Drupes and Drupaceous Nuts as Tung Oil
So lets cut to the center of the fruit….like cutting to the quick, and talk about China Wood Oil, wood nut oil or just plain ‘tung oil’. And since we’re talking in the language of botany, maybe it would be best too first say that tung oil is not a true nut, but is a fruit that comes to us as a drupe or what is also called ‘stone fruit’. Definition of a drupe….stone fruit is: ’’a one-seeded indehiscent fruit having a hard bony endocarp, a fleshy mesocarp, and a thin exocarp that is flexible (as in the cherry) or dry and almost leathery (as in the almond)’’, from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary; drupes. Now to break that down some more and bring that stone fruit closer to home, let me just say that a drupe is a fruit with an endocarp layer that surrounds the seed. If this sounds confusing then also understand that endocarps are also surrounded by fleshy mesocarps….and then there are exocarps. Wow, and I thought we were just talking about tung oil….so don’t be a nut, but know your fruits. And yes, I suppose that if I was wanting to add to this, I could just say that what has been called wood nut oil….is really just short of saying false nuts.
Continuing on I can say that tung oil is my most used finish for wood and that there are times when the wood is soaked with only tung oil in multiple coats….and other times when it is used as the first level of finish, which then has other finishes applied afterwards. There are really no-secrets to tung oil, as all one needs is a willingness to experiment and adopt this finish in each situation that comes along….plus time, which to to my way of thinking means time to learn.
Do//did you know that what is sold by some folks as ‘tung oil’, has little to maybe no-tung oil in it at all? A lot of the big box store companies sell tung oil as labeled finishes when in truth, what you are buying is an oil//varnish mixture. These are more commonly sold as …. ... finishes and such, but they are tung oil mixtures with polys and varnish added. What does this mean….well, they will seal the wood after the first coat and all coats put on afterward will only build up more layers of coats….this is not pure 100% tung oil.
So if you are wanting an oil//varnish finish that is called tung oil….well go and pay for what being sold as such.
Pure 100% tung oil can be bought at Rockers and Woodcraft stores and it will say on the bottle….100% pure tung oil.
I buy my 100% pure tung oil from Hopes and to tell the truth I’ve never figured out why they don’t advertise their product on their site but then….? The reason I buy from them is that I can get the tung oil in gallons and it’s cheaper that way when buying many gallons, but even if buying one gallon, the price would be worth it over buying many quarts….
You must also understand that 100% pure tung oil is meant to be cut 50:50 with mineral spirits or gum turpentine….and to speed up the drying//curing process I will also add a couple of drops of Japan dryer which can be purchased at paint stores and hardware stores. I will usually mix a batch up, 1/2 gal. tung oil and 1/2 gal. gum turps and store in plastic white orange juice gallons which I save for this purpose.
I will also add the below information, if any should like to go and make up their own varnish mixtures instead of using that out of the can stuff. To my way of thinking why use out of the can, when I can mix my own and then comes the understanding that this is my mixture….I mean, not only did I do the woodworking myself, but the finishing of the wood is also mine.
If you are wanting a oil//varnish mixture with tung oil in it, then instead of paying for some company to make it and charge you for what is high price….why not make it yourself. I again use Hopes 100% pure tung oil, cut 50:50 with gum turps, plus the few drops of Japan dryer, (and yes, the recipe is on the bottle for cut) along with a good pure varnish such as coming from Benjamin Moore. You can by this in quarts….and again take the varnish and tung oil and mix together at a 50:50 cut. This will make a very nice wiping tung oil//varnish finish….dries fast so that you can do multiple coats in a short time. Just remember to wipe on with a lint free cloth rag….and if you’ve got to wipe of the excess, your putting it on too heavy. And yes, a little bit goes a long way, with other coats following.
Well lets continue on here as I’ve got to get this story on cyber-live-wire and so moving on I have black walnut which is in need of being coated with two coats of tung oil. From this picture one can see some of the other tools used in the tung oil process….latex gloves, paper towels torn small and the paper cup into which I will pour the china wood oil….
....here I have the wood, (black walnut) after the tung oil has been applied and after applying and letting set up, I wipe off any excess. I should go on at this point and mention to all that the left-over rags from the tung oil process are very much a fire accident waiting to happen. So I all-ways remove all the paper cups, gloves, rags and towels and either burn them immediately or I will soak//bury the left-overs in a container of water….and dispose of later….
....and then heres one with the sink siting in place….
Next I will be going after the sap wood there and so I will be showing how I used some tinted shellac to add some color before going on forward with several coats of shellac. I might mention also that this sink is one that my wife brought back from a trip to Mexico and is really made to be mounted as an under-the counter top-sink, however I was able to cut in the front of the counter top, right to the sink line at the over flow and therefore make this work for an above counter top mount. I mean lumberjocks can do any-thing right….?
’’....work smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood....’‘
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/