Finish for oak desk

I’m using 28mm oak furniture board to make a desk top.
I need to give it a durable working finish, but want to keep it as natural
and light in colour as possible, so no polyurethane gloss!


An oil finish will be durable and have a natural sheen rather than a high gloss. Consider Chestnut Hard Wax Oil or Osmo Oil.

Will this give the lightest colouring possible?


The Chestnut brand Acrylic finishes are the clearest / neutral / lightest finishes I have found and are easy to use.
Try Chestnut Acrylic Sanding Sealer and Acrylic Lacquer.
I also use tung oil and Osmo oil for projects and they always warm up the colour of the wood which is what you are trying to avoid I think?

Osmo do a Clear Polyx in a matt, Satin or Gloss. I haven’t used the gloss but have used the others on oak and it hardly changes the tone at all. Of course it depends if you put a sanding sealer underneath and what tone that gives.

I find a couple of coats of Osmo oil give a very durable finish without distracting from the look of the timber. I apply a thin first coat and then wipe off any excess after about 15 to 20 minutes. Leave at least 24 hours before a light denib with 600 wet and dry followed by a further light coat and again wiping off any excess.

Jules, is that the same Osmo oil as Badger mentioned, do I need a sanding sealer?
Their range is confusing, is there a product number?


Consider using Rubio Monocoat
It does only need one coat
It is not gloss
Has worn well on our kitchen table
If an area gets damaged I have found that sanding/scraping then re-coating, you can’t tell the difference between the repaired and the original

Take a look at the Chestnut products website - - where you will find a huge number of past weekly newsletters which cover customer questions. You could also email Terry Smart at Chestnut with your question and I am sure he will reply in person with his advise. Hope you find it useful, Steve.

I’d suggest using a flat (matte) conversion varnish. It will not have the shiny, glossy appearance of poly, but it will be a hard, extremely durable finish. It may smell slightly while of gassing, but this only lasts a few days. I’ve used Danish oil before, but it never seemed to seal and protect the wood as well as it should. Choose Danish oil if you are confident that nothing will ever spill on the top.