Free advice (for what it’s worth) on Osmo

NR Hiller Design, Inc. Heinzen walnut bench for Ivy Tech

I used Osmo to finish this walnut bench that Tammy Wampler Heinzen, seen here cutting the ribbon with her son in the foreground, commissioned as a memorial for her husband, James Heinzen.

Every so often a reader of an article or blog post will contact me for advice. Much of the time the best I can do is refer him or her to published information; I just don’t have the time for personal replies to emails or phone calls. Occasionally, though, I will take the plunge. In case anyone is interested, here’s what I dashed off in an effort to be helpful to a regular reader on the subject of Osmo. Having put the time in for one person, I might as well share it.



I can’t say whether Osmo would work well on your cabinet. It comes in many varieties, depending on the wood you’re putting it on and the degree of durability you require. I’ve used a couple of varieties of the Polyx-oil, which incorporates wax. It’s important not to have the wax build up on the surface.

I like Osmo because it’s easy to use and produces a gorgeous low-luster finish, but there are limits to its applicability (for example, where some stains and other sealers are involved).

I would suggest the following:

1. Read this article from Fine Woodworking (you have to have their $15/year online membership to access it online, but if you have the magazine, so much the better), AND THEN READ THE COMMENTS. Reid at World Class Supply, one place where you can buy Osmo, imports the stuff and is very knowledgeable; in case you can’t access the comments, here, with a couple of editorial fixes, is what Reid says about Soto’s technique:

“I have been using, carrying and selling OSMO for a very long time. I interact with many woodworkers educating them and discussing their technique. Marcus’s technique of creating a slurry is fine but really only needs to be done with open grain wood such as walnut. I do not believe he is mixing water but just using a wet/dry sandpaper as we all know, oil and water do not mix. I recommend using a white scotch bright pad for the slurry application but do not recommend sanding between coats. You would run the risk of creating a white pow[d]er from the two waxes that would then be in your finish. He also seems to be taking his projects to a higher grit than we like to see. 180 is as high as I would go. This finish should be Two VERY THIN coats only – wipe on/wipe off and repeat. Or – best advice, don’t leave it on top and don’t burn down the shop. (dispose of rag[e]s properly) If you need advice email sales (at) worldclasssupply(dot)com”

I have noticed a lot of misinformation out there regarding Osmo. What Reid says about not sanding to too-fine a grit is key; the product must penetrate the pores. And because the product needs to penetrate the wood pores, it is not intended to be applied over other sealers such as shellac.

NR Hiller Design, Inc. Osmo on Wilkinson Candy desk

This walnut desk is finished with Osmo #3054.

2. Experiment before working on your finished piece. The product Soto uses (#3054) is a satin finish for most woods. I use a different product (#3041 “Natural”) for pale woods.

NR Hiller Design, Inc. Osmo application

Applying Osmo #3041 to an ambrosia maple table top. #3041 contains a small amount of white pigment that keeps pale species from ambering as they would, albeit minimally, with #3054.

3. Another super-user-friendly supplier is Tools for Working Wood. They are very knowledgeable and stock a wide variety of Osmo products. (They also sell some excellent tools and books.)

My best advice: make samples, taking the finish all the way through every step, before applying to your work piece.


Finally, please do not contact me for advice. I write a weekly blog post for Popular Woodworking and am always happy to have suggestions for topics there. If you want to suggest something, please leave a comment on my current post (i.e., whichever post — by me — is current; otherwise I may not notice that you’ve left a comment, because the notification system at the site works differently from other WordPress sites). If it’s something I am able to address, I will.

3 responses to “Free advice (for what it’s worth) on Osmo

  1. P.S. I always dispose of my rages responsibly.

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