Rubio Monocoat vs Danish Oil?

Hi all!

I’ve been using danish oil on a few projects and I like how it finishes in terms of feel, but it has come out a little dark on the red oak and birch I’ve used it on.

It seems like loads of woodworkers use Rubio Monocoat. In the videos I’ve seen of it it doesn’t look like it darkens the wood up as much, with the Pure color.

Anyone have experience with both and can comment?

I have not used danish oil in a long time mainly due to curing time. I stick to Deft lacquer but it has the same effect as any oil finish on lumber. Rubio and Osmo are penetrating waxes so they may not darken Redoak as much, basically they don’t react with the tannins as much as oil does. But it will darken most lumbers somewhat. Rubio is preferred due to when is catalyzed is a one coat and you’re done in a day or so with a very good quality finish. However read the instructions to see how your material needs to be prepared, i believe you only sand to 150 or 180 grit. You need open pores in order for the wax to stick properly. If you really like the look of natural Redoak you can sand it to 800 grit and then just use a good quality clear wax. You could also try water based polyurethane or urethanes but these can leave the surface looking frosty or hazy.


All oils, including Rubio Pure, will darken or amber wood. Use a water based finish or lacquer to avoid this. I use Rubio a lot and generally sand to 180 or 220. Any higher and you burnish the pore openings, which limits finish adhesion. Rubio has tinted colors that can modify the color.

As for the finish you tried, keep in mind that “danish oil” is a very broad category. It basically means an oil, typically linseed, that is polymerized, thinned with a solvent, and mixed with a varnish. Not all danish oils are equal and you generally get what you pay for. The cheaper brands often include extra additives that may make them easier to apply but will leave an inferior surface and clarity.


Agree to all of what Charles said. I’ll add that if you go water based (and most definitely for lacquer) if you want an even finish to pass the raking light test, I’d recommend spraying it. I have yet to get results I was ultimately satisfied brushing it (as many of the water based poly products recommend). I’ve been using shellac. It’s an organic resin secreted by the female lac bug and dissolved in alcohol. Easy to mix, dries ready for the next coat in 30m to an 1 hr depending on ambient conditions. You can layer it on as thick as you’d like and the previous layer blinds really nicely into the next. Can also just use denatured alcohol to thin it. I buy Zinsser. Most places carry the clear (no additives) or amber (additives).

Shellac plug aside…I have used Rubio monocoat with great success many times. Do as Charles says and stay around 220 sanding wise before applying the finish for optimal penetration / adhesion. A little goes a long way (it was designed for flooring applications) which is the main selling point for me. As the name implies one coat is all that’s necessary. It protects really well. Easy to apply. But again it does amber to a degree, but a bit less than other oils particularly those containing varnish (danish).

Thanks so much everyone, your input is very appreciated!

Another vote for Rubio. I sand to 220 apply with a hard rubber scrapper and really work it in the pores. I use a 3m pad and burnish it and then wipe it off with a cloth. The next day I go back burnish again with an abrasive 3m (I think the red pad) then buff on a second coat with a white 3m pad. I know the can says mono coat, but I burnish the second time to get rid of whatever dust settles on the piece and the second coat gives it a more even sheen. If you reach out to rubio customer service, they will tell you this is cool but not necessary. If I want more gloss, I will wait a week (monocoat cure time) and will polish with a wax conditioner. Plus with monocoat, if the work surface gets scuffed in the future it is a super easy fix and the new finish matches.


My two cents…I had been researching finishes lately and things I was looking for was ease of application (i.e. wipe/brush on, one coat, no sanding), non-toxic(low/no VOCs, no solvents), and color change on lighter woods(birch/maple). I tried the following so far:

Tried & True Original Wood Finish: Polymerized linseed and beeswax, pretty easy to wipe/brush on in one coat, some yellowing or warming on lighter wood, not as neutral as I wanted but it’s a nice tone. Like most oils it will have some time to dry down/cure but it’s ready to handle after an hour or so.

Water based polyurethane: Easy to brush on although maybe requires multiple coats, and required some sanding in between. Too much for my context. Very neutral finish on lighter woods though…definitely what I had in mind.

Real Milk Paints Half & Half: Tung oil thinned with citrus solvent 50/50. Easy to apply with a brush, ready to handle in an hour or two. Some dry down or cure time involved. I tried some of the Dark Half(w/ dark Tung oil) on walnut to give a darker stain and it was nice. I haven’t had time try the regular Half and Half on lighter woods but examples I’ve seen look fairly neutral.

I’ve got Rubio Monocoat on the list but my main gripe is the price $$$ and potential extra labor. And not sure it meets the non-toxic requirements. But like most of this stuff you gotta try it out to see.


The Stumpy Nubs YouTube channel has quite a few good videos on finishes where they go into many pros and cons for different products, as well as tips to get good results.

In finishing a piece of furniture with urethane, I can spend days. Sanding at least 4 times. Cleaning it 4 times. Dry time is variable, depend on water based vs oil based. Rubio is now (supposedly) rated food safe, without the accelerator. Expensive? Ounce for ounce, absolutely, but you use less volume… Timewise? I won’t use anything else. Beautiful finish. If you want gloss, or a barrier film finish, don’t go with Rubio. If you want a dead simple application, with beautiful natural wood results, Rubio. And it’s repairable.
The trial sizes are $5 to to $7, depending on where you buy it. And a little goes a long way. A small trial size will do a good sized tray, 14 x 24, no problem.

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