Failing where you thought you were best



Did you ever think there are things where noone can beat you? Where you will never fail? Where you exactly know what you are doing? I doubt that you are right, as I learned my lesson these days.

I have lots of experience in doing furniture finishings using linseed oil. If you do it right, you get silk-mat surfaces which resist most of the common conditions. It even resists many solvents and thus is superior to nitro lacquers. The only thing I know that it won’t resist is green tea with lemon juice :) .

From time to time, however, you might want to refresh the surface. That’s not a big deal at all. Use a solvent to remove dust and dirt from the surface. Then use a fine-grained sanding paper of a grit size of at least P180, better P220, and gently sand the existing finish. Remove the dust.

Mix linseed oil with turpentine in a ratio of 1:1. Apply the mixture with a brush. Wait for about half an hour. Then use a lint-free cloth to remove the rest of the material from the surface. Only a wee small film may remain (and take care about the cloth, as the oil in it made it pyrophoric; dry it outside or burn it in the fireplace).

This time something went wrong. The oil only dried partly. Other parts remained wet and further parts became sticky. Really a precarious situation.

I had, however, very good luck. I decided to use turpentine in the hope it will solve and remove the applied oil (and I was pretty sure it would not work). It was a painful job, but luckily (and surprisingly) I got almost all of the oil removed. The rest will hopefully dry as expected.

Frankly, I have no clue what went wrong. Maybe the linseed oil I used was too old. It resided in the cellar for several years now, so chances are given it got a cold or something like this. I will get some new tomorrow and try my luck again.