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BLO vs. Tung Oil

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Forum topic by Beams37 posted 06-09-2015 02:39 AM 1303 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Beams37

163 posts in 658 days


06-09-2015 02:39 AM

Can someone give me a quick education on the difference? So far, the only difference I have found is that Tung has a normal chemical smell and BLO smells like bigfoot’s dick.

Thanks,

Josh

-- FNG ... On a quest for knowledge.


18 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#1 posted 06-09-2015 02:46 AM

Now i know what happened to Bigfoot and those horses from across the street!

Sorry, no clue.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Beams37

163 posts in 658 days


#2 posted 06-09-2015 02:50 AM

HAHA

Seriously, the BLO I have smells like a$$.

-- FNG ... On a quest for knowledge.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 954 days


#3 posted 06-09-2015 03:08 AM

I think Bigfoot had sex with your can. Mine smells vegetably and oily.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Ghidrah's profile

Ghidrah

667 posts in 690 days


#4 posted 06-09-2015 03:43 AM

I prefer Tung Oil, for the furniture I make, both work well, but I think a mix of raw and BLO does better regarding items kept outside, When ever I’ve tried to salvage a wooden threshold or fir decking, it’s raw/ BLO.

-- I meant to do that!

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Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#5 posted 06-09-2015 12:25 PM

Bear in mind a lot of things labeled “tung oil” these days is anything but. Real tung oil will say “100% tung oil” somewhere on the can. I actually can’t see much difference between them. Tung oil (raw) will dry slowly, may have a better resistance to moisture (after 5-6 coats), and probably doesn’t yellow as much over time as tung oil. It’s also usually a lot more expensive. Both are very poor finishes for anything (IMHO) and I see them as colorants or grain enhancers. Linseed oil (raw) dries even more slowly than tung oil, but the metallic driers added to the BLO version makes it dry fairly quickly. They are useful when mixed with varnish and MS to make a danish oil. Consider buying Bob Flexner’s book and check the chapter on oil finishes….it’s really well done.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 690 days


#6 posted 06-09-2015 04:59 PM

Fred,
Not so true about slow dry, absorption depends on humidity and temperature, the amount one attempts to rub into the wood, the length of time it sits before rubbing the excess off and the saturation point of the wood/species.

When I 1st began using Tung oil, (because I liked the tone and depth it gives to wood) I slathered too much on, left it on too long, didn’t give the coat time to absorb then repeated. Cool temps in the shop, (spring, no humidifier running) too many coats. Even though the surface felt dry, apparently it wasn’t, nearly 3 summers after the finish, (during the warmest days) we could smell the oil and find beads of it all over the bed frame.

Still my preferred for the species I work with but the sweating is history and the drying time between coats in general is about 48 hrs, oak, maple and PH takes longer than mahogany, walnut, poplar and fir.

I mix BLO and raw 75/25 to hasten absorption for exterior projects, more often than not I haven’t been able to truly rub it into aged and or damaged decking, people wait too long before getting protection, usually after someone takes a long splinter into a bare foot.

-- I meant to do that!

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Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#7 posted 06-09-2015 06:57 PM

I’m not following the part about “absorption”, they are both drying oils, which means they cure as they react to oxygen. Temps, humidity and so on do affect the curing time. But basically your waiting for a chemical reaction. Linseed oil has metallic driers added to speed the process up. Tung oil doesn’t, but as I understand it that’s more due to a bad reaction it has with metallic driers. there is some interesting reading on this right here. I know the author personally and he is quite knowledgeable on the subject.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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jdh122

879 posts in 2285 days


#8 posted 06-09-2015 08:21 PM

Tung oil is better than linseed oil in just about every way. Take a look at https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/get-more/tung-oil-debunking-myths, partway down in the article the author compares the two.
As for the use outside, tung is better than linseed there too, in terms of water-resistance and resistance to mold: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964830513002928 (only the abstract is available, but the results are clear).
More expensive, dries slower, but for me definitely worth using tung oil. Make sure and apply thin coats, wipe off every last little bit from the surface and check it again an hour later to make sure.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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knockknock

337 posts in 1641 days


#9 posted 06-09-2015 10:19 PM


... Make sure and apply thin coats, wipe off every last little bit from the surface and check it again an hour later to make sure.

- jdh122


I agree.

View esmthin's profile

esmthin

77 posts in 649 days


#10 posted 06-10-2015 05:00 AM



Bear in mind a lot of things labeled “tung oil” these days is anything but.

The same goes for BLO, the manufacturers can put anything they want in there.

-- Ethan, https://instagram.com/ethan_woodworker/

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7935 posts in 1848 days


#11 posted 06-11-2015 03:05 AM


Tung oil is better than linseed oil in just about every way. Take a look at https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/get-more/tung-oil-debunking-myths, partway down in the article the author compares the two.
- jdh122

That article amounts to a powerpoint slide saying tung oil is better. It may or may not be true but the author, Cynthia White, doesn’t cite any sources, list any personal credentials, or give any indication that her opinion is supported by any objective information.


As for the use outside, tung is better than linseed there too, in terms of water-resistance and resistance to mold: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964830513002928 (only the abstract is available, but the results are clear).
- jdh122

According to the abstract, tung was more effective at stopping white and brown rot fungi but it doesn’t say how much more; could have been 1% more effective.

My point being you are drawing conclusions that are not supported in the sources you cited.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Ghidrah's profile

Ghidrah

667 posts in 690 days


#12 posted 06-11-2015 03:18 AM

I would not use Tung oil for exterior projects without a sturdy protective coat, but why bother when linseed oil is available. When I’m looking for a matte finish it’s just Tung, which is more than fine for interior items, gloss or glass is a different story.

-- I meant to do that!

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 888 days


#13 posted 06-11-2015 04:49 AM

Well, Mr. Ghidrah, or anyone else who has an idea, or opinion, I’m considering a rocking chair project out of maple. What little I know about maple, I’ve read. I’ve not yet worked with it. No doubt, I’m probably opening a can of worms that may have several possibilities, which, on one hand, is a dandy situation. On the other hand, I’m just taking things a little at a time at the moment. I don’t want to alter the color of the wood any more than I have to when I finish it. And I’m concerned about yellowing. Would I be better off to use a natural color Danish oil, then maybe shellac & laqcour? Or is that ass backwards? Any ideas would be appreciated. The rocker will be inside, & I’m kind of thinking I’m wanting a gloss finish. Thank you, & enjoy the evening.

-- Sawdust703

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daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1043 days


#14 posted 06-11-2015 04:51 AM

Tung oil or China wood oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree.
Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, is a colourless to yellowish oil obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant.

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Retrovert

4 posts in 549 days


#15 posted 06-11-2015 05:17 AM

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out which to use for refinishing speakers (with walnut and mahogany veneer) and my kitchen table with dark cherry veneer. I still haven’t figured that out.

What I did learn is that most of what passes for tung oil is the same aliphatic hydrocarbons that are claimed to be BLO, but probably isn’t. I read lots of labels and MSDS’s for tung oil products and it seems they were just petroleum-based wiping varnishes which probably didn’t have any tung oil in them. The real stuff says 100% Tung Oil, costs four to eight times the price of the petroleum product, warns that it takes a few days for each coat to dry, and that it must be sanded between the five to seven coats required. The boiled linseed oil products have metallic oxidizers (drying agents) added so the stuff polymerizes in a few hours, but it isn’t clear that what is labelled as BLO really is pure BLO, either.

When drying agents are added to tung oil it reportedly leaves white spots on the finish. So I figured out that if the label has drying agents in it odds are good it’s not going to be tung oil because the two are incompatible.

I have enough surface to coat that a minimum of five coats per with two to three days of drying between them isn’t practical. So that would seem to rule out TO.

I’ve also read that BLO and TO require yearly maintenance coats because the finish oxidizes and that both are soft surfaces requiring a topcoat with poly. Is this true? If so, what is a good topcoat to use?

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