Linseed oil is used as a wood finish while turpentine is used as a solvent when dealing with woodworking projects. Linseed oil has a yellowish color while turpentine leans more towards an amber color. Linseed oil is made from flax seed while turpentine is made from the sap extracted from the long leaf pine or slash pine.
Linseed oil can be used as a binding agent for linoleum floors, as an ingredient in putty, and as a paint additive for artists. Do not get linseed oil and flaxseed oil confused. Flaxseed oil can be used as a dietary supplement. Flaxseed oil is an omega-3 essential fatty acid. The alpha-linolenic acid is good for the heart. It is also good for the immune, nervous, reproductive, and circulatory systems.
The linseed oil is made by the flaxseed being heated and chemically treated. Flaxseed oil is a cold-pressed linseed oil. Linseed oil is not consumable due to the chemical additives.
Turpentine can be used as the starter for menthol camphor. These ingredients are found in cold and cough medicine. Small amounts of turpentine are used in some gums. The most common use for turpentine is as paint thinner or solvent. There is some evidence that the oil resin used for making turpentine may help in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, sclerosis and immune responses.
Turpentine is an excellent product to use when looking to use a solvent in woodworking. It cleans paintbrushes, non-porous surfaces, and human skin with ease. Other solvents include mineral spirits, lacquer, acetone and gasoline. Turpentine is inexpensive and easily purchased at any local home improvement center.
Linseed oil is an alternative to lacquer and varnish as a finish for a woodworking project. The linseed oil creates a smooth hard surface when dried without dripping or becoming lumpy like some varnishes. The oil is absorbed into the wood pores and creates a shiny surface without loosing the integrity of the wood grain. Several coats of linseed oil are needed to achieve a nice surface. Drying time between coats is long so patience is required. The hard surface withstands scratches and dents.
Both linseed oil and turpentine are highly flammable. Linseed oil may spontaneously combust. This includes the residue left on the clothes used to apply it to the surface of the wood project. All clothes should be opened and laid flat to dry. Never place clothes used to apply linseed oil in the dryer.
What is Linseed Oil?
Linseed Oil as a Woodworking Finish
Chemical Safety Data: Turpentine
6 Tips for Mixing Turpentine