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Thread: Lee Valley Tung Oil

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Lee Valley Tung Oil

    I have another question after my Tried & True question. We have been on the road a lot and I have met several turners along the way. I saw a finish the other day that turner used from Lee Valley. He said it was actually Sutherland-Welles Tung Oil in a Lee Valley container. It is the Polymerized Tung Oil. I went to SW website and did a lot of reading on it. The bowls and HF's he used it on looked great and it did let the grain show really well. It also had a soft feel to it and he said it doesn't darken over time like linseed oil tends to do. He said it really works well on salad bowls as it is water, alcohol, food acid, etc. resist. He showed me some salad bowls he and his wife had used for 3 yrs or so a couple of times a week that still looked really good. He said he has just got in and tried the Millie's All Purpose Penetrating Tung Oil with citrus-derived solvent and beeswax which sounds like T & T but with Tung Oil. He said it is non-toxic and has only did a couple of bowls with it so no long term sense of how it will hold up.

    Has anyone used this Lee Valley finish or the Millie's and what are your thoughts on it? Thanks.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  2. #2
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    I tried it and wasn't overly impressed with the results. I suspect much of the problems may have been me (and how I was applying it), but I had a hard time getting an even sheen. Some parts of a piece would be glossier than others. I was putting it on about like I do a wipe-on varnish - wipe it on, then wipe off the excess a few minutes later. After three or four coats with the polymerized tung oil, I was still seeing inconsistencies in the finish.

    But take that with a grain of salt. I've seen nice-looking photos of pieces finished with the Lee Valley tung oil. There are also a few other finishes that a lot of folks get good results with that haven't worked for me. (Mahoney's Walnut Oil is another one like that.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Im not much help either because I have not used it but I have used Waterlox and I really like it.
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    what does "polymerized" mean?
    I used pure tung oil on a gun stock. The gun has had much exposure to the elements over more than 35 years. Finish is still good. However, it is not a bright shiny finish some desire. It is an excellent moisture resisting finish.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. Frank Polymerized Tung oil has been heated to a certain temp so that it dries faster. PTO will dry in 6 hrs or so where as pure TO, at least the stuff I have used takes forever. I had some pure tung oil and I think it took a month or more to dry.

    Vaughn I have been in contact with a couple of guys who use it as their main finish. They told me the biggest mistake made is that like on salad bowls sand to no more than 220 grit. He said most turners seem to have to sand to 400 or 600 grit and higher which they said will close the pores on solid hardwoods and the TO will not penetrate evenly. He said you can sand higher on woods like ash, oak, or any open grained wood because they will absorb it better than a closed grain wood. When I went to the Sutherland-Welles site they said the same thing. Apply the finish after 220 grit.

    Anyway I ordered a 250 ml can of Lee Valley Tung Oil sealer and a 250 ml can Polymerized Tung oil. I will experiment and see how it goes. What amazes me is on one site I had 187 views, another 87 views and this site 51 views and only Harold has come back that he uses it almost exclusively and Vaughn who has had trouble with it. I didn't realize that not many do use it. Like Harold told me in a PM on Woodturner's Resource that he uses it all the time said he thinks turners don't use it more because everyone wants a fast finish that can be completed in a day or less and not a week, maybe two or longer.

    Anyway thanks guys. It has been interesting and informative to say the least.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  6. #6
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    he thinks turners don't use it more because everyone wants a fast finish that can be completed in a day or less and not a week, maybe two or longer
    Probably a ver true observation. We have a club member that uses a CA/cutting oil (whatever that is) combo. He can apply and have a ready to go bowl in about one minute.
    BTW, his finishes are incredible.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Goodland, Kansas
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    Yep Frank it is probably CA/BLO combo. Makes a nice show bowl but not worth a hoot when used for food. Might hold up a month or so. I have seen salad bowls with that finish by a turner around here and yes they are gorgeous looking pieces but after a month or so of using these same salad bowl they look absolutely terrible.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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