How Come Boiled Linseed Oil Won’t Dry on my Paneling?

My living room paneling was finished with boiled linseed oil and, of course, it is sticky all the time, as boiled linseed oil never dries. What can I do to solve this problem?

Kevin Hancock: Where did you hear that boiled linseed oil never dries? It should dry, unless there is some contaminant in or on the wood preventing it from drying. I’d suggest a wash of naphtha (with good ventilation) to remove any wax or non-drying oil, and paint remover for cured oil. A Danish oil recoat might be in order.

Greg Williams: Remove the linseed oil, and refinish with a different coating.

Michael Dresdner: Both raw and boiled linseed oil are drying oils, and though the latter dries much faster, either will dry to a solid film in the presence of oxygen. If the oil did not dry, there is some reason, and I can only think of two logical ones. Certain woods, specifically eastern red “aromatic” cedar, and anything in the dalbergia family, contain anti-oxidants that will prevent oils from drying on them, but I have never seen paneling made of either of these woods. What’s more likely is that there is some contamination in the wood preventing drying. This could include non-drying oils (mineral oil or “lemon oil” polishes), grease, silicone oil, or wax. Follow the above suggestions for removal.

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