Linseed Oil Uses and Limitations

Linseed oil is a slow drying liquid with good preservative properties and water resistance. However, there are application issues and other related problems. It is extracted from the flax seed and is packaged in its natural state.

Linseed Oil Uses

Linseed oil is used to preserve wood and concrete, as an ingredient in paint, varnish and stains as well as soap and ink. It is also used in conjunction with mineral turpentine to aid penetration and speed up the drying process. This would be of great benefit to items that are constantly handled or walked on. Thus raw linseed oil can be mixed with turps or used on its own where drying time is of no concern.

Linseed Oil Uses (image: www.solventfreepaint.com)

Linseed Oil Uses (image: www.solventfreepaint.com)

Boiled Linseed Oil Uses

There is also boiled linseed oil, but it is not boiled literally. The added solvents assist the linseed oil to dry more rapidly as if it were boiled. One should rather use boiled linseed oil for decks and furniture but must follow correct application techniques. Boiled linseed oil can also be used as an additive to window putty that has not yet set. Putty that has begun to set or has gone hard will begin to form lumps if mixed with linseed oil. Boiled linseed oil can also be used on wooden window frames before glazing so that the wood does not absorb all the oil out of the putty – causing the putty to become cracked and loose.

Linseed Oil Limitations

Linseed oil must never be applied on too thickly, onto damp surfaces or in cold weather conditions. Apply thin, multiple coats onto a dry surface allowing sufficient drying in between coats. It offers no UV resistance, which destroys wood fibres and encourages mildew and fungus growth due to it being a natural food oil. It does not harden – offering no resistance to abrasion and is extremely difficult to remove.

Linseed Oil Disposal

Linseed oil dries through a chemical process called oxidation which releases heat. Never let rags and paper towels still wet or damp with linseed oil lie around in a pile or in a container. They have been know to ignite through spontaneous combustion! This goes for any other rags etc used with solvents. Rags should be stored under water in a metal container or washed before disposal.

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