View Full Version : Where to Buy Boiled Linseed Oil ???

August 25, 2010, 07:32 PM
I'm finishing a custom stock, and need to find some boiled linseed oil. I've looked all over Home Depot, and can't find any. Of course the clerk has no idea what it is. :p

Can someone give me some brand names of boiled linseed oil, and where I might be able to find it locally.


August 25, 2010, 07:48 PM
The last time I bought some was from an Ace Hardware store. Let your fingers do the walking. (call around)

August 25, 2010, 07:57 PM
Try a real paint store instead of HD.

August 25, 2010, 08:56 PM
Woodcraft carries it.

Ace Hardware carries their own brand as well.

Those are the ones pretty easy to find on a semi-local basis.

August 25, 2010, 09:37 PM
Sherwin Williams has it here. Sometimes has the raw too, but not usually.

Last time I bought the raw, it was at a drugstore.

August 25, 2010, 09:52 PM
Kind of like real Tung Oil (not Tung Oil finish) as opposed to BLO myself. Better product & better finish IMO.

Anyway, I'd try a real paint & hardware store, as mentioned earlier.



August 26, 2010, 01:22 AM
We have Ace Hardware here, but no Woodcraft.

For a raw Maple stock what would look better .... BLO or Tung Oil?

I have 2 quarts of pure tung oil left over from when I owned a ski boat. We would always have to rub the wood down when winterizing to give it a fresh coat.

August 26, 2010, 03:19 AM
The tung oil will give it a clean golden look and is more color-stable (if that’s a real term). The linseed oil will give a more yellowish look and will get darker with age. It kinda depends on your tastes and how much character the wood has, imo. I’d vote for tung oil on maple as a general rule .. mixed half & half with thinner for the first coat or two, reducing the thinner in successive coats … and keep coating and buffing until the color really comes out.
Personally, linseed oil has my vote on redder or brown woods, but I’m also one of those wierdos that like the raw instead of boiled … a deep satin glow is what I really like in an oil finish.

August 26, 2010, 08:31 AM
This stock has a lot of striping in it. It's not really a curly maple, but more like a tiger stripe. Make sense?

August 26, 2010, 09:34 AM
I'm old fashioned enough to think linseed oil looks best, but it is one of the worst moisture barriers and takes a water mark in a heartbeat. Not good for a rifle you actually might carry in the field. Tung oil is much better, but be prepared that it can take a month or two to apply, because it is slow to dry and it can take up to a dozen coats before the appearance maxes out.

As BruceM hinted, many finishes called tung oil finishes contain no tung oil. They just produce a finish that resembles tung oil. They are usually mostly polyurethane, and sometimes are a mix of polyurethane and linseed oil that overcomes the moisture barrier limitations of linseed oil. An example is Deft Danish Oil finish, which had a little linseed oil in it last time I looked. Watco Danish Oil has none.

All that said, the guns I use a lot, like match rifles, have Watco Danish Oil finishes. It looks well and is durable. At the suggestion of a cabinet maker, I apply three coats using 320, 400, and 600 grit wet/dry paper as the applicators, successively, following the directions to keep the stock wet with it (using a brush for post-application wetting) for about 20 minutes, then wiping off the excess and letting it dry a few hours; long enough for the next coat. I find 12 hour intervals are convenient to my schedule if I time it right, and that works. It forget what the directions call for on that timing. It penetrates the wood well and protects it well and I wind up with a non-glossy oiled-looking finish.

If you are interested in all the different finishes and what they are and are not good for and how you apply them, get a book called Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner. It covers the chemistry and properties of the different finishes and how best to apply them in good detail and with excellent color reproduction of sample photos. It's laid out so you can learn as much or as little as you want about each finish. I got my copy at Woodcraft (you can internet order it from them (http://www.woodcraft.com/Catalog/ProductPage.aspx?prodid=15504)), but check Amazon or Alibris, too. Sometimes you can get a used copy of a book in excellent condition for less money.

August 26, 2010, 12:24 PM
I'm finishing a custom stock, and need to find some boiled linseed oil
Look in an art supplies store.

While boiled linseed oil looks very nice, it takes a long time to dry. More common are the "oil finishes" like TruOil, LinSpeed, and a variety of other trade names that are a blend of boiled linseed oil and Japan dryers that accelerate the drying process (drying time goes from days to hours). Others, like Permalyn, ProOil, and others are polyurethane-modifed oil finishes that may or may not contain any boiled linseed oil, but look "kinda like" boiled linseed oil finishes. Same goes for tung oil or teak oil finishes, they may or may not actually have any tung or teak oil in them, they jsut look like that kind of finish. There are many polyurethane oil finishes that look quite nice on wood and give a good durable finish. Make sure whatever you choose is water resistant and solvent resistant.
This stock has a lot of striping in it. It's not really a curly maple, but more like a tiger stripe. Make sense?
It is commonly known as "fiddleback" maple, so called because it was used for (drumroll, please) making the backs (sound boards) of musical instruments. It has been called tiger maple, fiddleback maple, and sound wood. Figured wood is common in many varieties of hardwood, maple having a lot of different figure characteristics (curly, fiddleback, birds-eye, flame, quilted, crotch, etc). Figuring has many causes: it can be "scar tissue" for the tree (like birdseye), or an adaptation by the tree that increases flexibility (fiddleback, flame, quilting), or strengthens high-load areas (crotch), or is a reaction to stresses of different kinds (burl, wave), etc.

Figured wood sells for a premium, and the degree of visibility of the figure has a lot to do with how the wood is sawn, which is one reason the sawyer was one of the higher paid positions in a sawmill.

August 26, 2010, 03:45 PM
They have perfectly good BLO in 1-gallon cans (a lifetime supply) for about $6.00.
I like BLO because it never gets "too glossy" I find that satin sheen is about it for Linseed, but that Tung oil can end up so glossy you have to knock the edge off the finish.
I also like the warmth it gives light woods like this:
The stock is maple & the add-on cheekpiece is white Oak, if that matters at all.

August 26, 2010, 03:54 PM
Really hard to understand why you cannot find boiled linseed oil in your area. I bet there are at least six stores around here that carry it, including Ace, Lowe's, home Depot and Menards. Now, un-boiled is harder to find and a lot of woodworkers prefer that. Good luck and keep looking. ..... ;)

Be Safe !!!

August 26, 2010, 04:36 PM
A buddy of mine gave me a kit of Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil Stock Finishing stuff. I didn't want to take it at first, but he insisted since he had 10 of them. He said that the Tru-Oil would put a nice finish on the wood I am doing, but I'm not sure I want to use it before checking it out first.

What are your thoughts on these B-C Kits? I saw where Boyd's Custom Stocks uses it quite frequently, but I want some of your opinions on it. If not ... I'll go to Lowe's tonight, and pick up some Japan Dryer to mix in with my Tung Oil I already have on hand.

August 26, 2010, 05:00 PM
A buddy of mine gave me a kit of Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil Stock Finishing stuff. I didn't want to take it at first, but he insisted since he had 10 of them. He said that the Tru-Oil would put a nice finish on the wood I am doing, but I'm not sure I want to use it before checking it out first.

What are your thoughts on these B-C Kits? I saw where Boyd's Custom Stocks uses it quite frequently, but I want some of your opinions on it. If not ... I'll go to Lowe's tonight, and pick up some Japan Dryer to mix in with my Tung Oil I already have on hand.

Birchwood Casey leaves a glasslike finish that positively glows if you've put a good oil-based stain on and apply it correctly. It takes a while to set up, but if you make a mistake you just wait for it to dry and polish it back with steel wool. Oil stain is very forgiving too, they just take longer to dry. It takes quite a few coats to get a nice thick layer of Tru-Oil built up but it goes on a lot faster than linseed or toung.

That's my mosin, stripped, smoothed, brightened, stained with Varathane cabernet, and sealed with about 30 coats of Tru-oil.



imo it looks as good as any stock I've ever seen finished with tung or linseed oil, and it's more scratch resistant. It can dent however, but then I just fill it in with more tru-oil. You can make it a satin finish by buffing with steel wool (which you need to do between coats) but I like the glossy look.

August 26, 2010, 07:04 PM
Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil Stock Finishing stuff.
Great propduct and once you have finished it's application, you can tone down the sheen with 0000 steel wool of rubbing compound. This is what I use in most of my sporting stocks. I have stocks that I did 20+ years ago and they still look great after hard winter's use. I have even refinished pstol grips that wear like iron.

Be Safe !!!

August 26, 2010, 08:20 PM
What Pahoo said about Birchwood Casey.
I mostly do the raw linseed on old warhorse collector rifles ... Enfields, Garands and such … just because I like taking my time on them… and having braggin’ rights on the finish. Did one Garand too well and a guy offered me too much for it at a DCM match … still kicking myself over selling that one but I’d be kicking myself if I had turned down what he offered too … took a year and a half of messing with it every now and then to get that finish perfect. Patience and attention to detail are your greatest virtues if you’re doing it for yourself, imo.

Used BC stuff on a couple of my rifles and several friends’ things, and all turned out really good. Never got attached to any of them, though… or got any offers WAY above their value.

August 26, 2010, 08:24 PM
That Mosin is pretty! It's better than some of the red shellac jobs I've seen!

I know what I might do. I might try the Tru-Oil on an old piece of maple I have lying in the shop and see if I like the finish. If I like it ... I might as well use it. Right?

New development ..... I just got off of the phone with my buddy that gave me the kit. He said that if I didn't want to use it I could give it back, and take some of the Aquafortis Reagent ??? that he had. He said that he uses it a lot on his maple stocks, and it really brings out the character. He said that if I needed more I could buy it from Track of the Wolf. I looked it up here .... Aquafortis Reagent (http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categories/PartList.aspx?catID=5&subID=66&styleID=225), and it looks like some promising stuff.

Any opinions on that?

Sorry to be a pain .. I just want to make sure I get what I want before I put oil to stock if you know what I mean. ;)

August 26, 2010, 09:05 PM
When I did my finish on my .25-06 (http://www.myhostedpics.com/gallery.php?u=taylorce1&g=HTC-25-06) I used Minwax Antique Oil finish and a Minwax polyuerthane satin sealer I bought at Ace Hardware.


Please excuse the little bit of masking tape on the pistol grip.



I found Kevin Weaver of Weaver Rifles web site and read his building a custom rifle on a budget (http://www.customriflesandcartridges.com/25gibbs.htm). I followed his process of refinishing a stock when I did mine. Kevin is local to my area so I talkted to him about the process as well and he was the one that recommend the Minwax finishes to me, because the finish he used on his budget build is no longer available.

August 27, 2010, 01:36 AM
I looked it up here .... Aquafortis Reagent, and it looks like some promising stuff.
Any opinions on that?

Aquafortis darkens the wood quite a bit. It also is terribly hazardous in its original formulation (nitric acid, etc). I know BP purists swear by the stuff, but I never use it. For BP purists, I can do ammonia fuming and stain with tea, also a 17th Century technique.

It's nice to color figured maple just a bit, enough to emphasize the grain but not turn it into a dark blob. If you want to stain maple to bring out the grain, try some water based stain (look for it at a woodworkers store). I use MinWax Water Based (white can) American Walnut or Colonial Pine colors for staining light-colored sapwood on some European rifles.

For maple, I would try the English Oak color (golden tan), or if you want a darker hue use Rosewood (reddish brown), Colonial Pine (brown), or American Walnut color (greyish brown). Wipe it on, wait 30 seconds, wipe it off with a damp rag. This will emphasize the grain nicely, and darken the wood only slightly. If you want it darker. leave it on longer or wipe more on. In 3 minutes you can have maple looking like walnut, if that's what you want. Let it dry overnight, then sand lightly with 500 grit wet/dry paper. When you add finish it will darken it a bit more, so don't overdo it. Finish with your choice of finish to complete. I recommend you try it out on a piece of scrap wood before going after the stock.

August 27, 2010, 01:42 AM
Where can I get the 500 sandpaper? Last I checked, for a cabinet job, I had to order it, but then found out that auto parts stores sometimes carry it. I looked and couldn't find it.

August 27, 2010, 01:46 AM
Wow, that was quick!

Auto paint stores carry 500 grit wet/dry, as do machine tool suppliers and woodworking stores. Or you can order it from Online Industrial Supply ($35 minimum order).

August 27, 2010, 09:52 AM
OK ... thanks.

Thanks to all of your advice I feel confident enough to tackle this task with the knowledge to do it right.

Thanks again everyone.

August 27, 2010, 02:16 PM
Thanks to all of your advice I feel confident enough to tackle this task with the knowledge to do it right.

Good luck, the best way to learn this stuff is trying it out for yourself. I didn't know what I was doing when I refinished my Marlin 60 (first gun I ever refinished), and it still turned out pretty good.

And if it doesn't turn out like you want it to a little KleanStrip-x and some scrubbing and you'll be back to bare wood.

August 27, 2010, 03:56 PM
Tung Oil will dry, well dry. It gives better but not great water protection than either of the LO finishes and was the finish of first choice for US Military rifles. It will provide a finish of your choice from dull to satiny gloss. This is the product CMP recommends for restoring surplus M1 Garand stocks and it can be used to clean the stocks also.

To avoid drying problems, cut the Tung Oil with Mineral Spirits in a ration of 2:1 MS to TO. Apply in very thin coats and wait until completely dry before applying the next coat. Most times but not always, drying issues occur when a previous coat is not dry before applying another or all old grease, oil & cosmo was not completely removed before application of the TO.


August 27, 2010, 04:51 PM
BruceM ... If I’m not mistaken, the original finish of the Garands was raw linseed oil, and was changed to tung oil between WWII and Korea. Uncle Sam dipped them in a vat for a few minutes and pulled them out to drip/air dry. I’m pretty sure the old tech manuals specifically called for raw linseed to be used on the stocks, and that many of the tung oil rifles were refinished by Uncle (and troops) with linseed wipe-downs. I'm guessing the CMP recommends tung because it was a finish used on Garands by the US, gives better protection against water, requires less upkeep, more mold resistant, etc. Both linseed and tung would be "correct" US finishes, imo.

August 27, 2010, 06:42 PM
Actually, I think it was the other way around.


After further checking, BLO was first used.

August 27, 2010, 09:59 PM
The original finish Garand stocks I've stripped all have had some kind of heavily pigmented, reddish-brown dipped finish. It appears to be some kind of varnish, but I don't know how to analyze it. The coloring is opaque enough that you can't tell the difference between the walnut and later issued birch stock pieces until you strip them. The armorers mixed them up over the years. It took me awhile to come up with stain combinations that made the birch match the walnut before a conventional see-through oil or polyurethane finish was applied.

August 28, 2010, 10:49 AM
It’d be nice if someone would do a chemical analysis on that dark varnish looking stuff and publish the results. I’m almost convinced that it came from a combination of raw linseed oil reddening with age (boiled linseed doesn’t do that nearly as much), impurities in the vats or rubbed in as the original finish (either tung or linseed) was softened and penetrated by successive coats. Throw in oxidation, other chemical reactions, and hardening due to drying over years of storage ; and you might end up with something that looks like a tinted varnish. Still, I’m just guessing and going on the assumption that they didn’t use varnish because I haven’t found any reference to it being used ... and an old USMC armorer I knew insisted on the raw linseed, and regularly maintaining the finish. Also, relatives that used the things in the military all described wiping the stocks down as part of the maintenance… so I’m going by anecdotal evidence, mostly.
Imo … there’s also the possibility of armorers taking it on themselves to better seal the stocks for long-term storage and using varnish or something else.

One thing I’ve noticed with linseed is that the finish doesn’t really look right when you’re first "done", kinda empty or something imo. It takes using it, sweating all over it, getting it dirty, cleaning, touching it up, full wipe-downs, and a lot of attention over time to get it to really "come out"... and the stocks finished with the boiled linseed don't seem to do this as much as with the raw.

I wouldn’t recommend using it to anyone that didn’t actually enjoy finishing and maintaining a rifle as much as shooting it… especially since you can get the "right look" almost perfect with a combination modern products. Linseed is, objectively speaking, an inferior finish for a rifle stock if you’re looking for low maintenance or protection.

August 28, 2010, 12:03 PM
You guys go ahead and discuss this. I'm going to move on to another topic I need advice on.

THanks for all of the replies.

August 28, 2010, 12:19 PM
Hey ! ... how about a pic or 2 after you’re done and tell us how you did it…
Hope it turns out great… :)

August 28, 2010, 02:06 PM
Please refer to post #29, #32 & #34 in this thread.


I still feel that pure Tung Oil is superior to any variation of LO but it's just my opinion.



August 28, 2010, 04:05 PM
Bruce, I doubt we would really disagree much and it sounds to me like you "know your stuff" ... In performance as a sealant/protectant, I would fully agree with you, but say that polyurethane leaves all natural oils in the dust . As far as aesthetics, I agree with you as far as boiled linseed oil goes (and never use the stuff). To anyone considering boiled linseed, I would reccommend using tung instead.

When it comes to raw linseed, however, I class it as a different type of finish, that in a way … is never really "finished". The raw never fully dries because of its chemical structure and keeps a bit of tackiness that you rarely actually feel after it’s "dry" … until you’re holding it in hot sweaty hands. Boiled linseed oil has either been boiled or had chemicals added to alter it’s molecular structure so that it will completely dry, sort of like tung oil. I think the tackiness allows the raw to pick up impurities that can be aesthetically beneficial over time, "adding character" and hard to duplicate with dry finishes … if you’re willing to commit to a regimen of maintenance.
I also like the "tacky" feel better than getting "slippery" when shooting in hot, sweaty conditions.

Tung oil can make an absolutely beautiful low-maintenance finish that has some qualities superior to any other, imo. I see both raw linseed and polyurethane similarly, but simply as "different".

Of course this is just opinion too...;)

August 28, 2010, 06:36 PM