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Thread: Tung oil on MDF?

  1. #1
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    Tung oil on MDF?

    I was going to put tongue oil on my MFT table (holy Festool table, no doesn't belong in church!). It has a MDF top with 20mm holes drilled all over the place for those who are not familiar with what it is.

    Any way, I am either going to wax the top or I thought of Tongue oil. Would the tongue oil cause the binders in the MDF any troubles or cause it to swell?

    Thanks!

    I just want to keep the top safe when I do occasional quick glue or put my coffee cup down on it.

    Brian
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  2. #2
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    Brian I have no idea what kind of table that is, and more experienced people than me will answer you, but people put tung oil on MDF all the time. Maybe some wax on top too.
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  3. #3
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    Brian, are you thinking of real tung oil, or one of the tung oil finishes? (Essentially a wipe-on varnish that may or may not have real tung oil in it.) Either one should work, but if you're using the real thing, keep in mind that it can take it a while (weeks) to cure. Also, neither the real stuff nor the "tung oil finish" varnishes are real durable. For something more durable, I'd suggest something like wipe-on poly, or even poly floor finish. Either the oil or water-based versions would hold up well to wear. I used water-based poly (Minwax Polycrylic) on a lot of my shop jigs and sleds and it has held up real nicely.

    Cynthia, here's an MFT (multifunction table):

    http://www.festoolusa.com/products/m...le-495462.html
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  4. #4
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    Vaughn I beg to differ with you on the durable of Tong oil finishes. Once they are cured there as tough as nails. My oil flint lock has seen many days in the woods , on the live in rain, snow and bounced around in the van in tents. And still has a tough hard finish. The Watco tong on oil finish when prepared and executed properly is as hard is not harder then most of Today's varnishes.
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  5. #5
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    About four years ago, I made a 'breakfront' cabinet for my sister, and since she was planning an upcoming remodel (likely granite counter tops), I made her a "temporary" top for it out of MDF, edged in oak.

    I finished the top with two coats of garnet shellac (for sealing, and for the color) and two coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. It actually came out looking a whole lot like leather.

    Anyway, so far she hasn't got the remodel even started, so the top is now four years old, and looks as good as the day I made it. I'd intended it to last maybe six months at most, but it's proven almost unbelievably durable.

    So yeah - tung oil finish over MDF will work very well.
    Jim D.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hawksford View Post
    Vaughn I beg to differ with you on the durable of Tong oil finishes. Once they are cured there as tough as nails. My oil flint lock has seen many days in the woods , on the live in rain, snow and bounced around in the van in tents. And still has a tough hard finish. The Watco tong on oil finish when prepared and executed properly is as hard is not harder then most of Today's varnishes.
    Dave said it before me. Pure Tung oil is very durable stuff and highly moisture resistant. My Brown Bess musket, made in 1976, has been through all the elements, neglect and abuse you can imagine and the tung oil finish is still unscathed.
    However, I believe it might soak into the MDF like a sponge. It might require many applications to seal completely. BTW, reapplication is something you can do with tung oil.
    I can't speak for the 'finishes' made with tung.
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  7. #7
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    I would use Shellac to seal the table , brush out thin each coat and then apply the tong oil. But start 50/50 for 3 coats and then 2 coats 75/25 and then 100%
    Watco is a decent furniture grade oil.

    Sand between coats with 320.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hawksford View Post
    Vaughn I beg to differ with you on the durable of Tong oil finishes. Once they are cured there as tough as nails. My oil flint lock has seen many days in the woods , on the live in rain, snow and bounced around in the van in tents. And still has a tough hard finish. The Watco tong on oil finish when prepared and executed properly is as hard is not harder then most of Today's varnishes.
    I agree that tung oil is a tough and durable finish, waterproof too, but it's relatively soft compared to most polyurethanes. Or at least that's what I've seen Bob Flexner say in his books.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  9. #9
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    We use mdf for beds on our molders and tried oil and it gums up and gets sticky. You are better off putting on a coat of wax and letting it soak in, then apply two more coats and it will stay nice and smooth. Plus nothing you spill on it will stick to it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I agree that tung oil is a tough and durable finish, waterproof too, but it's relatively soft compared to most polyurethanes. Or at least that's what I've seen Bob Flexner say in his books.
    Book knowledge is never as good as hands on Vaughn. My tong oil finishes are much harder then urethane finishes. Your old BLO and Toug oil finishes have stood the test of time. I would rather strip a urethane finish then I would an old BLO or Tong oil finish. The main difference is; Oil finishes get harder and harder with time where urethane finishes get to a harden point and that's it. So I would say it's the other way around from my experience.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

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