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Q: Treating a butcher block workbench top ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Treating a butcher block workbench top
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: m0ng00se-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 01 Oct 2004 10:11 PDT
Expires: 31 Oct 2004 09:11 PST
Question ID: 408941
What's the best way(s) to protect AND color or darken a butcher block
workbench top? I know about the pariffin wax and mineral oil recipie
but since it doesn't have to be food-safe, is there anything more
permanent? What about boiled linseed oil (I just happen to have some)?
This is a 2-part question however a single answer will suffice if a
single treatment will preserve/protect and color or darken the butcher
Subject: Re: Treating a butcher block workbench top
Answered By: redhoss-ga on 02 Oct 2004 17:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello m0ng00se, I was hesitant to answer your question at first, but
maybe I can tell you what you need to know. I have used tung oil
myself several times and have been amazed at how beautiful it makes
the wood and how durable the surface becomes. Unlike varnish tung oil
does not build up a surface layer. Tung oil absorbs into the wood and
will not scratch or peel.,2037,DIY_13932_2275978,00.html

Q: I'm looking for a finish that's easy to apply. Do you have any suggestions? 

A: A versatile and easy-to-apply finish is tung oil, and it's been
used for centuries to beautify and protect wood. To apply tung oil,
simply pour a small amount into a shallow container (figure D) and
apply it with a brush, rag or foam pad (figure E).

Apply tung oil liberally, then wipe off the excess with a clean rag.
Tung oil penetrates into the pores and protects the wood from within.

Tung oil may darken the wood but unlike a stain, tung oil hardens
within the wood to offer protection.

Tung oil provides a rich, beautiful finish but the only disadvantage
of using it is that, since it is very thin, it must be applied in
multiple coats to be effective. About 3 coats of tung oil are required
to offer the same amount of protection as a single coat of
polyurethane. The good news is that tung oil is so easy to use and
dries so quickly, you can apply several coats in a day. With
polyurethane, you'll generally need to wait a day between coats.

REDHOSS COMMENT: My experience us that you can't put on too many
coats. It keeps penetrating into the wood and soon it looks like you
can stick your hand into the wood.

STAINING INFO: Tung oil naturally darkens any wood to some extent. I
don't understand your comment, "look like hell in no time if left as
is". I think that the natural beauty of the wood is great and the tung
oil should protect the finish. However, if you want to stain the hard
maple, I have found the following:

Mixing Stain and Pure Tung Oil 

You can also mix oil soluble aniline dye crystals with the Pure Tung
Oil. First mix the crystals to a very concentrated solution of solvent
(mineral spirits, Citrus Solvent) and crystals. Be sure all the
crystals are dissolved into the solvent. When they are dissolved add
to the Pure Tung Oil. This will make the oil tinted. You will not be
able to get the finish as dark as if you stained the wood itself but
this can add some color if you just want a little color.

Alcohol Stains

Anilines dissolved in alcohol are just too fast drying for large
applications such as floors. There can also be lapping problems
because of the speed at which the solvent evaporates.

The above methods will provide a clear transparent finish for your
floor. The results you see will be dramatic if you have only used over
the counter stains in the past.

Anilines are available from:

 Hard maple is also known as Sugar Maple and Black Maple. This wood is
extremely hard.

The sapwood of the hard maple is preferred for cabinets. It is dense,
close-grained, strong, smooth and predominately white in color,
although it may contain light hues of yellow-brown, pink, light tan,
or small dark mineral streaks.

The wood is generally straight-grained, but it may exhibit special
grain patterns (figure) that are also much sought after, including
"birdseye" (dots resembling the eyes of birds) "curly" (a tight wavy
pattern in the annual rings), and "blister figure" (resembles a 3
dimensional landscape).

Hard maple takes lighter stains well, but darker stains will exhibit
uneven levels of penetration. Hard maple is most often finished in a
light color or whitewashed.


J.E. Moser'sŪ Maple Aniline Dye Stain is a dry powder that is
dissolved to produce a stain of exceptional clarity, color and grain

Normally mixed in a concentration of one ounce of stain to one quart
of denatured alcohol; strain prior to use.
Not as light fast as water soluble aniline dye stain, yet non-grain
raising, quick drying and excellent for touch-up or repairs.
To create a tinting medium, dissolve in H. Behlen? Behkol Solvent
(847-858, 847-865) before adding to shellac.
Available in 1-, 4- and 8 oz. containers. 
Mix only what will be immediately used. 
Can be applied with brush, cloth, spray or dipping. 
Not for exterior use; for applications that receive strong direct
sunlight, use a topcoat with UV additives.
Additional shades as well as water and oil soluble aniline dyes available.

REDHOSS COMMENT: After reading this I don't know how dark you might
want to stain your wood. It does sound like the above stain will work
fine with tung oil and you can choose what darkness you desire. I have
not used stain with tung oil myself.

Good luck with your project, Redhoss

Request for Answer Clarification by m0ng00se-ga on 03 Oct 2004 08:14 PDT
Redhoss, Thanks for your very excellent answer which needs no
clarification. I will try tung oil on the bottom of the butcher block.
If it doesn't darken it to my satisfaction I will try some of those
aniline dye crystals. As regards to my comment about  the workbench
"looking like hell,"  I was referring to my tendency to spill stuff
(paint, etc.) on it and to do other bad things to my work bench. My
last one--which lasted 30 years and is made of a couple of 10-ft x
2"x12" slabs of redwood--looks like a very bad Jackson Pollack
painting. It would look even worse if it was light wood such as the
2-ft x 10-ft butcher block I will be using .

Clarification of Answer by redhoss-ga on 03 Oct 2004 16:35 PDT
m0ng00se, thanks for the tip and the explanation of "looking like
hell". I hope that you get many years of service from your new work
m0ng00se-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
The answer was right on target! Thanks, rehhoss.

Subject: Re: Treating a butcher block workbench top
From: redhoss-ga on 01 Oct 2004 10:53 PDT
I am not an expert, but I have had great results with tung oil. I found this also:

How your new wood butcher block is sealed initially is important. At
the time of installation, use tung oil to seal both the top surface
and the underneath surface. Use ample oil to soak in, and remove any
excess with a soft cloth. You may want to repeat the process once. Do
not use an oil such as mineral oil, which remains oily to the touch
and tends to collect dirt.

After the initial sealing with tung oil, use lemon oil periodically to
keep the wood sealed and protected from moisture. Once applied, wipe
the excess oil from the surface. Within a few hours lemon oil will
penetrate the wood and the surface will not remain oily to the touch.
Subject: Re: Treating a butcher block workbench top
From: m0ng00se-ga on 02 Oct 2004 08:36 PDT
Thanks redhoss, tung oil sounds like a good plan. It would be a
complete answer if you could tell me how to darken that very light
hard-maple which will look like hell in no time if left as is. Have
you actually used tung oil? Would it significantly darken the wood?
Or, any suggestions as to what would darken it and still be compatible
with the tung oil?
Subject: Re: Treating a butcher block workbench top
From: probonopublico-ga on 02 Oct 2004 09:48 PDT

Hi, there ...

Your other question has been locked because it included the word
G**gle, not because it's difficult.

You can tell Real Researchers from Mugs Like Me, because the names of
the Real Researchers (like redhoss-ga) appear in blue and are
underlined (hyperlinked) to a summary of their ratings.

Us MLMs (Mugs Like Me) appear in black.

From a Man in Black

All the Best
Subject: Re: Treating a butcher block workbench top
From: m0ng00se-ga on 02 Oct 2004 10:19 PDT
redhoss...I should have just asked you to begin with!

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