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Oak worktop treatment


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Just about to install the utility worktops. Solid oak butcher block from diy kitchens. Whats everybody used to seal it. Varnish or oil? Any brands recommend?

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A good Danish oil will do it.

 

Make sure to coat all sides (yes, underneath too) with a few coats of it. 

 

To use it, wipe on with clean cloth, sponge or brush, allow to penetrate for a minute or two and then wipe off excess. Allow to dry off and then repeat over next few days.

 

If you want to get a more "sealed" type of finish, where the pores of the grain become clogged, you can apply subsequent coats and rub into grain using wet / dry paper of around 360 / 400 grit paper, ensuring to rub "along" the grain direction. As before, wipe of excess and allow to dry. 

 

Just to add.....

 

Whatever you do with Danish oil, DO NOT LEAVE IT WET ON THE SURFACE.

 

You'll have no end of fun trying to rub it back to remove it, the surface will look patchy and feel like it's been coated in honey.

 

Edited by Makeitstop
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Warning. Never lay aluminium on an oak worktop. It goes black for a good mm into the wood

Oil hasn't stopped this happening.

Standing water is bad for it too.

 

To get ours back to normal required scraping for 2 days by a proper joiner,  and removal  & refit of sink.

Now there are round black circles from new damage.

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On 12/05/2022 at 20:52, saveasteading said:

Warning. Never lay aluminium on an oak worktop. It goes black for a good mm into the wood

Oil hasn't stopped this happening.

Standing water is bad for it too.

 

Does aluminium do that too? I thought it was steel/iron that left black marks on oak. I have had a couple of black circles where people have left tin cans (steel) standing on a damp worktop.

 

Anyway my experience with oak has been fairly good. I've got an 11 year old Ikea kitchen (put in myself) with Ikea oak "butcher block" worktop. I used the oil Ikea sell, which is called "Behandla" and is basically Danish oil I believe.

I took the time to give it three or four good coats with 24-48 hours between each when it was new. It still looked as good as new after 5 years or so, when I was being good about reoiling every year. Then we had kids and it got neglected a bit more, but sill looks OK.

 

The problem is when you do get an area of damage or staining (eg I found it can get a bit sticky, so you end up with print from bread bags etc transferring onto it). If you scrub it too hard to remove a stain, you end up lifting the oil off and getting an area that looks more like bare wood. I tried reoiling those bits but it never quite matches the original surface.

 

We are extending in a few weeks and the kitchen is being enlarged and replaced. I won't go for wood in the new kitchen - I think it's fine if you are careful and treat it well but I couldn't see it standing up to family life in the new kitchen. Shame as I do really like the look and feel of it.

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10 hours ago, saveasteading said:

I came across a tip that a rhubarb stalk removes the black stain. Acid on a handy fibrous stalk.  It did work perhaps 50% but did not get out the deeper stains.

Barkeeper's Friend also helps to fade those black stains - again it's the acid I think. Rub on with a gentle scourer, then leave it for a few minutes. Again though you do tend to then rub off the oil surface finish. The Danish oil leaves a sort of polymerised varnish-like surface, which ends up coming off if you rub too hard, leaving bare wood patches.

 

Where I had a big black ring on the wood (caused by my mother-in-law leaving an empty tomato tin next to the sink 👹) I ended up sanding it back, but I could never quite get the oil finish to match the original part in that area. That was a few years ago though, and I gave up being too precious about the worktops. They are wood, they are going to get used and acquire dents and marks.

 

Of course, if Mrs B would stop writing shopping lists with a biro on bits of paper on top of the worktop and leaving dents, it would help!

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