Flaxseed oil for wood: properties, uses and applications

Flaxseed oil is a natural product with many uses, not all of which are related to wood preservation, although this is its main use.

What is flaxseed oil?

Linseed oil is obtained by pressing flax seeds in a cold state.

What is linseed oil for? Well, roughly speaking, it is used to make products that protect wood from external influences. It can be said to be a natural, traditional and economic alternative to some varnishes and paints. It is similar in performance to azure or teak oil.

Its use is not limited to protecting wood, it is also used, for example, to create oil paintings that artists use in their paintings. Also for cleaning some materials such as porcelain stoneware or fired clay.

Flaxseed oil properties

  • It is a natural and sustainable product.

  • Due to its high iodine content, it is a drying product.

  • Adds color and shine to dark woods. On a light tree, it can turn yellow.

  • Waterproofing.

  • Protection.

  • Firewood impregnation. This prevents cracking and bending.

  • Unlike other products such as varnish, it does not create a layer that dries and hardens (crystallizes), but creates a protective film.

  • The price of flaxseed oil is low compared to other alternatives.

  • It can be used to add different shades to wood. They must be solvent dyes. Another common method of darkening the color is to mix it with Judaic bitumen.

  • Strong, although not harmful, odor.

  • Helps prevent attack by xylophagous insects.

Types of flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil can be bought or prepared in various forms or types to alter or improve some of its natural characteristics.

The most common types of flaxseed oil are raw, boiled, and those that contain desiccants.

The main difference between these three grades is drying time. Crude linseed oil takes a long time to dry, up to several days, depending on the wood and the environment. Whereas one that includes dryers can do it in a couple of hours.
Another advantage of cooked flaxseed oil over crude oil is that it provides greater resistance to fungi.


The use of flaxseed oil in wood is not limited to outdoor use only. It can be used indoors, although this is not common as the surface can be somewhat greasy.

Mainly used in doors and windows, ceilings, pergolas, fences, outdoor furniture, playgrounds, etc. Indoors, it is used in a rustic setting, mainly in beams.

When is flaxseed oil not a good idea?

In a tree that will be subject to constant friction, such as a platform.
On wood that has already been treated, for example, with varnish.
When we want to change the color of the tree. In this case, there are much more effective products.
In areas with intense sunlight, much more frequent refurbishment may be required as it does not always include UV filters.

Wood application

Applying linseed oil to wood is not much different from applying other products to this material.

Initially, you must prepare the wood by sanding and cleaning. There may not be any residues of other products.
Prepare the product for use. Here it will be necessary to comply with the manufacturer’s specifications, for example proportions if it is necessary to mix it with a product such as turpentine.

It is applied with a brush in thin layers, but also by those who apply it with a rag. Not only with this product, but with everyone else, it is recommended to do an invisible area test to see that the finish is desired.

At least 3 coats are recommended. Drying time is about 12 hours.

It is recommended to allow to dry at least 24 hours before the last coat.

It is recommended to renew the finish every year in temperate climates. Every two in cold climates.

If you want to thin, you can use turpentine. The approximate coverage area is 12 m2 per liter, although this is highly dependent on wood.

These data are estimates for pure linseed oil with built-in dryers (most common). However, you should always read the manufacturer’s specifications.

When the dryers are not turned on, linseed oil takes much longer to dry and the work can take a long time. It can also be found raw or cooked. In the latter case, it dries a little faster, although not as much as the one that comes with the blotter or is applied to it.

The advantage that linseed oil dries earlier is that you will be exposed to dirt or dust for less time on wood.

How to remove or eliminate flaxseed oil?

For some reason, such as wanting to apply some other type of finish, we may want to remove linseed oil from the surface of the wood.

The process is not complicated. We will be using a cloth soaked in turpentine. Thus, we will eliminate most of the oil. To finish the job, we can use sandpaper or steel wool to remove any impurities that may remain.

Where to buy flaxseed oil?

This is a fairly common product available at most hardware stores and DIY centers. Another problem might be that they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for.

It may be sold with blotting blots in a box, arguably the most common, but also the least natural and with some risk of inflammation. You can also find it clean and cooked.

Photo from the site m-strana.ru

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