An impregnating agent is a product that is applied on raw wood before it receives the finishing layer, and, by penetrating deeply, it will better protect it from atmospheric conditions and parasites.
In this article you can read how I make a protective and nourishing oil stain for wood, using materials that are readily available and very easy to prepare.

Find out more: natural coatings in my workshop.

What we need

The products and quantities used to make the primer are the result of experimentation and consolidated results: I have been using this product for some time on many of my products.

  • Linseed oil (not boiled): it is obtained by squeezing flax seeds; unlike the boiledone, it is more fluid, it also has a reduced drying power (ability to form a light patina). Protects the wood by creating a water-repellent barrier.
  • Tung oil: it is obtained by squeezing the homonymous tree which originates mainly in the East, especially China and Indonesia; it is a siccative oil and dries before linseed oil, protects the wood from insects, fungi and UV rays.
  • Camellia oil: it is obtained from the flowers of the camellia plant, also of oriental origin; it has anti-oxidant properties and protects from atmospheric agents. Not very viscous, it is absorbed in depth.
  • Coconut oil: obtained from the pulp of the fruit of the same name, it is rich in fatty acids. It nourishes and protects the wood and, thanks to its sweet fragrance, improves the characteristic odor of linseed oil and tung oil.
  • Turpentine: solvent of vegetable origin, obtained from the distillation of the resinous parts of some conifers, mainly pine. It has an excellent solvent power and medium evaporation.

Linseed oil, tung oil and turpentine can be purchased in a paint shop or fine art shop, camellia oil and coconut oil in herbal medicine shop.
They are also easy to find online.

To prepare our impregnating oil we will also need the following equipment:

  • digital scale with an accuracy of 1 gram
  • a kitchen probe thermometer
  • saucepan
  • glass vessel
  • a hermetically sealed container to contain and store the oil, preferably made of tin. Alternatively, also a glass jar with an airtight lid, to be kept out of the light.

How it is prepared

The impregnate consists of a mixture of the above products.
The table shows the percentages of use and the relative quantities, expressed in grams and already divided according to the quantity of product we want to make:

INGREDIENT%g (x 1Kg)g (x ½ Kg)g (x 250g)g (x 100g)
Linseed oil303001507530
Tung oil10100502510
Coconut oil7,57537187
impregnante ad olio

Below 20 degrees celsius coconut oil is solid with a cream-like consistency.
Let’s start by heating the turpentine together with the coconut oil and the camellia oil, in a jar in a bain-marie,
Heat until a temperature of about 50 ° C is reached, using the thermometer as a meter and stirring the mixture often.
Pour the contents into the storage container.
With the same procedure, heat the linseed oil and the tung oil in a bain-marie up to a temperature between 50 and 60 ° C.
We combine the rest and mix vigorously.

Safety warnings

Dispositivi di protezione personali

Turpentine is an easily flammable solvent. Handle it with extreme care and take all possible precautions when heated to prevent it from catching fire.
Being an easily volatile liquid, it must be heated only in a container placed in a bain-marie in water, do not use it directly in the saucepan. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher or any extinguishing device in the immediate vicinity.

How to use this impregnating oil

The impregnating oil is ready to use.
It should be applied on raw wood, already sanded and cleaned of dust, with a brush or a rag, taking care to cover the entire surface well.
It will be absorbed quickly and after 12-24 hours a second coat can be applied.
For wood intended for indoor use, it may be sufficient to use only the impregnating oil without further use of finishing paints, but in this case I recommend applying at least 3 coats and renewing about once a year.
If you want to apply a paint on top, make sure you choose an oil-based one, or natural resins compatible with it, such as shellac, dammar, etc.

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