Tru-Oil and Watco Danish oil have been my finishing choices for decades to shine acoustic guitar, gun stock, and a few other wooden surfaces. 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 protective layer 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, Tru oil is tougher and more durable than Danish oil, and it doesn’t yellow with age.
But is Tru oil considered a suitable alternative to true Danish oil?
Let’s compare and contrast these two most popular wood finishes so that you can make the best decision for your next project.
|Tru Oil||Danish Oil|
|Drying Time:||2-4 hours||4-8 hours|
|Curing Time:||7-14 days, depending on the environment||3-30 days, depending on the environment|
|Made Of:||Linseed and/or Tung Oil, Urethane Varnish, and Mineral Paint Thinners||Linseed and/or Tung Oil, Oil Varnish, and Mineral Spirits|
|Wood Penetration:||Not as deep as the Danish oil||Deeply penetrates the wood and hence better protection|
|Durability:||More durable, faster, and easier to apply||Less durable and will take more time to apply|
|Coats Required:||Up to 12 to 15 for a good finish||4-5 coats of the oil finish will do the job|
Is Tru Oil a Good Finish?
Tru oil is a linseed-based oil product that is a blend of Linseed or Tung oil, urethane varnish, and paint thinners/mineral spirits. In simple terms, it’s a flammable liquid that combines natural oils and a few other additives.
Tru Oil is ideal for finishing guitars, banjos, drums, gun stock, and many other household wooden surfaces. Even though it penetrates slightly less deeply than Danish oil, it’s still easy to wipe on with a rag because of the added mineral paint thinner, which provides the build-up of a film on the surface with a beautiful glossy finish.
That said, Tru oil dries faster and is relatively more durable than Watco Danish oil finishes. It’s also easier to apply, which usually requires a rag or 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 an excellent wood finish for any kind of woodworking project, whether 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 doesn’t require many coats, and it penetrates deeply into the wood grain, which leaves a natural-looking finish.
It’s usually applied with a bristle brush, but you can also use a lint-free cloth. With only 4-5 coats of the oil finish, when applied evenly, 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., because 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 to a greater extent.
Well, if you wonder what’s the difference between waterproof and water-resistant – 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 with 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 – Watco 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 while providing a natural-looking surface.
But if you’re in need to get a glossy finish more quickly and with less effort, Tru Oil will give you the results you want.
But since you will usually need to put more coats with Tru Oil in the end, you should weigh your options and decide what suits your woodworking project best.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.