Continued testing finishes for curly cherry started with varnishes and shellacs. Having read much about how tung oil brings out chatoyance, I applied for comparison one coat each: (a) 2 lbs. cut ruby shellac, (b) pure tung oil from Woodcraft, and ( c) Bulls Eye seal coat from Zinsser.
The shellacs gave good chatoyance without much blotching. The oil initially gave quite a depth, chatoyance and color, more than the shellacs. However, some spots became quite dark, so the sample (b) appears blotchy; the depth and chatoyance of the figure later almost disappeared, the color contrast stayed.
Oil application: I rubbed the 1:1 mixture of tung oil and paint thinner into the surface, then rubbed again where it got absorbed into the grain for the next 15 mins., and finally wiped the oil completely off.
I did this about two weeks ago. I kept the board in the garage and every day wiped off whatever new drops of oil wept back onto the surface from the grain. It looked as if the oil would never cure: the surface was always oily. This morning I put the board outside thinking it would speed up the curing process.
By the evening tiny drops of oil again wept back from the grain… But they have hardened and can’t be wiped off! And the entire tung oil sample no longer feels oily.
Two weeks in garage did nothing and one day in the sun/wind did the job?
The cured(?) tung oil sample feels rough, as if the grain was raised, asking for some sanding. Does tung oil need moisture for curing?
Right now the tung oil doesn’t look better than the shellacs. It’s blotchy, of darker color, barely any chatoyance, the grain is raised. It doesn’t even look good enough to be an option as a finish. Considering that some swear by pure tung oil, confusing…
-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."