Spraying Oil Finishes

oiled-chairSo why would you use an oil finish? Many folks like the ‘close
to the wood’ look of thinner oil finishes, it’s just getting the final sheen even and clear.
One of the most prevalent questions/concerns is how to get the sheen of the finish even, especially satin sheens. The typical issue is that the sheen is streaked. The issue seems to be getting the flatteners to lie out evenly. Oil finishes go on very thin and when wiped they are super thin. The problem seems to be the flatteners just don’t have the ability to “flow out” evenly.

To understand, take a look at your car, most have metallic paint, meaning they have zillions of small polished metal flakes in the paint, to give it the sparkle. When spraying a car you have to concern yourself with being sure the metallic is laid out evenly. In the case of “other than gloss” the flatteners are much like the metallic in the paint and getting to lay out evenly can be a an issue. Many suggest you do base coats of gloss, then do a final one or 2 coats of satin, and it does help, but streaking can be an issue, My solution is simple “spray it”…..

Most would not even think of spraying an oil finish. The truth is it works quite well. The problem is that oils dry very slowly and are very thin so runs can be an issue if you try to apply the finish like a typical sprayed finish.
Here are the keys to getting a great sprayed oil finish.
1. Use good varnish oil that dries well. Pure oils dry excessively slow and are a not candidates for
2. Use a .08 or 1.0 needle/nozzle.
3. Cut the fluid down and turn the pressure up a little; you want to “mist” the finish on, especially
the first coat. Keep an eye on it and as soon as it “tacks” up do another slightly wetter coat but
again, you’re not looking for a full wet coat. Remember it’s going to dry much slower and it’s
going to flow more.