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Thread: Finishing Teak Table with Tung Oil

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Edmonton AB
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    Finishing Teak Table with Tung Oil

    Hi all,
    Looking forward to getting some of your expert opinions as I am a newbie and at a loss for how to make my table the beauty that I know it can be.

    Here's the story: I bought a lovely vintage, Danish-made teak table at ReStore. The finish was slightly shiny and I believe it was oil or wax because of the way it was balling at the edges. Also it would come off when a wet cloth was left on it (oops!).
    I took it down to the wood and then did 10 layers of pure tung oil using 0000 steel wool in between. Currently it is dry, very matte looking and feels very grainy. So...Its not exactly where I thought it would be since I had thought 6 layers would be sufficient.

    My questions:
    What am i doing wrong?
    How should the finished table look and feel?
    How many layers will it need? More than 10?!

    I know that another finish (like varathane) would be sacrilege so I am dedicated to figuring out this tung oil thing. Any advice/opinions would be very welcome as I have scoured the internet and found little.

    Thanks!

    kate

  2. #2
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    Hi kate and welcome.
    When i took a class with sam maloof he showed us 2 finishes. One was a combination pure tung oil boiled linseed oil an wax in equal parts. The second was tung oil linseed and wipe on poly again in equal parts. he said the wax mixture was to soft for table tops and said he used the poly mix. He said he would do two coats per day for 5 days letting the finish dry for two days between coats. I have followed this schedule ever since.
    I am sure others will chime in with their favorite finish.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Hi Kate and welcome aboard. Glad you found us. I'm not an expert. My few tung oil projects have dried to a smooth satin finish with a couple of days in between coats. Never done more than six coats. Some pictures of your finish might help assess what's going on. What were your expectations? Smooth satin, glossy??

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the forum, Kate. Cynthia White has experience with tung oil finishes. Maybe she'll chime in.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Kate. Cynthia White has experience with tung oil finishes. Maybe she'll chime in.
    Welcome Kate! Vaughn, I already told Kate this was beyond my skill. I recommended she come here and get some help from some more experienced folks that me! I'm hoping Dave Hawksford and some of the refinishing experts will chime in.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  6. #6
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    Welcome Kate! Also waiting on Dave to chime in.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Edmonton AB
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    Thanks for your comments. What an awesome little community you have on here.

    I hope the attachments work.
    This is a photo of 'before' - when i first bought it. It had a sheen to it. I am hoping to get back to that finish. The second photo is how it is currently - beautiful wood but matte.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
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    Yorktown, Virginia
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    Kate,
    FWIW, I found this on a manufacturer's site... "Pure Tung Oil's matte finish will do nicely on certain pieces of furniture, but if a glossy finish is preferred you will need to buff and wax the finish....". Sounds like it might work to give you some sheen and wouldn't be harmful to the finish if the result wasn't what you wanted. Also, check out this thread over at SMC on using Abralon pads to polish out a finish. It was used on Waterlox, but point was that the Abralon pads resulted in a nice finish without the danger of rubbing through the finish.
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...93#post2344293
    Last edited by Ted Calver; 12-08-2014 at 06:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Calver View Post
    Hi Kate and welcome aboard. Glad you found us. I'm not an expert. My few tung oil projects have dried to a smooth satin finish with a couple of days in between coats. Never done more than six coats. Some pictures of your finish might help assess what's going on. What were your expectations? Smooth satin, glossy??
    Sorry for the delay in responding. Apparently newborns require a lot of attention! Ted, what type of project did you do where the tung gave you a satin finish? That's what I'm going for. Also, did you use pure tung, polymerized tung, or did you mix it with anything?
    I'm hoping tung can do the job without having to add wax.

  10. #10
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    Sorry totally missed this.

    It is much easier to thin the tung 50/50 and a apply 4-5 coats and finial 2 coats 100"% sanding between coats with 400 gr , you need to brush it out. very little will go along way. If it is clouding up on you you will get hazing. It means you putting to much on. Tung oil is a product that I like to put on with a damp rag on thinner and rub in the oil.
    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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