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Boiled Linseed Oil: What Is It and How to Use
Life and Style Daily
October 02, 2021
5 min

For any woodworker, it is essential to have a boiled linseed oil (BLO) in their hands as these can help you give proper treatment for your wood materials that give off a smooth surface. Aside from that, even though you are using old dried wood, just a few drops of the linseed oil is enough to give it a new touch.

Is this a new concept to you? Don’t worry, because we got your back! If you want to learn everything there is to know about BLO, then have a seat and enjoy the rest of this post.

What Is Linseed Oil?

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To begin, we must first understand what linseed oil is. Linseed oil or flaxseed oil has been a subject of interest, particularly among woodworkers and builders, since it becomes generally utilized as a wood finish.

This oil is derived from ripened flaxseeds and has maintained and protected the wood’s inside and exterior surfaces for nearly 100 years. Aside from that, it settles within the wood to saturate it, providing sufficient protection against scratches and alterations in wind pressure. After all, who wouldn’t want to utilize a simple product to use while also being environmentally friendly?

The product is also well-known for its environmentally beneficial characteristics since it is made from natural extraction from the plant on which it was derived, rather than from the use of toxic chemicals to protect your woodwork. As a result, you can smell a faint trace of grass while you apply it, and you will not have terrible headaches or be exposed to hazardous chemicals as you do so.

Types of Linseed Oil (Raw vs. Boiled vs. Polymerized)

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There are several types of linseed oil that you can use in your wood material, varying based on how it is produced. The three types of linseed oil are raw, boiled, and even polymerized.

Raw Linseed Oil

The first is raw linseed oil, obtained by pressing flaxseed. This linseed oil is given without any additions or preservatives.

Raw linseed oil has no chemicals and hence takes a long time to dry. Because of that, it gives a smoother, more even finish with no sign of brush strokes when applied to a surface that does not require rapid drying. It takes weeks for most users to see results.

Using raw linseed oils has the disadvantage of exposing other products to the elements. It also doesn’t appear to be used within wood gutters, sawhorses, or even chopping blocks.

Boiled Linseed Oil

Even though it is called “boiled,” BLO is not boiled. To speed up the drying process, solvents are added to the oil.

It is “boiled” because it behaves as if, which is excellent for preserving furniture, tool handles, and decks.

They have a better gloss than raw linseed oils. BLO dries faster and penetrates deeper than the original.

However, this product contains a chemical that might cause cancer and should not be used near food due to its potential health risks.

Polymerized Linseed Oil

Last but not least of the linseed type is the polymerized linseed oil. This oil provides a different approach than the two. Think of it as the double feature of the boiled type.

Polymerized Linseed Oil does not have oxygen that reaches up to 300°C (572°F). In this solution, you can see that it dries faster than the prior two because of its high temperature and viscosity. It initially doesn’t have any additives, but as time goes by, vendors apply them to make it dry faster and last longer.

What Can Linseed Oil Be Used For?

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Since we have been talking about the wonders it can do for your woodworks, let’s dive in a little further.

Linseed oil has different uses. It has a lot of association with wood polishing and even medicine.

It provided safety for wooden furniture and floors without any brush strokes if you chose raw linseed oil for years.

Common Uses of Linseed Oil

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It can perform things such as acting as the preservative that protects the wood, like cutting boards or bowls that need their shine. However, it is not advisable to apply BLO in those directly contacting food because of its chemicals. It’s safe to say that raw ones should suffice if you’re using linseed oil for this.

It gives off a clean surface finish which earned its reputation among woodworkers. Besides that, it can also enhance the color of your wood material as it has an additive feature that prolongs its life.

Moreover, you can also use it in metals as it provides an anti-rust agent and can sharpen the metal when you use it.

Does Linseed Oil Need To Be Boiled?

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No, the linseed oil does not necessarily have to be boiled just to be called a BLO. It only had its name as it acts as though the chemicals have gone through the boiling process.

What Does Boiled Linseed Oil Do for Wood?

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It gives coating and protection for the wood from the inside and the outside. It also gives a polishing finish and enhances the surface of the material used.

Pros & Cons of Linseed Oil as a Wood Finish

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Using the product, you will undoubtedly encounter some pros and cons. Here are some profound pros and cons:

Pros

  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly product. Raw linseed oils do not use any chemicals.
  • Gives maximum protection against humid air. Humid air can damage the wood, but if you use linseed oil, you can guarantee that it can reduce the damage it can receive.

Cons

  • After a while, it will require some re-oiling on an as-needed basis.
  • Despite its protection in the wood against humidity, the oil can bleed oil.

How to Use Boiled Linseed Oil on Wood

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Using BLO on wood is easy. You should wear gloves first before you dip the cloth or rag on BLO and wipe it on the surface of the wood.

But before having a complete application of the linseed oil, it is best to have it tested on a small portion or area of the wood first before you coat it thoroughly.

The next part will consist of waiting for the oil to take effect, which lasts for up to twenty-four and seventy-two hours to last.

When Should I Use Linseed Oil on Wood?

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You can use linseed oil on wood if you’re sure that you can wait for many hours. Some craftsmen do not advise using it outdoors, especially when it’s raining, because direct contact with water will affect the drying time and make the wood bleed instead.

Moreover, you can use it if you need to coat your wood with something that can make it last longer.

Does Linseed Oil Make Wood Waterproof?

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As stated above, it is not advisable to give the linseed oil-coated wood direct contact with water. The wood can still be vulnerable to water damage.

Does Boiled Linseed Oil Expire?

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No, BLO does not expire. However, it is essential to remember that the oils have a shelf life, and BLOs can thicken over time like regular oils. Because some chemicals are attached, it might become solid and let the impurities accumulate on the bottom.

Takeaway

Preserving your wood is possible if you’re opting for a natural solution and coating.

While the three types of linseed oil provide the same functions, they have different drying times and chemical compositions.

And if you’re looking for the best alternative to replace the chemicals found in your wood, linseed oils are the go-to.


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