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  • Tung oil

    I've seen this referenced on several posts and would like to try it. Where do I find it ? How is it sold ( size ) ? Are there better brands than others ( in your experience ) or is it just sold as tung oil ? Should it be kept sealed in the dipping container or returned to the can ...disposed of after so many uses ....etc ? Any advice greatly appreciated ( as always )
    DW788 and Hawk 226

    " Please let me grow to be the man my dog thinks I am "

  • #2
    Tung Oil

    I must admit that I have not tried tung oil on fretwork, however I have used it to finish furniture that I have made and it is an excellent finishing product. I don't know of any brands that are better then others, just buy what you can find it will probably work fine. Of course the finer you sand the finish of your item the better the tung oil will work. I made furniture for the family 15 years ago that using tung oil, and it still looks great.

    Good Luck
    Richard Preator
    Peculiar Fretworks
    Richard Preator


    • #3

      Info Link

      Last time I was in my local BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant) home improvement store, there was a gallon can of generic tung oil on the shelf almost next to the Boiled Linseed oil (BLO). There was also a smaller tin of "Formby's" finish which I think is mostly Tung Oil plus extras. Link:

      My local ACE hardware store, while it is still in business, carries another generic brand of tung oil, but I forgot which one. Minwax also sells a version of tung oil. Google for tung oil.

      Tung oil, Danish Oil, Walnut Oil, are all lumped in with BLO as Oil based finishes. I think tung oil will look good on any project you apply it to. Just be aware, there is dry to touch time, and a way much longer "Cure" time for all oil based products.

      (aside: I have also use Mineral oil, from the drug store-Laxative area, as an safe oil based finish for a small project that might have food contact. It didn't look too bad. But it took a really long time to cure.)



      • #4
        not an expert by any means, ive used it from time to time

        pure tung oil is as thick as syrup, for me it was to hard to work with.
        most tung oil finishes, like minwax tung oil are mixed with other goodies, they go on much eaiser and give good results.

        The main reason im replying is to make sure you know if you use tung oil with rags DO NOT THROW THE RAGS INTO A PILE

        they will generate enough heat to burst into fire
        I take mine and hang them out side to dry

        if we all confuse you, just try some.......
        Pete Ripaldi

        "Insert Clever Tag Line Here..."


        • #5
          Tung Oil Finish and 100% Tung Oil


          A little about these two oils.

          Some "Tung Oil" is sold as a "tung oil finish" while others are sold as 100% Tung Oil or as China Oil.

          The 100% Tung Oil is unadulterated, it is pure it contains no solvents, no additive are added, this actually is the same as the "salad bowl finish" and can be used to coat food utensils like cutting boards, spoons and forks for mixing up the salads, etc. It is a natural "drying oil" that is used as a coating for fine furniture.

          The "Tung Oil Finish" can be any coating that contains any type of solvent, resins, oils, mettalic driers, as an example: Danish oil, Swedish Oil,Teak Oil, Walnut Oil, can all be considered Tung Oil Finishes, it is more of a name, because it don't even have to contain Tung Oil, it can contain boiled linseed oil and still can be called Tung Oil Finish.


          • #6
            Robert, you may have to go online to find pure tung oil, It's not to be found anywhere real close to me unless I want to drive 100 miles south or the same north Yup I'm right in the middle of nowhere! our local hardware stores and even Lowe's all carry Tung oil with additives such as Formby's, so when ever I find myself going North or South to the big cities I pick some up. But if you want to get it delviered to your door, try this link Good stuff for sure! It is what I use.
            But here are a few other good sites too,
            Find out the benefits, how to apply it, and what to use tung oil on.

            I prefer applying Tung oil by hand, I just rub it on to the wood, and not with alot of excess, if there is, i wipe it off with a rag, and dispose of it correctly. But really if applied by hand, you can easily control the amount being applied and evenly distribute it across your project. And as long as you keep the lid on the container, I've had Tung oil last in the can for years!
            Hope this helps some.......

            DeWalt 788

            aut viam inveniam aut faciam

            God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


            • #7
              Thanx guys, I thought this thread had pooped out

              Richard, Phil , Pete , Mac ...good info and links, thanx ....seems to be more to it than meets the eye ! most people refer to it's use when " dipping " but it seems they may be talking about finishes , not pure oil

              thanx for the links also, So you prefer the pure kind, not " finishes " ? I pretty much live in the sticks too ...heck, they pipe sunshine into here ( I've seen the pipes ! ) How do you deal with that thickness that Pete spoke of ? do you rub it into the frets also ?
              Do you then seal it with something or is it good to go with just the oil ?
              ....ahh so many questions
              DW788 and Hawk 226

              " Please let me grow to be the man my dog thinks I am "


              • #8
                I'm plenty happy with the Formby's tung oil. It helps with UV protection. You don't have to put any finish on top of tung oil, but you can, and I do, apply polyurethane (But not super gloss). Be sure to wipe that tung oil good, because any thick spots will create shine spots. Takes time for tung oil to fully harden, but unlike a polyurethane, dust is not so much a problem. If you are only going to use tung oil, I'd recommend about 3 coats at least because it is not as thick as polyurethane, but it will still give you about the same hardness when cured.
                Jeff Powell


                • #9
                  Beware that many finishes that call themselves "Tung Oil" actually contain little or no tung oil. I've never used it, but have heard that it takes a long time to dry. It isn't a protective film finish like a varnish or shellac, but it soaks into the wood and commonly used to make the grain pop. It darkens the wood and really accentuates the grain. This is often desireable for woods like cherry, but maybe not so much for lighter woods like maple where you are tying to maintain the natural color.

                  Pure tung oil isn't commonly available around here, but boiled linseed oil has very similar qualities and characteristics and is a lot cheaper.
                  Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


                  • #10
                    Danish oil

                    I use Watco for many of my projects and like the results. It is a "finish" so is not pure tung oil but it works well for me.



                    • #11
                      There are many articles online for making your own 'wiping varnish', which is what all these finishes are.

                      I get a nice easy 'natural' finish with a couple of coats of whatever followed by a rubbing with 0000 steel wool, using wax softened with some mineral spirits as a lubricant.



                      • #12

                        I am a Tung Oil (aka China Wood Oil) fan. Yes it is slow drying, in pure form it has a dank aroma (overcomed by mixing it with a citrus oil), I will only use a pure oil.

                        I bathe my work in a bath of oil, put it on a rack, once it has dripped off, wipe it to remove the surplus oil and set aside for 4-6 weeks. Only then will I do the fine finishing (up to 1200 wet and dry).

                        The advantages of Tung is that if the oiled surface is damaged it can be easily repair by the addition of a small quantity of the same or similar mix, the patina developed highlights the natural beauty of the timber and is compatible with many off the shelf retail products.

                        I hope this helps?

                        Tony Ward


                        • #13
                          Tung Oil

                          Hi Tony

                          I just read you post, and hope you don't take acception to my post, I hope others will try to see the other side of the story.

                          The reason, I choose your post was that you mentioned you allow 4 weeks of drying before you do your fine sanding. I do not know, how long others woodworkers wait before they apply their coatings. I do know, that many scrollers who use the "wiping varnishes" throughly wipe the oil after letting it drip. then allow the drying oil dry over night. The next day, they usally spray their pieces, without any problems.

                          I have heard many woodworkers including many scrollers who wait for weeks before they do their sanding, polishing, waxing, ect. I personally, I don't think, that it needs to be left that long before you need to start waiting.

                          Can you imagine, someone trying to make a living waiting that long before they can first start to finish each piece. I don't think, its practical, unless you have plenty of time on your hands (generally speaking)

                          Many finishing authors, will intentionally extend the dry times too be sure enough time is giving so there will not be a later problem, in some cases, if the editors are in doubt they may reccomend extending the drying times because of the differences in locations around the country so there is no problems.

                          I think, I would make up some samples, and then try reducing down the weeks to the least amount of time, pure tung oil take longer to dry then the other "oli finishes".

                          Tony, nothing personal in this post.

                          Sorry, for the long post, if your waiting more the 72 hours or a week, you may want to make up some samples, as time is money, unless you have plenty of time on your hands.

                          One man's opinon...


                          • #14
                            I have been using a brand of tung oil call Behr brand. I use it exclusively for finer fretwork, like my snowflake ornaments that I sell. The can says fully cured in 16-24 hours. I have shipped snowflakes that I have done after 2 days. Now the "pure tung oil" mentioned in a previous append may need much longer to fully dry. I "think" some tung oil and boiled linseed oil contains "dryers" that are a chemical added to aid in the drying process.



                            • #15
                              There is Tung Oil, and there is !00% Tung Oil...

                              Hi Gary,

                              Look, at your container to see if it says, 100% tung oil, just as "Linseed Oil" can be converted into a fast drying oil,the same can be done with the induction of metal driers into the tung oil.

                              The cans may say, "Tung Oil," but it will never state, 100% Tung Oil unless it really is..


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