We were warned when we decided to have wooden worksurfaces in the kitchen that they would need oiling every six months or so. Of course that would be 'no problem' - and off course it was. For the first year I oiled away merrily (actually un-merrily I hated the job) and then I let it drift.
Five or six years of no oil later and our kitchen worksurfaces were in a state. The water had got into them, staining them black, and the oiled bits had become hard and patchy. There was only one thing for it - sort it out.
Of course I didn't want to go back to oiling, so I spent four or five hours happily sanding out the stains by hand and removing the old oil. I couldn't quite bring the wood back to pristine condition, but hey - let's call that character, a little bit shabby chic, rustic charm, and nothing to do with negligence.
In honesty though I did do a pretty good job and by the time my hands were as rough as a badger's arse (are they rough and who would know and how?) the wood was looking far healthier. Instead of oil I then brushed on Polivine dead flat decorator's varnish, three coats of gentle going along the grain with a very good brush. Now, not only do the worksufaces have what appears to be a beautiful a wax finish but it's also completely waterproof.
If I ever do captain a wooden ship that is what I am going to use. Polyvine, so much easier than oil.