Tung Oil Finish

I read in one of the posts in this section where someone put 2 to 3 coats of rub on poly on top of 6 coats of tung oil - My question is why?

I am under the impression that tung oil will build up and create a hard, glossy finish. Will the poly enhance the appearance?

Also has any one used Hope's 100% Tung Oil? The can says it wipes on like an oil and drys like a varnish It has the texure of Karo Syrup!The directions say to apply a lite coat with a rag and immediately wipe off the excess with a dry clean cloth. Check frequently for seepage and continue to wipe dry.Lighty rub with fine steel wool between coats. Do not put more product on than the wood will absorb.

It's very fast drying and is doing a beautiful job. I'm using it on canary wood and juniper. The problem is I can't remember where I bought it and can't find anyone who sells it. I've written a letter to the company in Missouri for a list of vendors.

Thanks for any input I can get

Jiggs Elphison
 

Tony Baideme

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I was under the impression that "100% tung oil" dried slowly, whereas "Tung oil FINISH" which is altogether different, dries faster. But, to my knowledge (which may be limited on this subject) this finish has NO Tung oil. (or maybe minimal amount)

I agree that from what I have read, pure Tung oil can produce a beautiful and durable finish without the need of overcoating.

Since I have not yet used pure Tung oil, I can't say what the differences are. We should hear from some of the more knowledgable members soon.

I'm interested.

Aloha, Tony
 

Frank Fusco

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I finished an antique style muzzle loading musket (Brown Bess for the purists amongst us) with pure Tung oil in 1976. The stock is walnut. Don't remember if it dried slow or fast or what the brand was but I made sure it was the pure stuff. To this day, the finish is there much like it was 32 years ago. Very durable and moisture resistant. And, this boomer has been used extensively in bad weather conditions.
 

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Al killian

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The reason many ad poly over it is to increase its durabilty. Tung oil soaks into the wood, poly on the other hand sits on top of the wood and adda extra level of pertection.
 

Al killian

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Tung oil is soft and sit in the wood like stain. Tung oil "Finish" has a blend of oils and poly in it and will make a hard finish. Poly will stick to anything if the surface is prepped by a ligth sanding.
 
Tung Oil

Thank you Frank for the leads to where I can purchase it - I "surfed" the net and came up empty handed.

Now that the product is available to see (at least the advertisement) can someone please tell me is it 100% tung oil or is a wiping varnish.

I apologize for dragging this post out so much, but not being the brightest light in my shop, I'm trying to learn, (or get brighter) and I can think of no better venue but here.

Again I thank all contributors.

Jiggs Elphison
 

Frank Townend

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Jiggs you are most welcome, happy to help.

As I was looking for sources for Hope's I saw references to a couple of different brands of 100% Tung Oil. I'll continue looking in a little bit, but you may be able to find those discussions. My understanding is Hope's 100% Tung Oil is exactly that, nothing else in the bottle.

Lots of folks like it but say it is hard to find.

I think I read that Hope's makes something called Tung Oil Finish which does have other things in the bottle.

Also there are several supplies of 100% Tung Oil, including Rockler, WoodCraft, and others.

I need to run to my dinner, but if you find more, please post it.

Before I go, I want you to get away from apologizing for "...dragging this post out so much..." We all learn from every post (I learned from you enough to get interested in helping you find Hope's) and what we put in this post may help a Family member in the future.

TUNG OIL HISTORY: Pure Tung Oil was and is one of the first truely "Green" finishes. It is all natural and contains zero VOC's. Pure Tung oil (China wood oil) is an all natural finishing product that provides a tough, flexible and highly water-resistant coating. It is classed as a drying oil along with linseed, poppy seed, safflower seed, walnut, soybean, oiticica and a few other oils. Although it is relatively new to the Western world, tung oil also known as chinawood oil has been known for centuries to the Chinese, and until this century, China was the main source for the oil. It comes from the seed of the tung trees, Aleurites fordii and Aleurites montana, deciduous trees that are very susceptible to frost damage. This vulnerability has restricted the cultivation of the tung trees to China and South America. Tung oil (china wood oil) received wide application in China: in the building trades as a treatment for both stone and wooden structures; in marine trades as a preservative and water repellant on wooden boats. It is said to have been introduced to the West by Marco Polo. From the 13th to the 19th century, tung oil had only limited use in the West. More recently, tung oil has gained favor over linseed oil for wood finishing because it is faster drying and does not darken as much with age.
 
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Frank Townend

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Absolutely Jiggs!

Very good article, filled with a lot of good helpful information. Thanks for sharing. I bookmarked it for future reference.

One thing I noticed from the little reading I did looking for the Hope's is 100% Tung Oil does take a bit longer to dry, and another thing is to look at the Material Safety Data Sheet for the different listed products. (Like this one for Rockler's Product) If it is 100% it won't have any other ingredients listed.
 
Tung Oil

There is nothing listed on the label regarding ingredients.

The label has this statement:

Hope's is pure 100% Tung Oil. It is not "thinned", contains NO petroleum distillates. On small projects it can be used as it comes from the container, however, when working on a large surface or in high humid y areas, you should thin this product with an equal amount of mineral spiris such as paint thinner.

There are several mentions that the oil should penetrate, and after applying you should immediately wipe off any excess oil. Check later and wipe off any oil that has "seeped" up again (note: always wipe off as much oil as possible before allowing to dry)

IMPORTANT: Do not apply more coats than the wood can absorb!


As I said I'm useing it on canary wood (very hard) and juniper (soft) following the above instructons, using costs from medium to heavy it seems to dry with in 4 hours, although i apply it in the AM and let it sit for 24 hours between coats.

it really looks great

Jiggs Elphison
 

Ian Gillis

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Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore
Hi

Just to add another source to the list. Lee Valley sells both pure and polymerized tung oil. Here's a link to their info on the subject.

http://www.leevalley.com/shopping/TechInfo.aspx?c=1&type=a&p=42094

The only other thing I can tell you about using pure tung oil is that it takes a several applications and drying (curing) cycles to build up a thick finish. Some people recommend sealing wood, especially porous wood to get a quicker build. A very dilute/thin coat of shellac (can't tell you what "cut" that is) or a spray bomb of sanding sealer will accomplish this.

If you use tung oil on red oak without sealing it first, you better lay in an extra gallon or two -- sucks it up like a sponge.
 

Bill Lantry

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Inside the Beltway
I finished an antique style muzzle loading musket (Brown Bess for the purists amongst us) with pure Tung oil in 1976. The stock is walnut. Don't remember if it dried slow or fast
Frank,

Based on my experience with the 100% pure stuff, if you finished it in 1976, with the real article, I promise you: It's *still* not dry...

Better give it a few more years... ;)

Seriously, I will never, ever, ever use that stuff again. Anyone who wants the bottle of it I still have, it's free for pick up... Don't bother rushing, it'll still be around when the glaciers melt...

And that piece *still* won't be dry... ;)

Thanks,

Bill
 

Ed Gerhard

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PA
Interesting link Jiggs. Thanks for that.

My 2cents on tung oil:

Pure tung oil (Frank describes its history) is very slow drying, and doesn't build well. Polymerized tung oil is an improvement on both these characteristics. Tung oil cures by a cross-polymerization of molecules, and "cooking" it speeds up this process. That's polymerized tung oil. It usually has solvents added to help it penetrate into the wood, and driers to help with the curing time. Some mfrs add resins to increase hardness. My favorite PTO is from Sutherland Welles, and their website is a wealth of information on it. BTW, the PTO that Lee Valley sells is Sutherland Welles, private-labeled for them. They use the "cleanest solvents and lowest toxic driers available", as they say on their website. It ain't cheap, but it works great. You can use it as a wipe-on or a brush-on. The build is faster with a brush, but apply the thinnest coat you can. After two brushed on coats it can be rubbed out with rubbing compound.

One difference between polyurethanes and polymerized tung oil is that the PTO layers will cross bond with previous layers, while urethanes just sit on top. An advantage of this is if the surface gets dinged, a PTO finish is easier to repair. Urethanes are probably harder, although that issue tends to be in the how high is up category. Urethanes have a more plastic look in my opinion, but I've discovered that finishing involves a lot of subjectives and opinion. To each his own applies here.

As for the original question, one reason that comes to mind for applying poly over tung oil is perhaps it was felt the tung oil would penetrate better, and the poly would surface-protect better. Also the tung oil imparts a honey-gold hue (I particularly like it on cherry), and can take the place of staining (can never understand why someone would take the time to build something from a beautiful wood like cherry and then stain it...oh well, to each his own).

Cheers.
 
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