Danish Oil And Tung Oil – What Are The Differences?

Wood oil provides a water barrier for wood fences to reduce dirt and make wood easy to clean and maintain. With the protection and water-proofing capability, wood oil is the ideal choice for the maintenance and protection of commonly used wood furniture.

Danish Oil And Tung Oil – What Are The Differences?

Danish Oil And Tung Oil – What Are The Differences?

Danish oil and Tung oil – What Are The Differences?

People use types of glossing oil for wood surfaces where are threatened with fluids. Polyurethane, Danish oil, Tung oil or spray lacquer are the best tools for our projects. Let’s read now to see the difference between Danish oil and Tung oil.

At first, what is Danish oil and Tung oil?

Tung oil is the name coming from the Tung tree’s nuts. This type of tree which is routed from China’ legends and applied from furniture in royal families to the Great Wall of China. “Tung” means the heart which is the leave shape of the Tung Tree. Tung oil is best used for indoor furniture to make the surface of furniture to be glossier and warmer.

Danish oil is not pure oil; it is a mixture of Tung oil, varnish, linseed oil, and mineral spirits. Its name appeared the second half of the 20th century when many companies in Europe produced Danish oil from various kinds of ingredients.

A type of Danish oil

A type of Danish oil. Source: woodmagazine.com

What is Danish oil and Tung oil made of?

Tung oil is made of nuts of the Tung tree which is entirely natural while Danish oil is the combination of many ingredients like linseed oil, mineral spirit, and even Tung oil.

What are the uses of Danish oil and Tung oil?

Danish oil can provide the furniture surface a good water resistance layer which can be considered as the primer on the wood surface. We can use Danish oil before applying paint or varnish. Tung oil is used in various applications from the sails, masts to indoor furniture.

With various ingredients of the composition, Is Danish oil safe?

The answer is “No, it’s not safe” It can become the protective oil if we apply correctly.  Manufacturers can put many types of other toxins into Danish oil, and we can see that in the race to produce a cheap industrial primer coating, increase amounts of toxic ingredients included. Thus, Danish oil should be labeled with a hazardous chemical.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Danish oil and Tung oil?

Advantages of Tung Oil
  • Water resistant capability
  • Natural, nontoxic
  • Ease for application
  • Durable color.
Disadvantages of Tung Oil
  • Long drying time
  • Short preservation time after purchasing
  • Mix with turpentine for infiltration enhancement into the surface of the wood
  • Easy for damage due to temperature changes
A surface of the wood with Tung oil application

A surface of the wood with Tung oil application. Source: twofeetfirst.net

Advantages of Danish Oil
  • Easy for various application
  • Provide water-proofing layer
  • Fast drying time and low odor
  • Good penetration into the product’s surface
Disadvantages of Danish Oil
  • Less durability and need many touch-ups or re-applications

So, in each time of application, how many coats of Danish oil do I need?

Obviously, before applying Danish oil, you shall have to do surface preparation work which includes surface cleaning, apply thinner to create adhesiveness, apply the thinner to improve penetration of the wood. At least 3 coats of Danish oil are enough for wood surface protection.

How about Danish oil and Teak oil?

Teak oil is used to preserve the natural properties of wood. Teak oil penetrates deeply into wooden furniture to protect it from mold because it is resistant to water. Danish oil is also used to handle different types of wood. It is safe to use indoors as well as outdoors.  Danish oil has more applications than Teak oil

How about Teak oil and Linseed oil?

Teak oil requires less time for drying than linseed oil. Besides, it is more regularly applied in both indoor and outdoor objects while linseed oil is not recommended for outdoor uses. Thus, Teak oil is more expensive than linseed oil.

How about Tung oil and Teak oil?

Teak oil is just a name, not a special formula. Although Teak oil is made up of a variety of oils and additives, teak oil is better and is usually more expensive than Tung oil.

Tung oil and Danish oil, which offer better finish of wood on outdoor furniture?

Due to less toxicity and ease-to evaporation, Tung oil is now more and more popular. Firstly, it is natural or “green” when it is dry. Second, the result is tough to achieve but easy to fix. This is why it is used both on the floor and also on the boat deck.

Tung oil is often diluted with hydrocarbon diluents to keep the memory very low and allow the oil to penetrate the finest wood pellets. This compound evaporates within 15 to 20 minutes and results in a completely green finish. As mentioned above, when applied in more smooth coatings/thinner wood, the Tung oil slowly cures a “wet wood” type that looks pale yellow.

Waterproofing is better than Danish oil and does not make it noticeable with age and is thought to be less susceptible to mold.

Is it possible to put Danish oil over stain?

Applying Danish oil over stain is possible. As we know, stains are pigments suspended in the liquid that keeps color molecules on the wood when it dries. You can use Danish oil over oil stains, but not gel stains, water-based stains or stains with a coat.

>>> Read also: How to fix a bad stain job?

The reason is Danish oil will penetrate the wood through the stain. You have to ensure that the stain is well applied and dried before you use the oil. Danish oil could pull off some stain causing it to be unevenly dyed. However, the procedure will make the stain to turn to a different color from the origin.

If you happen to use water-based stain according to the type of wood, it’s best to choose Aniline stains available in powder form. It has more vibrant colors to bind with the wood base results in the pigments can remain better.

The new coat of oil will freshen up the old, but you shouldn’t expect it to change the color. That is the reason why it is worthless to apply light-colored Danish oil over the dark stain.

When you use Watco, you have to wipe the surface of the project down to remove any excess after applying it. You can rub down the pieces though it leaves no harm of leaving the excess oil on the surface; unless you want to be perfectly sleek.

Remember to pay attention that if you stained to your desired color, you are risking of the oil to dilute that color as well as interfere with the drying process.

Besides, oil would not penetrate over stain; it takes longer to dry. The way to solve is to put many thin coats in multiple times and wait for it to thoroughly dry.

I would recommend practicing on a piece of scrap wood to make sure you will get the finish you want.


When applying a varnish, you should also take note of protective clothing because the varnish product may cause irritation and allergic reactions to the hands. Varnish paints can cause long-lasting damage to the aquatic environment or aquatic organisms, so keep in mind that only use the product in a well-ventilated area and be sure not to dispose of in the environment.

All types of finish oil have their strengths and weakness. Hope that after this article, you shall decide to choose what type of finish oil to be applied fast and easily. Make the question yourself and consider choosing. Additional, the property of environment-friendliness is also necessary to put into your consideration if you work with these types of oil in a long time.