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Stupid question on cabinet finishes


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I do that all the time, although the rep at Howard said not to but I think he thought I was using RAF over a hard finish. For oiled finishes it works well.

I think the RAF sort of evens out the finish before using Watco.

BUT they are 2 very different products. The RAF is not intended to be a finish. Howard recommends applying a wax (theirs of course) but Watco Danish Oil works very well. So does Minwax Antique Oil if a harder/glossier finish is desired.

Hope that's helpful.


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One of the ingredients in RaF is heavy parafinic, an oil derived from petroleum that has a "moisturizing" effect on wood and finishes. It can also have the effect of preventing new varnish or lacquer finishes from adhering well to the surfaces it's used on. Penetrating oil finishes will usually displace parafinic with new oil, so not as big a problem, though uneven oil penetration can still result.

Watco and other "danish oils" are blends of oil and varnish, so the oil component may displace the parafinic in the wood and allow the varnish to adhere. Or it may not.

If you're going to put another finish on, then RaF is a waste of money and an unnecessary risk. You don't need to "moisturize" wood you're going to put a new finish on. Just clean it with some mineral spirits first. The wood will be just as clean, there won't be any danger of poor finish adhesion and mineral spirits are a helluva lot cheaper.

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I guess I walk a different path. I use Howards as a stain and love it. I prep and sand the cabs....stain with Howards with a small brush...working it in. I sometimes do two coats...and hardly ever wipe it down...let it dry for two days...and spray two to three light coats of poly satin. I let that dry for two days. My keepers get a coat of paste wax. My first pair of AR3a's are ten years old now. They still look new and have never touched them since.

I have done over thirty-forty pairs of speakers this way with nary a problem. It is quick and final...and my customers love the look.

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Gene's post ran up a red flag for me. Hearing paraffic (i.e. wax) is almost as bad as wood cleaners/polishes with silicones. Difficult to remove. I know toluene will etch wax and perhaps mineral spirits will aid in removing it. I suppose if Howard's is all your going to use then it should be OK; BUT the use of another oil or oil based product will create issues.

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