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Pick the right finish. Tung oil and linseed are examples of oil finishes that cure, or dry completely. The natural finish helps showcase details like specialty hardware. Finishes that don't cure leave a sticky surface.
Note: Oil finishes don't protect from water damage the way a polyurethane sealer does. Use oil finishes on pieces that won't have to stand up to wet glasses or other moisture sources.
If the piece is already finished, strip off the old finish. Like a stain, natural oil finishes need to penetrate the wood. Putting a natural oil on painted or sealed furniture just makes for oily furniture.
Sand the piece to remove any rough edges or splinters and use a tack cloth to remove any dust. Use a clean, dry rag to apply the oil to the wood.
Let the oil dry about 10 to 15 minutes, then sand lightly and apply another coat. For a polished look, apply four or five coats of oil, sanding between each coat.
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