Osmo Polyx Oil
Reviewed by Richard Vaughan
I have used tung oil based finishes for over 30 years now. I like how they allow simple repair and rejuvenation when regular use leaves its mark, and I prefer the slowly wearing sheen of rubbed oil to a plasticky gloss that looks defaced with use.
A couple of years ago I noticed a change in the formulation of the product I’d been using so I tested Osmo Polyx Oil. I applied it according to label instructions to test boards of both silver ash and Tas blackwood and left them for two weeks to fully cure. Dollops of red and white wines, hot water, jam, chutney as well as wet tea bags were dropped on all and left for 24 hours.
The results mean I have been using and recommending Osmo Polyx Satin Matt as my standard finish ever since. Like all oil-based finishes Osmo adds a golden hue to the wood, but there are also versions with varying amounts of white ochre added which counteract the yellowing to retain the look of paler woods without looking like they have been limed.
Osmo recommends not sanding finer than 120 grit to enable penetration and this is okay for timber floors that the product is so widely used on but I want at least 240 grit for acceptable woodwork. So I experimented.
Sanding to 240 grit and finishing along the grain, removing dust with a tack cloth then dampening the surface with a mist of clean water from a spray bottle and leaving it overnight to dry seemed to open the wood to the finish. After the first coat a light sanding removed the raised grain and a couple more rubbed coats resulted in a finish that is as durable as stopping at the 120 grit.
It is essential that you only apply very thin coats of Osmo. It simply won’t work if you apply it thickly. Think the slow build-up of French polish, and how shoe polish is effectively rubbed off to leave a miniscule layer.
Osmo is made from natural oils and waxes and has been in used in Europe for about 40 years where it has been certified in EU as safe for toys and food preparation bench surfaces.
Distributed in Australia by Natural Timber Oils Victoria, www.naturaltimberoils.com.au