How come boiled linseed oil won't dry on my paneling?
Q: My living room paneling was finished with boiled linseed oil and, of course, it is sticky all the time, as boiled linseed oil never dries. What can I do to solve this problem?
Kevin Hancock: Where did you hear that boiled linseed oil never dries? It should dry, unless there is some contaminant in or on the wood preventing it from drying. I'd suggest a wash of naphtha (with good ventilation) to remove any wax or non-drying oil, and paint remover for cured oil. A Danish oil recoat might be in order.
Greg Williams: Remove the linseed oil, and refinish with a different coating.
Michael Dresdner: Both raw and boiled linseed oil are drying oils, and though the latter dries much faster, either will dry to a solid film in the presence of oxygen. If the oil did not dry, there is some reason, and I can only think of two logical ones. Certain woods, specifically eastern red "aromatic" cedar, and anything in the dalbergia family, contain anti-oxidants that will prevent oils from drying on them, but I have never seen paneling made of either of these woods. What's more likely is that there is some contamination in the wood preventing drying. This could include non-drying oils (mineral oil or "lemon oil" polishes), grease, silicone oil, or wax. Follow the above suggestions for removal.
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