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Machine oil stains...?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by pklonowski, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    So... a piece of wooden furniture got left for a couple of years in a high school machine shop, where, somehow, machine oil got dripped on it, in several places. Imagine that... The wood happens to be recovered from a 150-year-old barn, and the shop teacher who was building it is not happy. Anybody know how to get machine oil (unknown specs) out of a piece of pine?

    The final finish on the intended piece of furniture will be Watco Danish, with a clear top coat. I'm wondering if I just wipe off what I can with mineral spirits/turpentine/lacquer thinner, give it a light sanding, then hit it with the Danish, it'll even be noticeable? Or would the machine oil have some undesirable impacts on the final finish?

    I have this sneaking feeling that somebody probably had an old canoe with oil drips on it, somewhere along the line.
  2. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I'd go with oxalic acid. It is pretty good with darker stains.
  3. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    If it is a light, honey-colored oil you ought to be able to get most of it out with mineral spirit or a paint stripper with a lot of dichloromethane (methylene chloride) in it. But it ought to soak for awhile so the oil can diffuse out into the solvent. Maybe find a place that does furniture stripping by dipping the entire piece. A light oil should not have compatibility problems with Danish oil and may be nearly invisible. But if the oil was dirty and caused a dark stain on the wood, it's going to be a problem. Looking forward to hearing how this turns out. Tom McCloud
  4. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    So far so good.... It was clean, light-colored oil, so it only darkened the wood a little bit... I suspect the Danish will darken it more than this, so it'll probably even out. Not really sure if the Mineral spirits are getting the oil out, or just spreading it around, but the color seems consistent across the entire top, even in sunlight. Most of the dents have steamed out, but the ones that have oil in them aren't moving. No surprise.

    Wishing there were some scraps of this old wood around to mess with, but no such luck. Will try it on some scrap pine, with some 30Wt. Picking the steel and aluminum tidbits out of the grain with a sharp dental pick was fun... I think I got'em, but you have to assume I missed some. I'm glad it's not getting a water-based finish.
  5. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    I would go the solvent (paint thinner, turps, etc.) route, would let it soak for a while, and would do it several times. You might try using acetone once or twice, also.

    The machine oil will dissolve in the Danish oil -- and that might be a problem. Danish oil is a "drying" oil, and machine oil is not. The machine oil will at least slow down the curing of the Danish oil, and perhaps even prevent its curing. For that reason, I would try to get as much of the machine oil out as possible.
  6. Grandlaker

    Grandlaker Builder & Restorer

    This mite be to late but next time. I would use a good dish or laundry detergent with boiling water and a scrub brush. The detergent will break up the oil and let the hot water penetrate below it and float out of the wood.
  7. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I think I'd be concerned about residual detergent in the wood, and how that might interfere with the Danish oil... no?
  8. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Looks like it's worth a try... Looks like it's available online only? will order some tonight. Thanks everyone!
  9. Grandlaker

    Grandlaker Builder & Restorer

    The detergent will flush with water. But it looks like Petermueller has the magic potion
  10. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Available at duh...
  11. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson New Member

    I have restored alot of antique mahogany boats that had there bilges saturated with oil and found that Easy Off oven cleaner will draw the oil out.
    Wash and clean the wood first then wipe on the easy off ( don't let it dry).A few coats may be needed depending on how bad the stain is then wash it well with tsp and water to remove residue.This should do the trick....try it on a small area first.This method has also been used for years for removing oils from gun stocks.

    hope this helps.

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