There are so many types of wood finishes and products that we know at Obsessed Woodworking we will never run out of topics to present to you. Today we have one such durable wood finish that we have good feelings about and intend to use it soon for one of our projects.
Rubio Monocoat Oil is that durable wood finish. It’s a protective layer of finish that provides protection in a single coat. It protects raw wood from water, heat, and the daily wear and tear of foot traffic when used on hardwood floors.
Whether on wood furniture, wood floors, hardwood tables like oak, or anything else made of wood, Rubio Monocoat is an excellent choice. Its natural finish is water-resistant and allows the wood grain to display with great beauty.
This is a hard wax oil finish that actually penetrates into the wood and is easily applied. Because it is absorbed by the wood, unlike a polyurethane finish, it offers a deep level of protection that film finishes do not.
Does Rubio Monocoat Require a Topcoat?
In fact, its unique bonding qualities at the molecular level is sufficiently strong that it does not require a topcoat. Rubio itself suggests a topcoat is not necessary. However, it also offers a topcoat product that does provide an additional measure of protection that it says intensifies the color of Rubio Monocoat Oil and that when it is brushed prior to the oil drying, it increases the sheen.
Is Rubio Monocoat Durable?
As we stated earlier, it is a very durable wood finish product, durable enough for both home and commercial use. It will enhance the natural beauty of the wood, and because it bonds at the molecular level, it will not chip, flake, blister, or peel. In the event of any damage to the wood, it can be spot-repaired without having to sand and coat the entire workpiece or floor.
Is Rubio Monocoat a Good Choice for Floor Finish?
Well, since we just mentioned floors, that answer, as you suspect, is yes, and we’ve already given the reasons for this.
The hard-wax oil permeates the wood well down into the fibers and forms a strong bond with your hardwood floors. It doesn’t chip, flake, blister, or peel, and if the floor is damaged or dented, the repair can be a piece of spot-work instead of the entire floor.
It will provide an enduring finish to your hardwood floors and allow the natural grain to show through beautifully. It will protect against spills, whether of water or something hot and can easily withstand regular foot traffic through the room. If properly cared for, it can last indefinitely without fading.
How Do You Apply Rubio Monocoat?
Rubio Monocoat is non-toxic and has no smell when applied, although you should still wear protective gloves and eyewear. So, let’s start with those.
Wood surface prep is as you would expect, with particular attention to the cleaning. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, sanding.
We would recommend starting with 120-grit sandpaper and move up to a 180-grit one. Then, water-pop it – use a mister to wet the surface and let it dry. This will raise the grain of the wood a bit that you will then sand down with 180-grit to get a very smooth surface.
Follow this up with a thorough cleaning with mineral spirits. While Rubio does sell a “cleaner,” Rubio Raw, it’s expensive and doesn’t do anything more than inexpensive mineral spirits. You want all dust removed for a particular reason – Rubio Monocoat bonds with dust, too, which is a wood fiber. You do not want that dust to linger and get in the way of deep penetration into the wood.
Rubio Monocoat is made up of two main components – the oil and an accelerator. The accelerator is not absolutely necessary, but it speeds up the drying and curing time from 3 weeks to 7 days. We recommend using the accelerator.
The ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part accelerator. Mix well, too.
In our research, we found a handy chart that identifies how much to make up for a project and mention this for those who intend to use the project on your hardwood floor project.
For hardwoods, 350 mL will cover about 175 sq ft; for softwoods, 350 mL will cover about 140 sq ft; and for Douglas fir and reclaimed woods, 350 mL will cover about 80 sq ft.
We mention this because Rubio Monocoat is expensive. You do not want to mix any more than you absolutely need for the intended use.
Apply sparingly – a little goes a long way – using a foam brush, a white Scotch Brite pad, or a plastic paddle applicator to spread a thin coat evenly over the surface of the workpiece or floor. Don’t do any more than you can finish within 15 minutes, because any longer than that and it becomes difficult to remove.
Once the surface is coated, buff using a white pad on a sander. This will help spread the finish and cover any spots you might have missed in your application, as well as drive the finish deeper into the wood.
The wood will take what it wants from the application, and the rest will simply sit on top of the surface. After a while, it will become gummy and tacky, so you will want to remove it. A small buffer will do the trick for you, and when you’ve finished, run a clean cotton cloth over the entire surface to catch any lingering surplus.
Let it sit for 24 hours before you handle it, and remember it will take 7 days to cure if you have used the accelerator or 3 weeks if you have not.
Rubio tells us that one coat is sufficient – after all, this is why it is called Monocoat. However, many who use Rubio Monocoat will apply a coat of Universal Maintenance Oil applied exactly as the Monocoat. This will give the finish a bit more sheen and brighten its appearance.
Notwithstanding Rubio’s assertion that one coat is sufficient, it does suggest that a second coat might be helpful to softwood applications as softwoods will absorb more to deeper penetration, and a second coat will fill in any spots that the first application might have missed as a result.
Unused but already mixed finish can be stored in an airtight container for a few days in a dark and cool location. While it may form chunks, it will still be usable, but eventually, it becomes too thick to use.
After that week’s cure, the workpiece or floor is ready to use. Be sure to keep it dry during that curing period. Once it has fully cured, it is watertight and set.
While there are some woodworkers who believe that two coats are better than one and suggest a second coat enhances appearance, we are not convinced other than for Rubio’s own suggestion that softwoods do benefit from a second coat. If you do decide to apply a second coat, follow the same steps outlined above, including the final step of buffing and wiping off any extra finish after the wood has finished absorbing its capacity.
Testing Rubio Monocoat
If you have never used Rubio Monocoat and want to be sure it will take well to the wood you will be using in your project, you can purchase a small sample bottle of the hard-wax oil and test it on a small scrap piece of the wood you intend to use. The sample bottles are relatively inexpensive and a safe way to be sure it’s the finish you want before you put out good money for a can of the oil and the accelerator.
We found a very good video to present to you that will walk you through the process as we have outlined it here for you. The videographer also spends a few minutes at the end talking about the use of hard-wax oils in general, including Rubio and Osmo, another good product that can provide the same benefits as those we have described in this piece.
The answer to the first question posed, then – Can you apply 2 coats of Rubio Monocoat – should be clear to you now. You can but don’t need to, with the exception of projects with softwoods. However, we might recommend, too, that you consider using Universal Maintenance OIl as a topcoat for the extra sheen it will give your finish.
Wait until you see the finish on the Bubinga wood step stool in the video. The Rubio Monocoat finish makes the piece really pop and come to life.