Ease of application, lack of film build-up, a beautiful satin sheen, and no-fuss repair make these finishes ideal for projects that won’t be subject to a lot of heavy daily use.
Film finishes are great when you need maximum durability, such as on table tops, floors, handrails, cabinet doors and countertops. They offer the greatest resistance to abrasion, wear, water, water vapour and heat. They cure hard, which makes them very durable. But they can be somewhat challenging to apply, and difficult to repair. They also dry slowly, making the work surface susceptible to dust nibs.
For woodworking projects that don’t get a lot of daily wear and tear – picture frames, jewellery boxes, display cabinets, sculptures, turnings, trimwork and the like – penetrating oil finishes can be an excellent choice. They leave the wood looking natural, and do a good job of bringing out the detail in wood grain. As well, because these finishes don’t crack or peel they’re great for wooden objects that are in contact with food (such as cutting boards, salad bowls and kitchen utensils) and for toys that end up in children’s mouths.