The first step is to
strip the old finish using your favorite stripper.
Then wash the tote and allow it to thoroughly dry.
This tote looks a bit tired.
Then sand lightly with #320P or #400P paper.
Sanding too much will take off the “age” and that is not my
This is what your tote will look like when
stripped and sanded.
The next step is to apply a coat of boiled
linseed oil. The wood in this tote is about 80 years old and it
is very dry. I want some oil in the surface of the wood to make
it less brittle and less likely to crack. The oil also
accentuates the color and patina of the vintage wood.
Wet a rag with a little oil and begin to rub it
into the wood adding more oil to the rag as needed. Rub the oil
hard into the wood. Let the tote set about 15 minutes and wipe
off the oil. Continue to rub the wood with a clean rag until the
rag takes off almost no oil.
The idea here is to use just enough oil to
accomplish your goals. More than this is a waste. You need not
saturate the wood and let the oil set, keeping the surface wet
for 15 to 20 minutes as some suggest. This just makes a mess and
accomplishes nothing more than a light coat does. I have been
doing this for many years and have used the saturation method
many times. My method works just as well and is quicker and
WARNING LINSEED OIL SOAKED RAGS CAN
SPONTANEOUSLY IGNITE! TAKE THE RAGS OUTSIDE. LAY THEM OUT IN A
SINGLE LAYER UNTIL THOROUGHLY DRY BEFORE THROWING THEM IN THE
Let this oil coat dry for at least 5 to 7 days
before the next step.
The tote after the oil is dry.