Full Chisel Blog

December 14, 2011

Progress of Sun-thickened Raw Linseed Oil

I started this small batch of raw linseed oil in April and it has been exposed to sunlight every day since then.  I have done several experiments with raw linseed oil all of which are covered in Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes.

The oil started out much darker and less viscous and with the action of the sun it has lightened in color [with the chlorophyll being bleached out] and it has thickened up.  Because it is oil I let it stay outside even in the freezing weather.

The other morning [it was 17 degrees F] I noticed that the oil had clouded up, so I took a photograph of the cloudy oil.

I took the oil inside and allowed it to warm up overnight and it clarified.  Could be residual moisture in the oil that cause the turbid appearance.

I will keep it in the house in a sunny window and let it continue to thicken up.  I do open the bottle occasionally and have noticed that the odor is much milder than fresh raw linseed oil.






  1. Stephen,
    This is awesome. Was it difficult to make? What was involved?

    Comment by Handi — December 14, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  2. Handi,

    I just put raw linseed oil in a clean glass jar and placed it the sunlight. The hardest part was finding the most sunny place in my yard to put the jar. I have some stand oil that I jarred up at the same time but it is in the bottom of my tool cabinet in the dark. Will have to check on its progress. Both end up making raw linseed oil into a quicker drying oil which can act as a ‘seed’ for kicking raw linseed oil to a ‘boiled’ oil.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — December 14, 2011 @ 9:36 am

  3. I am an oil painter as well as a wood worker and have been playing with linseed oil for a long time. I was wondering if you’ve ever tried refining the raw oil which makes a totally different class of oil the you’ve probably ever experienced. The point of departure for this would be Tad Spurgeons website: tadspurgeon.com. He has great instructions and just about everything you could possibly want to know about linseed oil on his site, you just have to dig. Where I started which was his recommendation was with the water sand salt method of refining the linseed oil. Ive tried just about every brand of linseed oil available and nothing compared to what I got by refining the flax oil you get from the health food store. I hope you enjoy but must warn its a slippery slope that website of tad’s.


    Comment by Kyle — December 14, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  4. I had heard if you, introduce air into the oil it helps the process of thickening, eg. using an aquarium air pump and a hose placed in the jar, set on low to produce slow bubbling effect, then reconstitute the oil with turpentine and then apply to the wood.????

    Comment by joe — December 22, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  5. Joe,
    Here is a link to blown oil.

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — December 22, 2011 @ 10:44 am

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