Is Turpentine Oil Good to Use on Wood?

usage of turpentine oil

While it’s safe to use for removing paints and other finishes from wood, when applied directly to wood surfaces or left on for an extended time, turpentine will damage your furniture.

This is because undiluted turpentine (with caustic properties), when used directly on wood, harms the natural oils present in the wood, which dulls the color and shine of unfinished wood.

Applying turpentine to unfinished wood can only be done if you need to create a bleached and weathered look; however, using petroleum-based solvents designed explicitly for weathering look of the wood will allow you to achieve the same results without risking damage to the material.

So, it’s good to avoid using pure un-mixed turpentine oil altogether or mix it with linseed oil before using it on your wood surfaces.

Below in this guide, I will provide you with some incredible tips and advice on how to use turpentine to clean wood and as a finishing agent for wood by mixing it with linseed oil.

So, if you are looking forward to doing something similar, please stay with me till the end of the guide. I am sure you will find this guide helpful.

Turpentine Oil

Turpentine, a paint and finish stripping product, is a harsh solvent derived from pine wood chips.

To make turpentine, the chips are heated, and then the chemical is distilled.

While still available, it’s not as commonly used due to human health concerns of negative impacts from inhaling Turpentine fumes.

Uses of Turpentine Oil

If you want to remove paint from a wooden surface, turpentine is an ideal solution as it will soften the paint and allow you to easily wipe it away.

Additionally, because the paint acts as a barrier between the wood and turpentine, using turpentine in this way has minimal impact on wood surfaces.

Turpentine may also be used to soften painted or shellacked wood finishes and make them somewhat more manageable.

Turpentine can be used to remove varnish or shellac from wood surfaces, making it at least possible for some of the finish to be removed.

Because the surface being stripped keeps turpentine away from the wood, there is minor long-term damage caused by turpentine utilized on wooden surfaces for this purpose.

Though frequently used in the art industry, turpentine can also be mixed with paint to thin it out.

When diluted and combined with paint like this, it has a little negative impact on wood surfaces.

Still, due to humans’ health hazards of repeatedly coming into contact with turpentine fumes, mineral spirits are now essentially replacing turpentine as a thinner for paint applications.

Mixing and Using Linseed Oil and Turpentine

Here’s how to mix and use linseed oil and turpentine on wood…

Step 1- Prepare the Wood Surface

Before beginning this project, you must clean the wood of dirt, mold, and algae.

A product like a decking cleaner should do the trick if you plan to finish your deck surface.

Remember that you must use this treatment on untreated or unfinished wood. This means removing any paint or wax before applying the treatment.

The oil can’t penetrate the wood deeply if you don’t do so.

You may remove the paint or varnish with mild washing or can use a proper stripping chemical to get the job done.

After cleanup, the wood must be dry before moving on so that treatment can penetrate deeply.

Step 2- Mix Linseed Oil and Turpentine

It is known that adding solvents like turpentine to linseed oil will make it dry more quickly, making the product more useful.

But the key to getting the right finish here is properly mixing linseed oil with turpentine.

50% linseed oil mixed with 50% turpentine oil should give you the desired results in most cases.

But you can add a bit of extra turpentine if you want the mixture to dry more quickly when applied as a wood finish.

Step 3- Apply the mixture with a Brush or a Rag

After mixing linseed oil and turpentine, apply the mixture to the wood surface with a brush or a clean cloth.

Use a foam applicator if you have a large area to cover. But avoid using a roller as this may result in an uneven finish.

Step 4- Let the Finish Dry

Once you’ve applied the mixture, let it dry for at least 12 hours. But I think you should give it 24 hours to dry completely for a more durable finish.

Curing the finish might take a few extra hours, so ensure that the area is well-ventilated and you do not allow heavy foot traffic on the finished product for about 36 to 48 hours.

Apply a second coat after the first has completely dried if you want an even more durable finish.

How often should you treat your wood with linseed oil and turpentine?

It is determined by the type of wood you have. Generally, a good sign is to look at the wood’s condition.

If the natural beauty of your wood begins to fade, you may reapply it.

In most situations, you’ll need to apply it twice a year. If it’s not possible, simply do it every year.

Where to Use Wood Treatment with Turpentine and Linseed Oil?

As I mentioned before, it’s best to avoid using turpentine directly on the wood surface.

That said, linseed oil and turpentine mixed in the proper ratio have been used for hundreds of years to keep the inside and outside of any wood building in good shape.

Many choose this wood-protecting treatment (against weathering, UV damage splitting, warping, fungi, and mold growth) because it is easily accessible and environmentally friendly.

Additionally, the natural beauty of the wood isn’t hidden by this method, whether you use it on softwood or hardwood.

If you have outdoor treated wood surfaces like a deck, porch, stairs, or fences in your house, you need to protect and preserve them – this high-quality treatment can be best to use.

You can also use this linseed oil + turpentine wood treatment finish on smaller objects like birdhouses, garden sheds, or windowsills.

The mixture also works very well for handles of knives, tools, turned objects, etc.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, turpentine oil is suitable for wood when used as a cleaner or a wood finish.

It can help protect it from weathering, splitting, warping, and mold growth.

But it’s important to remember that you should always mix it with linseed oil in the proper ratio before applying it to the surface.

Additionally, you should let the finish dry for at least 12 hours before using the treated area.

With proper care, your treated wood surfaces can last for years.

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