When should you use Tung oil for wood finish

What is Tung Oil

pure tongue oil is made from the nuts of the tongue tree. tongue trees are found in Asia and South America and the oil has been used as a wood finish for thousands of years. It remains popular today because in its  pure form Tung oil is more durable than some other natural finishes such as linseed oil. It does add a slight amber hue to light colored wood but it doesn’t darken over time or go rancid like linseed oil might, it is also food safe and water resistant it’s also Eco-friendly and it doesn’t put out harmful fumes when you apply it. Pure Tung oil really is one of the most beautiful natural wood finishes around.

Pure Tung oil is pretty thick almost like honey it soaks into the wood fibers very slowly it also dries very slowly requiring a great deal of time between coats like linseed oil a pure Tung oil finish. It also must be maintained through regular application every few months or it’ll begin to look dull and dingy.

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How to apply Tung oil

It can can be applied with a brush or a cloth but since pure tongue oil is so thick I think a brush is less messy. Whether it’s pure or a blend you want to flood it on liberally and give it time to soak into the wood, watch for dry spots to appear and add a little more. A first coat may take several minutes to fully saturate the wood when it doesn’t appear to be soaking in anymore wipe off the excess with a towel.

How long should you wait to recoat Tung oil?

It really depends on the blend, if it is pure Tung oil it dries very slowly because it must react to the oxygen in the air and harden rather than evaporating, so you may need to wait at least three days before the second coat. If it is a Tung oil blend it may be as little as a few hours to a day, it all depends on how much Tung oil is actually in the bottle so make sure to read the description on the label.

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Time to re-coat the Tung oil

You should first lightly sand with about 300 grit, this will smooth out any surface imperfections and create a mechanical bond between this layer and the next that you put on top. After the first coat each successive coat won’t soak in nearly as much because most of the pores were filled during that first coat. Keep repeating the process for as many coats as you wish to apply. Don’t rush it if your sandpaper gums up it isn’t ready to recoat. Rushing a pure Tung oil finish will lead to something that looks like wrinkles in the finish as it puckers and raises.

How many coats of Tung oil do you need?

It depends on what finish you are looking for, I would do a lot, as much as perhaps five to seven or even more

Should I use Tung oil as as my finish?

It really depends on your project, if your not in a hurry and like an all natural finish Tung oil could be absolutely be worth your time!

About the author

All my life, I enjoyed doing things with my hands and interacting with nature. I'm a self-taught carpenter, an angler, a hunter, an outdoorsman, an engineer, and an avid hiker. Not as agile as I was in my former years, I've decided to spend more time putting my experiences on paper.

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