A 30-Minute Side Table Makeover With Danish Oil


Back in June of 2021, I gave this side table in our breakfast room (currently being used as a sitting room) a makeover by stripping the heavy factory finish from the table to expose the natural wood.

I had intended to give the whole thing a protective coat of my favorite clear coat, General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in a flat finish. But after almost two years, I had still never gotten around to giving this table a protective coat. So naturally, the unprotected raw wood top has shown signs of use and wear.

I’m actually glad that I never got around to putting a clear coat on this table because in the two years since I stripped the table, I’ve learned about two new-to-me products for wood — Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C in the color Pure, which is what I used on all of the walnut wood in our master bathroom, and Watco Danish Oil in dark walnut, which is what I used on my walnut WaterRower in the home gym. The Rubio Monocoat is a clear finish, and the Danish Oil in the dark walnut darkens the wood. I decided to give the Danish Oil a try on the table.

I’m not 100% sure what this wood is, although when I stripped the table in 2021, many people seemed convinced that the table is made of cherry. So I wasn’t expecting the color to be a deep and beautiful as it is on my walnut WaterRower. But I was pleasantly surprised with the color. Here’s a look at the front of the table before the Danish oil was applied…

And here’s the top drawer section and one leg with the Danish oil..

The whole process took me about 30 minutes. I applied the Danish oil with a paper towel, let it sit a few minutes, and then wiped off of the excess with another paper towel. It doesn’t get any easier than that! The oil gave the wood a beautiful medium brown finish. (Bonus points if you can find my cat in the picture below. 😀 )

I’m very pleased with how this turned out. And now Matt will be happy that the table top has some protection on it, so we won’t ruin the table completely. The color actually goes nicely with the wood blinds in the room.

The table top has one piece of wood that is considerably lighter than the rest in its natural color. It wasn’t so noticeable when the whole thing was a light color, but now that it’s all darker, that one light strip on the edge of the table top shows up even more. But I’m not bothered by it. That’s just the nature of finishing real wood. Not all of the pieces are going to take finish in the exact same way.

I’ve become a big fan of Danish oil and Rubio Monocoat for natural oiled finishes. There’s just such a natural beauty in an oiled finish as opposed to a polyurethane finish, and I find myself looking for more opportunities to use oiled finishes. I’m not sure how either of those would work on something like a dining table that gets regular use. When we are able to turn this room back into a breakfast room, and I can have a dining table in here again, I might be tempted to find a table that I can finish myself so that I can give one of these products a try on it.

People ask me on a regular basis what finish I would recommend for dining tables, and as of right now, the General Finishes High Performance Topcoat (which is a water-based polyurethane) is my favorite, hands down. But it would be good to find an alternative finish, and an oiled finish might be a good option. Hopefully Future Kristi will have an opportunity to find out! 😀



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