In House of Worktops® we have over 12 different variations of wood worktops, each with over 20 different sizes, and prices ranging from £100, all the way up to £1500 per worktop. Regardless of the price, the most important factor which will determine how happy you are with your wooden worktops is the oiling.
How well you finish your worktop is 90% of the game. It is almost like the break-or-make moment that will allow you to fully enjoy your natural, solid timber surface. It is that which will determine whether you end up hating your worktops or whether they will last for generations.
You get the message – oiling of your wooden worktops is important.
Note: Before we dive into the details of the flawless finish, let us remind ourselves of a core feature of wooden worktops – they have an “A” and a “B” side and both sides need to be oiled! That is not producer or supplier specific, but it is a universal practice with wooden worktops. You want to identify the “A” side of your worktop, as that will be the side which will be visible in your kitchen – usually, it has better colour consistency, fewer knots and natural imperfections. Moreover, to simplify the process for you, we mark the “B” side with a stamp.
Sanding your wooden worktops in preparation for oiling
Everything you need for sanding:
- Electric Orbital Sander
- Sanding Pads 60, 80, 100, 120 and 240 grit.
Think of sanding as the groundwork preparation that needs to be completed before you get on with the oiling your wooden worktops.
If you take a closer look at our wooden worktop, you will see that it is composed of tight, muscle-like grains. It is a good analogy to think of the grain as a bundle of hair. When you go to a hairdresser, they would never jump into cutting your hair, but they would first brush it and ensure it is not all tangled up. Similarly, you need to sand (groom) your worktop to make sure it is consistent overall and in an optimal condition for oiling.
Why is sanding important for oiling?
The state of the grain affects the wood’s ability to interact with the oil. The grain is composed of pores and micro gaps – it is those pores and gaps that serve as channels for the oil to penetrate and merge with the timber. If the grain at one spot is at 80 grit and at another spot it is 240 grit, it will soak the oil differently and hence yield a different finish. Consistency is key.
What is the ideal sanding grit for oiling wooden worktops?
The ideal sanding grit for hardwood worktops is 120 grit on both sides, the “A” and “B” side.
For the sanding sanding process we recommend using an electric orbital sander. It allows for consistent sanding without creating a dip in the worktop.
Start sanding your wooden worktop.
To start off, sand your worktop with the rougher grits of 60 or 80 to remove any blemishes or scratches. Although it is always advisable to sand along the grain, you can also go across for a couple of strokes to dig into the wood and remove a deeper scratch or an imperfection.
Once you are done with our 60/80 grit and all scratches have been removed, move up to 100 and then to 120. Finishing up to 240 grit is also a popular choice, however considering our method of oiling, it is better to keep the grain open at 120 grit. The idea is that we want to take advantage of the small pockets and gaps within the grain as “storage” for the oil that we will be applying on our worktop. At the higher grits, 240 grit or higher, those gaps are usually levelled down. But! Please do keep some 240 grit, as we will need that at a later stage.
Sanded to a consistent 120 grit throughout, your surface is now at an optimal state to absorb the oil.
Preparation for Oiling
Oiling is a packed word and if we try to unpack it, those are some of the questions
- How to apply?
- How thick should the coat be?
- What do I apply with?
- How often do I need to re-oil?
- How many coats do I apply?
- How well does it protect?
- How easy is it to maintain?
- How easy is it to repair?
A ton of questions and naturally a ton of different opinions and recommendations out there. Different oils have their strengths and weaknesses, some are extremely good in one thing and others are good in another. But we need to choose the one which has the entire package.
In House of Worktops, we have oiled tens of thousands of worktops and tried all oil alternatives. At the end of the day, there are only two options which stand out – Osmo Oil and Danish Oil. Although Osmo oil is our preferred choice, we also have a Danish Oil Oiling Guide, in case you are a fan of Danish Oil. PS If you have other oil recommendations, please feel free to drop me an email to [email protected], I would love to test them!
So why Osmo?
Because it has the entire package!
It is extremely durable, easy to apply, easy to repair and more importantly it provides amazing surface protection.
On top of that, it comes in three finishes:
Matt, Satin and Gloss.
How do we apply the oil?
In general, there are different options to choose from: bristle brush, foam brush, roller, piece of cloth, non-abrasive pad and etc. I am pretty sure that a flawless finish is achievable with every single application method, but what is the one method which makes the entire process easier, and simpler and decreases the probability of anything going wrong?
Roller Sleeve + Non-Abrasive Pad
Roller sleeves with their thin microfiber texture are ideal for equally and thinly spreading the oil throughout the worktop. There are very few application methods that can match the effectiveness of the roller sleeves.
And what is a non-abrasive pad?
It is a fine pad with high grit. It has a coarse texture, but it is unable to scratch the surface of the worktop. We will be using it to burnish the surface and remove any raised grain in between the coats of oil.
Summary of all you need to oil your wooden worktops:
- Pair of latex gloves
- Osmo Roller Frame and Roller Sleeves
- Non-abrasive pad
- Osmo Top Oil – Matt, Gloss or Satin
- Orbital Sander with 240 grit pad
- Roll of paper towel or a piece of cloth
Oiling your Wooden Worktops With Osmo
Apply your FIRST Coat of Oil
- Shake up the tin of Osmo Top Oil.
- Put on your gloves.
- Assemble your frame and roller sleeve.
- Prepare your non-abrasive pads.
Note: Before building up the protection on the “A” side of your worktop, you need to apply a single
coat to the back “B” side. That is for moisture protection.
Spill some Osmo oil anywhere on the surface and get rolling.
Spread out as thinly as possible! Once again – as thinly as possible! The rollers can store a lot of the oil inside, so try to apply light pressure and keep rolling over the entire surface.
Once the surface is covered, you need to do the finishing strokes. Take your roller and roll from one end of the worktop to the other end without stopping in a straight line. Go one row at a time whilst applying minimal pressure, until you cover the entire surface. It is important to go along the grain without interrupting the stroke, in order to get a uniform finish.
Use a source of light in the background to check the surface for any pooling of oil or any areas you might have missed. You want a very consistent look throughout the surface.
Osmo Oil is a hard wax oil, so whilst you are oiling your wooden worktops, you do not want a thick layer of hard wax sitting freely on the surface, living a life of its own. You want a thin layer of oil settling down along the grain and the pores of the worktop, getting absorbed and merging with the timber. Hence why, 3 thinly applied coats of oil will give you significantly better results than 2 thick coats.
Allow 24 hours for the oil to dry.
Second Coat of Oil
- The surface should feel natural, but rough. Do not worry about that – that is what we want. It just shows that the wood has absorbed the oil and consequently the grain of the timber has risen. That is how it is supposed to be and it shows that we have applied the oil correctly.
- Use a non-abrasive pad to de-nib the surface by lightly moving the pad along the grain whilst applying light pressure. If you do not have a non-abrasive pad, use a high-grit sanding pad, 240 grit or higher and lightly cover the surface.
- Wipe off any dust from the surface with a clean piece of cloth.
- Apply your second coat of oil
- Cover the entire surface by oiling your wooden worktops thinly.
- Allow 24 hours for each coat to dry.
Third Coat of Oil
- Use a non-abrasive pad to remove the raised grain.
- Wipe the surface to get rid of the dust.
- Spill some Osmo and get rolling.
- Spread as thinly as possible, interchanging between the oiled areas and the dry areas helps control the amount of oil applied to the surface.
- Allow 24 hours to dry
Get The Smooth and Silky Finish!
*This is our favourite part.. Please do not skip!
With three extremely thin coats of Osmo, your protection should now be flawless! It is time to address the smoothness of your wooden worktops, matt silky smooth finish – that is what we are aiming for.
Prepare the following items for the next step:
- Electric sander with 240 grit on.
- Piece of cloth for wiping off the dust
- Osmo Roller
- Osmo Top Oil
- Roll of paper towel or pieces of cloth that we will be used to remove the excess oil
- Prepare your Orbital Sander with 240 grit
- Very lightly go over the surface with the sander without applying any pressure and without holding the sander in one place.
- Make sure you do not miss any parts of the worktop.
- Once you are done, the surface should look a little pale and dusty, but extremely smooth to touch. Refer to the photo above.
- Take a piece of cloth or paper towel and remove the dust from the surface.
- One last time… spill some Osmo oil and spread with your roller.
- Once you have covered the worktop, take a fresh paper towel and start wiping off all the oil from the surface.
- Apply pressure and change your paper towel frequently. Think of it as if you are polishing the surface whilst you are removing the oil.
- Use a source of light to check for any visible oil on the surface. The surface should feel and look semi-dry.
- Your job is complete.
- Allow your worktop to dry for 12 hours
- Enjoy! I guarantee you will feel extremely proud of the finish you have achieved!
Enough said, you are now done! Feel it, test it and judge for yourself. How does it feel? Spill
some water, wine, and coke, how does it do? Does it pass the water test?
We have done this a thousand times and we know what the results are – the perfect finish. A
finish that will make sure your worktops last for generations!
We hope you found this guide useful and that you enjoyed the process as much as we enjoy doing it for our customers and as much as we enjoyed writing about it.
Please let us know what you think and how your worktops ended up looking and feeling. We always love hearing from you!
If you have any questions about anything worktop related, please do not hesitate to
get in touch with us!
You can find us at 01727260688 or [email protected]
Enjoy your kitchen and wood worktops!
For additional topics please check the links below:
1) When should I re-oil my worktop?
2) How to Clean Solid Wood Worktops?
3) How to repair a scratch on a Wooden Worktop?
4) A comprehensive comparison of all Wood Worktop Oils.
5) Health benefits of wood worktops.
7) House of Worktops® – How to prepare for your order?
8) Worktop Installation Guide
9) Care & Maintenance Guide for Wood Worktops