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Boiled linseed oil smell

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Hugh, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Hugh

    Hugh

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    457
    Hi there Everyone,
    I have been making some items and I found that I really liked to soak the item in a container full of Boiled linseed oil. I add a little bit of Japan Dryer to the solution.

    Question: Is there anyway to get rid of the smell of the linseed oil?

    Thanks.
    Hugh
     
  2. Jake Debski

    Jake Debski

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
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    Location:
    Cowlesville,Western New York
    As long as the BLO is curing it will off gas, producing the odor. There can be considerable time between dry(to the touch) and cured. I don't have any suggestions on speedin up the process.
     
  3. Hugh:

    I assume by now that all of the solvents used to dissolve the oil have evaporated and you are left with the linseed oil itself in the wood. As Jake said, the odor will persist until the volatile compounds also found in the oil escape into the air.

    The curing of the so-called "drying" oils (linseed, tung, etc.) is based on cross-linking of the oil's fatty acids with oxygen "bridges" which eventually polymerize the oil into the dried finish. The "Japan dryer" helps increase the rate of these cross-linking reactions. Short of putting the piece in an atmosphere of higher oxygen levels, you might try to accelerate the cross-linking process by keeping the piece warm to help promote the cross-linking reactions. I don't think I would put it into an oven, however (the thought of a linseed scented roast is not very appealing!). Perhaps putting the piece in the sun to get warmed might be OK - although as I understand it, the cross-linking reactions are not light activated. You'd just be just warming the piece to help along the oxygen involved reactions, and promote evaporation of the volatile components.

    Rob Wallace
     
  4. Hugh

    Hugh

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
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    OK - Thanks guys. I thought I was stuck with the odor. I have a couple of older pieces that I used the BLO on and they pretty much have lost the smell.

    Rob - I worry about putting the pieces in the sun as I think over time it will change the color of the wood too much. I bring them into the house which pretty much stays warm and I think that will have to do.

    I might have to buy a bunch of Tung oil and try that. I do not think that has the amount of odor that the BLO has. Or maybe it just dries faster. It is just really neat to put a piece in the vat of oil and walk off. Then when the small air bubbles quit - take it out and dry it. Rub a few times and it is done. Picks up nice color and sheen and some good depth in the wood.

    Thanks for the input.
    Hugh
     
  5. Gary Chapman

    Gary Chapman

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
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    Location:
    Madison, Indiana
    boiled linseed oil

    Hugh,
    Where can you buy bulk linseed oil? It is very expensive when you buy it in qts. Also, how do you store it safely? I like the finish but keeping it in a large c ontainer has to be done right for safely? Thanks Gary
     
  6. TJ Hamilton

    TJ Hamilton

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
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    Location:
    Douglasville, GA
    Gary, I store mine in the gallon metal can it came in, tightly sealed. Worked fine that way for years.

    Now the BLO soaked rags IS another issue. They need to be hung out to dry or submerged in water until the trash man comes. BLO rags in a closed environment (bottom of trash can covered with shavings and other trash) is a recipe for a nice fire.

    Yes, BLO has gotten more expensive lately, but I still put it on nearly every piece to pop the color and grain.

    Best regards, Tom
     
  7. Mark Warden

    Mark Warden

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  8. Vaughn

    Vaughn

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    SoCal
    I believe pure tung oil dries slower than the "boiled" linseed oil that's available. (BLO is no longer actually boiled, as I understand it.) Lee Valley also sells a polymerized tung oil that does cure faster than BLO in my experience.
     
  9. Jake Debski

    Jake Debski

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    Location:
    Cowlesville,Western New York
    For what its worth dept.

    BLO, sold under the "Tried and True" brand label claims the linseed oil is just linseed oil, and it is boiled, no chemical driers are used.
     
  10. Hugh

    Hugh

    Joined:
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    I purchase the BLO down at the local hardware store. Comes in a gallon can. I pour it into a lidded container and put the piece in it. After the initial submersion you can see the small air bubbles coming from the wood. After a day or so - the air bubbles stop and I figure the wood has all the oil it will take. Drip dry for a bit and then let sit after a rub down with a rag. Then more rubbing to dry up all the "wet" spots. I agree with Tom - it pops out the color of the wood.

    The odor though lasts a long time.

    When I am done with the oil, I put the rest back into the gallon can it came in. I usually wash the rags or put them out to dry and then throw them away.

    Hugh
     
  11. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    I buy it in 5 gal pails at Lowes or Home depot. Much cheaper than in qts or gal. Except for what Jake said there are two basic Linseeds. Boiled and raw. Raw has no driers and boiled does. I keep it in 30 gal trash cans and have to add thinner and some Jap dryer now and again. I have begun to experiment with other oils for my translucent work. Over time in wet climates the BLO becomes sticky. It slowly leaches up to the surface and makes a mess. In dry climates no worries. If I get an older work back thats messy I have to start with an acetone wash. As has been said the smell does go away. And soaked rags need to be dealt with. Knock on wood for me. But I do know folks who have had a fire from a soaked rag wadded up. One, a local oil painter left a rag on his bench. Came in the next morning and as he opened the door, perhaps the flush of air, but the thing exploded into flame he said. From then on a steel bucket with water and a lid. He was a lucky guy.
     

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