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Thread: More Tung Oil Questions

  1. #1

    More Tung Oil Questions

    I didn't want to hijack Julio's thread so I thought I's start a new one.

    What is the correct process for applying pure Tung oil? My finished pieces look dull .
    George

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Conklin View Post
    I didn't want to hijack Julio's thread so I thought I's start a new one.

    What is the correct process for applying pure Tung oil? My finished pieces look dull .
    When I've used it I've put on a liberal coat with brush or clean rag (white T-shirts are great), let it stand 10-15 mins and wipe off as much as you can with dry rags.

    Don't expect to see a glossy surface after 1 application. In fact, you'll never get a true high gloss finish - not like Poly or hi-gloss varnish. I'm not sure how to get the glossiest finish, but I imagine it involves rubbing out and applying some wax. Depending on how porous the wood is, it could take 4 to 8 applications. With red oak it's just ridiculous - if you don't seal it first, you pretty much have to saturate the full thickness of the wood. Best to use a pore filler or at least a light coat of shellac on anything that porous.

    That's about as much as I can tell you. Oh, be careful with the oily rags - the stuff oxidises at an incredible rate and enough heat can build up for it to ignite (spontaneous combustion, I think they call it).
    Last edited by Ian Gillis; 02-12-2007 at 03:43 AM.
    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  3. #3
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    George,

    I've used pure tung oil once. At first I though never again. It was a built in cabinet of QSWO. I used a method similar to Ians - at least 6 coats, with 2 to 7 days dry time between each coat. Finally gave up and let it sit for weeks, maybe months. Very dull and disappointing finish. Then right before a holiday where we were expecting many guests I thought I must do something about this. I gave it a good coat of Liberon Black Bison neutral wax. It looked fantastic. Now I just hit it with that about once a year.

    Good luck with your project.
    rick
    "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

  4. #4
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    I have only used it on gunstocks where a low gloss satin finish was desired. Application was with bare hands. The rubbing and natural warmth help the oil to go deep into the grain and give the wood a pleasing appearance. It cures hard so enhancing the finish to give more sheen might be possible.

  5. #5
    George, my process is pretty much the same as the other fellows have indicated. Since tung oil doesn't provide much surface or uv protection, lots of hybrid formulae have been developed, both shop-made and store- bought. Although they may contain tung oil as one ingredient, they may also contain some varnish (to give it more surface & UV protection), some thinner to help it penetrate, and perhaps a japan drier to speed the set-up and drying. Unlike the straight tung oil, these require less, if any, recoating once the final finish is established.
    Years ago I used and liked Fornby's Tung Oil which was one of the hybrids. To improve the finish I would also give it a few coats of rubbing varnish which added greatly to the warmth and depth. Still like the rubbing varnish but it takes time and work to get a nice hand rubbed luster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    George, my process is pretty much the same as the other fellows have indicated. Since tung oil doesn't provide much surface or uv protection, lots of hybrid formulae have been developed, both shop-made and store- bought. Although they may contain tung oil as one ingredient, they may also contain some varnish (to give it more surface & UV protection), some thinner to help it penetrate, and perhaps a japan drier to speed the set-up and drying. Unlike the straight tung oil, these require less, if any, recoating once the final finish is established.
    Years ago I used and liked Fornby's Tung Oil which was one of the hybrids. To improve the finish I would also give it a few coats of rubbing varnish which added greatly to the warmth and depth. Still like the rubbing varnish but it takes time and work to get a nice hand rubbed luster.
    Gentle criticism here. Formby's Tung Oil is pure stuff, no 'hybrid' or additives.
    But Formby's Tung Oil finish is the mix with other additives.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Gentle criticism here. Formby's Tung Oil is pure stuff, no 'hybrid' or additives.
    But Formby's Tung Oil finish is the mix with other additives.
    Thanks Frank. It's many years since I've seen it for sale here in Canada and you are no doubt right that they are 2 different products, one with and one without additives. I really liked the 'with' , the luster and some protection it provided. Today there must be a kazillion brands and products, each with their followings.

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    Tung Oils...

    Hello George,

    "Pure" Tung oils will never produce a glossy finish, no matter how many coats you put on, or how long you wait. If you want a glossy finish and you want to use pure Tung oil, you need to be using one of the polymerised Tung oil variants. Pure Tung oils take a looooooooong time to cure, so if you really want anything more than a matte lustre, you should consider another product.

    One challenge with using a polymerized Tung oil is the colour of the product. It is a dark amber colour and this may be unacceptable to you if you are working with a light coloured timber. However, any timber that is of medium colour and darker should be a good candidate, as the colour of the finish will not significantly darken the prexisting colour of your timber.

    Polymerized tung oils dry faster, harder and are more durable than raw oils. In addition, polymerized oils produce a smooth glossy finish, whereas raw oils produce a matte sheen. This matte sheen is a result of the natural expansion that takes place during polymerization. This expansion creates a very finely textured surface that appears to the naked eye as a matte finish.

    If you would like to learn some more about oil finishes and the method I use for applying them in my studio, check out this article I wrote:

    http://www.woodturningvideosplus.com/oil-finish.html

    Good luck to you and best wishes in all of your woodturning endeavours! Take care.
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

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