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Odysseus Cornwall‘s Outstanding Oils & Waxes, a.k.a. Odie's Oil

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By Andrew Gibson from Sideways Eight Guitars and Ukeleles

Very rarely does a product come along that stands up to the hype, but I think Odie’s oil does. The Odie’s Oil Wood Finishing Kit, (item # 115-415) is an Oil and wax finishing system comprised of 4 products (the Oil, Wood Butter, Wax, and Solvent) that can be used individually or together to produce a beautiful hand rubbed look. The finish is a mix of oil and wax that is rubbed on and buffed off. It really is that simple.The Odie's Oil finishes are a durable, non-toxic, easy to apply finish that when applied properly create a beautiful natural luster oil finish very similar to a danish oil with an added protective wax finish.  I'm going to walk you through my ways of applying the different types to get superior results for your finishing process.

IMG_9945 The Odie's Oil line of products produce a beautiful finish that can be customized to give you the exact results you are looking for.

Material Preparation 
If you want to get the best result out of Odie’s, your prep work is going to have to be on point. Just like any other finish your sanding will dictate how your project will turn out. Because Odie’s is an oil finish, it is not going to hide scratches or machine marks by burying them under a layer of varnish.  Start with a grit of sand paper that will get your machine marks out and then work up in grit without skipping grits. I typically start with either 80 or 120 grit and work up. For a low gloss satin finish sanding to 220 should work, but if you really want to pump up the gloss level keep sanding. On my instruments I typically sand to 400 or even 600 grit. I recently worked on a table that was sanded to 1200 grit and the resulting finish was simply amazing. Don’t be afraid to sand up to these high grits, the oil will penetrate into the fibers of the wood where film finishes may have trouble adhering to the surface. Higher sheen can be achieved without sanding to super high grits but you will need more coats to get there. At the end of the day, if you want a higher gloss level, I find it’s easier to just sand up and then finish, not to mention you use less finish. In my experience sand paper is cheaper than wood finish and I'm all for saving a little money when I can.

Applying Odie’s Oil
Now that we have done the hard work, it’s time to apply the finish. The Odie's Oil is the main product in the finish line and the one you will probably use the most.  Remember that a little Odies Oil goes a long way, so use sparingly, you can always add more. My favorite way to apply Odie's Oil is to use a piece of fine scotch bright, either gray or white depending on how far I sanded. I will rub the oil into the wood in a circular motion spending time to work the oil into the pores of the wood. When I’m done I want very little if any finish sitting on the surface, this only takes a few minutes.  I find this process to be enjoyable because I can watch the beauty of the wood come to life and the citrus based finish smells good to boot.  Once the finish has been worked in, simply let it sit for about an hour then buff off any remaining finish. This can be done by hand with a rag, a piece of white scotch bright, or for my power tool hungry friends a buffer with a cotton pad. Your goal is to remove all the remaining oil from the surface. Now simply let dry for 12 to 24 hours and repeat as desired, I typically like 2 coats.

Still 1 With Odie's oil a very little bit goes a long way, use sparingly and add more as needed.

still2 Apply using steel wool, Scotch Brite pads, or even your finger. Work into the surface of the wood, let stand for a bit, then buff out.

Applying Odie’s Wood Butter.
The Odie's Wood Butter is applied in the same manner as the oil. The difference being that the Wood Butter has more wax in it and will help you build a higher sheen faster. Simply rub the wood butter into the surface just like with the oil and buff it off. Just to repeat, use sparingly, a little goes a long way and you don’t want to spend a bunch of time buffing excess wax off of your project. Use one coat or more, it really depends on the look you are going for. I find two coats typically do the trick, especially if I have already done two coats of Oil. Remember, I am typically finishing an instrument like a guitar or ukulele, so one coat may be all you need or want.

still3 Apply the wood butter in the same manner as the oil, see above for instructions.

Applying Odie’s Wax.
The Odie's Wax is a very high quality finishing wax, it is used to put that final shine on your piece and provide a high luster wax sheen. Again we channel Mr. Miyagi and simply wax on and wax off. I like to let the final coat dry for a couple days, and then do my final buffing. To clarify, I buff off the surface after an hour then after a couple days I buff the surface one more time and call the project complete.

still4 Make sure to buff out the finish for best results. I buff the Wax twice after applying, once after an hour and then again after two days.

How about that Safer Solvent?
The Odie's Safer Solvent is a replacement for harsher solvents like mineral Spirits. Like all of Odie's finishes, it's non-toxic and smells good. But wait, there's more! If you take some oil and mix it 50/50 with the Safer Solvent you get a Super Penetrating Oil. Now you may think that you would use this first, but it’s actually best used last. Simply wipe it over your waxed surface and it will act as a final polish. It helps level out any remaining waxes in the surface and bring out that last little bit of shine.

IMG_9951That’s it! No fancy tricks, just work it in and buff it off. If that’s not enough, once you are comfortable with the individual components you can combine them to create your own perfect finish for your individual projects. Most popularly would be to combine oil and wood butter to create a step between the two products. This is a great step for woods like maple or exotics that aren’t as thirsty as other species of wood.

A final question you may have is how durable is Odie’s Oil Finish? Odie’s was originally designed to be a finish for wide plank wood floors, so I guess it would have to be durable. In my experience it is very durable. I have instruments that have been handled by literally hundreds of people over the course of a weekend and not even a fingerprint shows. So if you are looking for a finish that is easy to apply, is food safe, non-toxic, and smells good; I think you should give Odie’s Oil a try.

On any of the Odie's Oil products pages on the Infinity Tools website, there is a handy tips and tricks PDF available to help you out.

Andrew Gibson is a Florida based luthier and fine furniture builder over at Gibson Woodworking and Sideways Eight Guitars and Ukeleles.  Be sure to check out his amazing work over on his website.

Please visit the Infinity Tools website for more great products and information.

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