Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Using Olive Oil as a Wood Treatment

You can use any number or propriety oils, waxes or polishes for treating wood but I like using olive oil. Olive oil is something you can easily get a hold of, I always have some around the house for cooking anyway. It isn't sticky or smelly and it is safe to use with kids and animals around - in fact, give young children a clean paint brush and they can help.

I use a mixture of olive oil and essential oils.... olive oil on it's own will work but the essential oils add a bit of smelly loveliness and a boost to the antibacterial qualities (and all that stuff)

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Essential Oils (I suggest lemon, orange, tee tree or eucalyptus - pick 2 that you like and go for it)
  • a small bowl
  • 2 clean dry cloths (old socks or t-shirt rags would be just as good)

Pour some olive oil into the bowl and splash in some EOs (For every cup of olive oil use 30-40 drops of EO)

Fold up one of your clean cloths and dip the end of it in the oil, working with the grain of the wood, use long smooth strokes to rub the oil onto the wood, rub back and forth till you may see the wood absorb the oil. Work the oil into crevices, nooks and crannies - Ensure there is no drips or gloops of oil sitting on the surface of the wood.

Leave for 10 mins and wipe over with your second cloth, there should be no oil left on the surface once you have finished. On previously treated surfaces you should use this second cloth to buff or shine the surface.
Untreated wood will need 2 or 3 coats to become nicely fed, basically until you notice the wood stops absorbing the oil so quickly.

Olive oil treatment will not damage your wood, it will feed and nourish the wood and bring out it's natural shine.... but, you might want to limit your use of the oil, as, just like any wax or polish they can make the surface difficult to paint or varnish in the future... will be fine to use it every year or so.

Depending on the area you have that needs treated you might only need a small amount, since I am working on doors I need to make up quite a bit at a time. You can also make it up in a wee bottle, labeled carefully for future use.

This oil can be used to treat all kinds of wooden surfaces. Chairs, tables, worktops, bookcases, storage boxes and even wicker baskets. You can use it sparingly on varnished surfaces, just as you would any polish. If you are treating wooden spoons and chopping boards I suggest using olive oil on it's own to avoid tainting the surface with a strange smell or flavour.

I haven't yet looked into using olive oil on floors I wouldn't currently recommend it, I doubt it would do any damage, but I am just not sure it is really suitable for the job.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Any old bog standard olive oil (I found some out of date oil at the back of a cupboard, so that'll do nicely)
  • Essential oils - I buy mine in bulk online from Summer Naturals you will find a selection at any decent healthcare shop.
  • My cloths are dishcloths from the local hardware shop
  • The doors are the original 1890s doors in my Brother's tenement house in Glasgow.
using olive oil as a wood treatment - our handmade home

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