How Long Does Linseed Oil Take To Dry? (Boiled & Raw)

Linseed oil, extracted from flax seeds, is a classic wood finish that enhances durability and appearance in woodworking projects.

This article outlines the drying times for raw and boiled linseed oil: key considerations for any project.


Raw linseed oil dries in about 7 days, while boiled linseed oil takes 2-3 days. Full curing ranges from 2-10 weeks for raw and 30-40 days for boiled.

Learn which type suits your needs and how to apply it for the best results.

How Long Does Raw Linseed Oil Take To Dry?

When using raw linseed oil as a finish for wood, patience is key. Raw linseed oil is known for its very slow drying time.

  • Initial Drying Period: Raw linseed oil typically takes about one week to dry to the touch. This is a general estimate and can vary based on several factors.
  • Factors Affecting Drying Time:
    • Number of Coats: The more coats you apply, the longer the drying time.
    • Temperature: Warmer temperatures tend to speed up the drying process, whereas cooler temperatures slow it down.
    • Airflow: Good ventilation and airflow can facilitate quicker drying by promoting oxidation, which is the process by which linseed oil dries.
    • Humidity: High humidity can extend the drying time significantly, while low humidity can help shorten it.
  • Curing Time: After the initial drying period, raw linseed oil requires an additional 2 to 10 weeks to fully cure. The exact time can vary based on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and airflow.

How Long Does Boiled Linseed Oil Take To Dry?

Boiled linseed oil is a popular wood finishing due to its more manageable drying time compared to its raw counterpart. Here’s an overview of what to expect when working with boiled linseed oil:

  • Initial Drying Period: Boiled linseed oil typically dries within 2 to 3 days, which is significantly faster than raw linseed oil. This allows for quicker recoating and handling.
  • Factors Influencing Drying Time:
    • Environmental Conditions: As with raw linseed oil, the drying time for boiled linseed oil can be affected by temperature, airflow, and humidity. A warm, well-ventilated area with low humidity is ideal for the quickest drying time.
    • Application Thickness: Thinner applications will dry more quickly than thicker ones. It’s important to apply the oil evenly and wipe away excess.
  • Curing Time: Boiled linseed oil dries to the touch relatively quickly, within 2 to 3 days, but it still requires a curing period to fully harden. This can take anywhere from 30 to 40 days, depending on similar conditions as mentioned above.

Applying Linseed Oil

Applying Linseed Oil

The application of linseed oil varies slightly between raw and boiled types due to their different consistencies and drying times.

For Raw Linseed Oil:

  • Application Method: Given its thicker consistency, use a brush or roller for application. If spraying is preferred for larger projects, thin the oil with a suitable solvent.
  • Drying Time: Prepare for extended drying times; each coat may take up to a week to dry, with full curing taking several weeks.

For Boiled Linseed Oil:

  • Application Method: This thinner oil can be applied with a cloth or brush for ease of use.
  • Quicker Drying: Boiled linseed oil typically dries within 2-3 days, allowing for faster recoating and project completion.

Ensure the wood surface is clean and dry before application, apply the oil evenly to avoid blotches, and wipe away any excess to prevent a sticky finish.

Proper drying conditions, such as a well-ventilated area with low humidity and consistent temperature, are crucial for both types of oil.

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