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Step Up your Finishing Skills with Odie's Oil

Odie's Oil finishing products are available from Infinity Cutting Tools in a convenient finishing kit (115-415)

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Odie's Oil. (Check out my earlier article here.) When fellow woodworkers see my projects I get a lot of questions about how I get the finish I do. These questions range from durability, to application, to prep work. I have used Odie's Oil on everything from guitars to solid wood floors with great success. In fact Odie's is my go-to finish for all my instruments. If you have been looking for a finish that makes it easy to achieve great results, Odie's Oil is what you've been looking for. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the finish and how to get the most out of it.

IMG_1453 Using a sanding block and taking your time is the key to a high-quality finish.

How far should I sand?
This is the ever present question, and I tell people the more you put in the more you will get out of the finish. IMG_1447I think 600-grit is the sweet spot for most projects. Something happens at 600-grit and the wood just comes alive. I know 600-grit sounds crazy but hang in there and let me explain. All the hard work in sanding is done once you get past 180- or 220-grit. After that, all you have to do is get out minor scratches left by the previous grit. This doesn't take as long as the coarser grits and really brings your project to the next level.

IMG_1455 Sanding to 2000 grit is not necessary on many projects, but if you have never tried it, you are missing out on a lot of subtle figure in the wood you are using. For me seeing the wood come alive makes all the sanding worth while.

Don't skip grits! And don't get in a hurry. If you were using a film finish like poly, lacquer, varnish, or shellac you would have to block-sand the finish then buff it out. This is messy and much less enjoyable than sanding bare wood, in my opinion. As always, sanding blocks are your friend. Don't round over those nice crisp details you worked so hard to make. On Instruments I sand to 1500- or even 2500-grit. Sanding to these high grits doesn't take as much time as you might think.

IMG_1473 I get asked all the time if you can get a high gloss finish with Odie's Oil. I will let the photograph speak for itself.

The magazines say not to sand past 220
Okay, that's not a question, but Odie's has no problem soaking into the wood when sanded with high grits. Film finishes need a rough surface because they don't actually stick to the wood, they sit on top of it and bite into the rough surface. In other words, they need a mechanical bond in order not to peel off. The problem with this is that the sanding scratches can hide a lot of subtle figure and beauty in the wood. Having the wood polished means you can see the true beauty of the wood. All of the subtle colors and figure really pops!

What Level Gloss can I expect?
Can I really get a high gloss with Odie's?  My answer to this depends on what you consider high gloss. Sanding to 1500, 2000, or even 2500-grit can result in a mirror finish. I consider this a high gloss, however it does look different than a film of lacquer or varnish. With Odie's Oil the finish does not hide the wood under a film. It protects and nourishes the wood. A film finish looks like a layer of glass or plastic on the surface. Odie's Oil does not — it simply looks more natural.

How Durable is Odie's Oil?
As I said earlier, I have used Odie's on everything from wide-plank wood floors to guitars. The finish is very durable.It doesn't show scratches as a lacquer might, and if the finish does become damaged, it is easily repaired with a spot application of more oil. Simply rub it on and buff it out. The finish is becoming more and more popular in restaurants on tables and wood bar tops because it is so easy to touch up. Anyone can do it.

How Many Coats do I need?
This is a tough question and it depends on a lot of factors. What look do you want? How glossy? Which product are you using? There are 3 main products in the Odie's Oil line; oil, butter, and wax. I use all three, depending on the project. If you sand all the way to 2000-grit or higher, you don't need anything more than oilbut the butter and wax can add additional protection and sheen in fewer coats.  If you stop around 600-grit, the butter and wax can also help you build the sheen that would take many coats with just the oil. You simply need to understand each product. The oil product is mostly oil with a little wax. The wood butter is a 50/50 blend of oil and wax. And the wax is well, mostly wax. This may be a little over-simplified but you get the idea. The oil penetrates the wood, the butter lays a good wax foundation and finishes off the wood's ability to soak up oil. The wax tops it all off and gives you a nice, hard, protective wax surface.

Here is my challenge to you all, on your next small or medium-sized project, Pic Up an assortment pack of our Mirka Wet/Dry Sandpaper and take the time to sand your project through the finer grits. Try some Odie's Oil and enjoy the results. I think you will be able to bring your projects to the next level with ease

IMG_1576 I would consider this a pretty High Gloss, I will let you decide for yourself.


4 thoughts on “Step Up your Finishing Skills with Odie's Oil”

  • david kot

    Any long-term problems with this product on kitchen counter tops?

    • Randy Maxey

      David, Since Odie's Oil Finish doesn't build up a thick film it's not as durable as an epoxy or polyurethane finish. However, it's easier to touch up worn or scratched areas by sanding with fine sandpaper and re-applying the finish.

  • Frank

    Has anyone used this product to finish kitchen cutting boards ?

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