|A couple of coats of the oil-varnish mixture reveals the grain and figure on the African mahogany.|
I put the oil on thick with a rag or a small chunk of synthetic steel wool (the gray color is my favorite) and let it soak into the wood for 20 minutes to an hour and then I buff off any that hasn't soaked in with a lint-free rag, usually an old towel or t-shirt. It takes five to seven coats to get a good sheen on the wood. You should let it dry 24 hours between coats.
The advantages are:
- it's easy to apply;
- you can do it in a dusty shop or boat;
- it feeds the wood;
- it makes the grain and wood figure pop;
- when you touch it you feel smooth wood, not plastic finish,
- and it very easy to repair.
I often do a few coats of the oil-varnish mixture and then a couple coats of spar varnish. It makes a great base coat for varnish (shellac too). I think it seals the wood so water doesn't get under the varnish as easy.
One more variation that I've heard about is adding about 10 percent of pine tar or Stockholm tar to the mixture. I'd never use this inside, but I sure would outside on a boat where you want a workboat finish. I'd do it just because Stockholm tar smells so good. My guess is that adding the tar would greatly slow down the drying time. It may stay tacky for a long time.