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Conversion varnish and linseed oil

Doug Member

Client wants a wash coat of linseed and conversion varnish clear coat on their Chery cabinets. Supplier, Sherman Williams, could not give a definitive answer regarding long-term adhesion. Can anyone relate any relevant information?

Thanks - Doug

3/16/16       #2: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
Paul Snyder  Member


If the oil is dry before the CV is applied, you won't have any problems. Linseed oil is a common ingredient in consumer grade oil-base stains. If the humidity is high and/or the temperature is low, linseed oil can take days or weeks to dry.

If there's any doubt about the oil being dry enough, start with a coat of catalyzed vinyl sealer. It will guarantee adhesion.

3/16/16       #3: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
Robert Chickey Member

I would definitely apply a wash coat of vinyl sealer or dewaxed shellac as a barrier coat. Your client is attempting to get as much depth as possible. I'm not a huge fan of Zinnser's Seal Coat but it is dewaxed. If you had more time I would investigate using dewaxed shellac flakes (that you dissolve) as part of your process. As it presents significantly more depth for your wood projects.

3/16/16       #4: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
rich c.

Playing with fire in my opinion. I'd give it a month before top coating. Even then it would make me nervous if the supplier would not give you a positive approval.

3/16/16       #5: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
rich c.

Playing with fire in my opinion. I'd give it a month before top coating. Even then it would make me nervous if the supplier would not give you a positive approval.

3/16/16       #6: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
Paul Snyder  Member


In the recent past, stains and glazes contained drying oil products (e.g., linseed oil) and they had to be sealed in using vinyl sealer to ensure good adhesion (because they dry so slowly). The stains and glazes we have now can be used without using vinyl sealer.

I'm attaching a data sheet for an oil-base glaze that specified it be applied over a coat of vinyl sealer and then top coated with a coat of vinyl sealer. This was generically known as the "vinyl sealer sandwich." If you do a search on this website or google you will find lots of information about it.

Knowing this information is helpful because it allows you to produce rarely requested finishes like this one without worrying about whether or not it will work.

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


3/16/16       #7: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...

You refer to it as being a wash-coat, so I will assume your cutting the linseed Oil. I don't see an issue if allowed too dry. There are other options when trying to add depth to cherry without oil.....

good luck!

3/16/16       #8: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...
Michael Foscone

How would or why would a client ask for linseed oil? And then topcoated with conversion varnish. Any finisher knows the answer to this.

3/22/16       #10: Conversion varnish and linseed oil ...

Joe is right, you can achieve the same depth and grain pop that oil gives by either using shellac seal coat or highly reduced dye stain sprayed on and comfortably follow with cv sealer and topcoat.

There is, however one time that I would break out the linseed oil again, and that is to reduce the bleaching out of walnut.

Many years ago I made planks of each species with the common stains that of course no one chose (always custom). The walnut plank started with natural and the next section was linseed oil. These samples hung next to the garage door in full afternoon sun for years. The natural finished walnut bleached out so yellow that it was ugly but right next to it was the most beautiful sample, boiled linseed oil on walnut.

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