Watco Danish vs. Tru Oil – What’s the Better Deal?

Difference between danish and tru oil

Watco Danish oil and Tru-Oil have been my finishing choice for my acoustic guitars for decades. Both of them are the perfect blend of beauty and protection.

While leaving behind a beautiful satin finish, they bring out the natural wood grain and provide a hard surface that will help to protect the instrument for years to come.

I have always been happy with the results I get from either of them, but there is a difference between these two products for which we are here.

And that is – unlike danish oil, which takes around 5-6 hours to dry, Tru oil wood finish can dry in about 2 hours or even less.

Furthermore, not only is it tougher and more durable than Danish oil, but it also doesn’t yellow with age.

But is Tru oil, in fact, a suitable alternative to true Danish oil?

Let’s compare and contrast the two most popular wood finishes:

Tru oil and Danish oil- so that you can make the best decision for your next project!

Tru OilDanish Oil
Drying Time:2-4 hours4-8 hours
Curing Time:7-14 days, depending on the environment3-30 days, depending on the environment
Made Of:Linseed and/or Tung Oil, Oil Varnish, and Mineral Paint ThinnersLinseed and/or Tung Oil, Oil Varnish, and Mineral Spirits
Wood Penetration:Not as deep as the Danish oilDeeply penetrates the wood and hence better protection
Durability:More durable, faster, and easier to applyLess durable and will take more time to apply

Is Tru Oil a Good Finish?

Yes, Tru Oil is easy to apply and leaves behind a glossy finish, making it ideal for finishing Guitars, Banjos, Drums, and many other home wood surfaces.

Tru oil is a flammable liquid that combines natural oils and other additives.

The reason it gives the wood a beautiful glossy finish is that it builds up a film on the surface of the wood (unlike Danish oil).

Even though it penetrates slightly less deeply than Danish oil, Tru oil is still easy to wipe on with a rag because of the added mineral paint thinner.

That said, Tru oil dries faster and is relatively more durable than Danish oil finishes.

It’s also easier to apply than Danish oil, which usually requires a brush to coat the timber surface evenly.

The only drawback I can find of Tru Oil is it will require more coats to achieve the desired finish.

Depending on the type of wood and its condition, you may have to apply up to 12 to 15 coats, making the glossier wood finish look less natural compared to Watco Danish oil.

Is Watco Danish Oil a Good Finish?

Not only the musical instruments, but Watco Danish oil is also an excellent wood finish for any kind of woodworking project, be it small or big.

This means you can use it to finish cabinets, paneling, furniture with grooves, carving, ridges, etc.

Not to mention, this oil is food safe and non-toxic once it dries and cures. So feel free to use it on wooden kitchen tools, like butcher blocks, bowls, and spoons.

Danish oil penetrates deeply into the wood grain, which leaves a natural-looking finish that doesn’t require many coats.

Danish oil is usually applied with a bristle brush, but you can also use a lint-free cloth. The oil must be applied evenly to avoid an uneven finish.

With only 4-5 coats of the oil finish, it can provide excellent internal protection to the wood.

The drawback that comes with Danish oil is it’s not very effective for finishing large surfaces such as tables, chairs, floors, etc.

It takes more time to apply and dry. Plus, it’s less durable and high on maintenance.

Also, Danish oil will become a little yellow if a lot of sunshine hits it.

The discoloration isn’t as bad as that produced by, say, an old pure Linseed oil finish. However, it’s visible.

Is Watco Danish Oil or Tru Oil Waterproof?

No, both of them are not waterproof, but they are excellent at resisting moisture and water.

Well, if you wonder what’s the difference – it’s simple.

Water-resistant generally means that the oil will make it harder for water droplets to penetrate the wood.

On the other hand, waterproofing would indicate that the oil can act as a complete barrier, preventing all water from getting through.

So, if you’re looking for a product to use in an area where there is a lot of moisture or you are worried about water damage, you should choose something more resistant to water or completely waterproof – like a Polyurethane or Lacquer sealant.

So – Danish Oil or Tru Oil – What’s Better for My Project?

Well, in my opinion – Danish oil can be best used on wood pieces that won’t experience a lot of wear and tear, as it protects against heat damage, scratches, and dents.

But if you’re going for a glossy finish, Tru oils will give you the results you want more quickly and with less effort.

However, Danish oil is the better option if you prefer a natural-looking wooden surface – even though it takes more time to apply.

In the end, weigh your options and decide what suits your woodworking project best.

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