z / S1 set for JET 59500061 woodworking machines.

Turning tools: from a set of turning tools (6 pcs; HSS) JET 19500118.

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