linseed oil

bill w

Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
I miiled some white cedar planking a couple of years ago, and then applied linseed oil to them(good or inside face only) without removing all of the access oil. some of the planking now has gummy spots that did not dry ( after a couple years). any ideas on how to take care of this problem? I have tried lacquer thinner,rubbing alcohol,vinegar and sandpaper,but nothing seems to remove it.Thanks for any ideas. Bill
Sorry I did not mention that I am getting ready to use this planking if I can get the access linseed oil off. It has not been put on the canoe yet. Thanks Bill
Hi Bill,

I'd use a cabinet scraper to scrape off the excess. If you use a light touch, you should be OK. scrape it off, and then wipe a light, thin film on.

Since they normally thin linseed oil with petroleum products like turpentine, it might be worth trying that. Naptha is generally my favorite petro thinner as I hate the smell of turpentine and it might work as well. I doubt it will remove it all, but it might get the gunk off the surface and leave a dry surface that you can finish sand and varnish over.
WHOOPS: Turpentine is not a petroleum product. It is a product of Pine sap. In the US most turpentine is a distilate of Southern Yellow Pine. In the old days turpentine was part of what was referred to as Naval Stores. In the Ancient days pine tar/greek pitch etc was combined with sulphur to make "greek fire" a "fire ball" hurled over ramparts and ships rails.
Thinning Linseed Oil

Slightly OT, but when thinning Linseed Oil is it ok to use mineral spirits instead of turpentine?
I don't know about mineral spirits, but traditional boat soup, which is a workboat oil/pine tar finish uses turpentine to thin the oil.

Boat Soup - Bob Schmalzer's recipe

New Empty Gallon Paint Can (Home Depot)
60% Linseed oil. Raw if for soaking Boiled if for finishing. (Home Depot)
1 Cup Japan Drier if for finishing. (Home Depot)
30% turpentine (Home Depot)
1 Cup Pine Tar (Farrier Supplier)
1lb Beeswax if for finishing (Beekeeper Supplier)
Flammable....Mix together over heat in a double boiler.
I use mineral spirts to thin linseed oil, usually the higher grade, low oder stuff. With this I can oil the canoe inside (the house) as there is very little oder.
Do keep the windows open though. :)

Turp smells "nice" OUTSIDE.

You should have smelled the stuff when I was cooking violin varnish. Windows slammed shut all over the neighborhood except for my neighbor who kept looking for Mr. Clean to appear. But that was 30 years ago.
Reminds me of a time back when I was a sculpture major in college. I was up against the gun, time-wise, so I did a two-gallon solid pour of polyester resin in my dorm room. I left the two small windows open and headed off to class. On my return a couple hours later, I could smell it about 100' away from the building. Needless to say, I was not a popular person on the floor that day.
Check out Wooden Boat

Wooden Boat issue #210 Sept/Oct 2009, page 35, has an excellent article on using linseed oil on wooden boats. You can even download the issue from their site
You might want to rethink using steel wool. The particles get sloughed off and can rust, even if covered over with varnish or whatever. There is brass wool available or various roughness's of the Scotchbrite which might work better.
You are absolutely right on the steel wool issue. I do use it when working on projects where my oil stays sticky and there is no worry about leaving any steel particles behind. The rag technique seems to work well if I am doing a small area are an abrasive isnt necessary. The turps seems to "melt" the goo and take it away. Have not tried this on canoes however. Thanks for the clarification.