Staining and Leaching with Oil Finishes

Using natural oil finishes on bookshelves or clothing storage shelves is risky because the oil stays active and may stain your things. January 28, 2013

I recall reading an earlier post about somebody using linseed oil on bookshelves and finding that the books absorbed some of the oil over the years, but I cannot find that post. Does anyone have information on this problem? I ask because there are a couple applications where I'd like to apply an oil finish just to add color to parts of a coat rack and a bookshelf (specifically, to the edges of prefinished Appleply and to Duron shelves). What is the general rule for this? Is it just raw linseed oil or all drying oils to beware of? Does polymerized or boiled oil make a difference?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
All drying oils undergo slow to moderate auto-oxidation - cross-linking. Usually several coats of oil are needed to protect the wood. Often repeat applications, months to years later, are also required. Oil will leach out of the wood for several years. Therefore, it is unwise to store many things, including books, clothing or other absorbent materials on oiled shelves. Mixed oil/varnish finishes will dry and cross-link more rapidly. I would use a good WB finish and take no chances. No matter what finish you use, allow an overly sufficient time to dry/cure.