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Thread: wipe on varnish formula

  1. #1
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    wipe on varnish formula

    Im going to be finishing this old beam for the mantel im building.

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...beam-reclaimed

    I don't want a film finish but pure tung oil takes too long to dry on its own. Here is what Im considering.
    A mix 1/3 tung oil, 1/3 turps and 1/3 epifanes varnish. (I know, generic mix) apply 3 or more coats sanding 320 - 400 between. Finished with either bees wax or boston floor wax as a top coat, buffed to a satin sheen.

    Thoughts? Pointers?
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  2. #2
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    Rich, my opinion: tung oil won't do anything that linseed oil won't do, and BLO will cure more quickly. The other thing (just a personal preference) is that turpentine has a very strong smell, using MS will reduce that some. So, I think what you want to do is fine...but I'd change to a BLO/MS/varnish mix and use it. The other thing is that Epifanes is an excellent varnish, an alkyd resin marine spar, intended for outdoor use. You could substitute Pratt and Lambert 38 (also an alkyd resin, but with a soya oil for the oil component) if you can find it. Back to your question: tung oil (and all drying oils) cure be reacting with oxygen. Adding things to them (except metallic driers) generally doesn't speed up the drying, though adding varnish could cause the varnish to tack up and give you a dry-to-the-touch effect (and that may be what you want). The reason the BLO cures more quickly is that is has the metallic driers added. You can accelerate the process with a little warmth, and a fan blowing a gently across the surface.

  3. #3
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    Rich I've used the same mix as Fred on quite a few tables made from logs, bowls, and a few other things. It's basically the same as any name brand danish oil, but cheaper to mix yourself. I'm pretty sure that is the same as Sam Maloof used on his chairs as well.
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  4. #4
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    If you just looking for a quick finish that will not give you a film, use 50% Minwax tung, and 50% thinner. Couple 3 coats and your done
    Last edited by Dave Hawksford; 01-06-2015 at 06:28 PM.
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  5. #5
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    For that type of finish, I use BLO/Naphtha/Polyurethane in a 1/1/1 ratio. I prefer naphtha because it flashes faster than MS.
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  6. #6
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    sounds almost like the finish i use on my pens and pencils. blo/dna/shellac.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Bower View Post
    Rich I've used the same mix as Fred on quite a few tables made from logs, bowls, and a few other things. It's basically the same as any name brand danish oil, but cheaper to mix yourself. I'm pretty sure that is the same as Sam Maloof used on his chairs as well.
    Sam's formula was similar. Here's a quote I found on the web, but Don Baer may have more details, since he's talked to Sam about such things:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Maloof
    It is a mixture of one-third linseed oil, one-third raw tung oil, and one-third semigloss urethane varnish. I apply it generously and then rub it off completely so there isn't a wet spot left anywhere. I let it sit overnight and then add another coat. The process is repeated about 4 times. Then I make a batch of finish that is half linseed oil and half tung oil with some shredded beeswax mixed in. I put two coats of that finish on, and the chair's finished, ready to be used.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Noren View Post
    sounds almost like the finish i use on my pens and pencils. blo/dna/shellac.
    Using poly (or some other varnish) will be more durable than shellac.
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  8. #8

    Re: wipe on varnish formula

    Would Japan drier accelerate the curing of pure tung oil in this application? Just wondering since tung doesn't darken as much as blo does.

    Sent from my T0LTE using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
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    Thanks all. Im going to go with the Epifanes and tung oil mix. Years ago I used BLO and found its not very durable. Havent been a fan of it since. Ive always liked the look tung oil gave and the Epifanes is tung oil based so.... I like Maloof's recipe and this is similar sans the linseed oil. Ill post pics when its done. Oh I also have a small countertop to make in the room from another couple of beams I got out of an 18th century horse barn. Havent cut into them yet but going to very shortly.
    Thank you again for your ideas and input.
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  10. #10
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    First coat .25 Epifanes .25 pure tung oil .50 mineral spirits. brushed on let it soak in kept applying over areas that soaked it up quickly, let it flow into the checks and holes. then wiped it as dry as I could get it. Left it sit for about 24 hours and just applied second coat. Which was 1/3 Epifanes 1/3 tung oil and 1/3 mineral spirits. After sanding with 220 by hand and wiped down.
    So far so good. Its drying nicely and really bringing out the beauty of the old wood.
    Last edited by Rich Soby; 01-11-2015 at 03:04 PM.
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