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Odd result with Tung Oil

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Forum topic by Don posted 12-15-2009 02:45 PM 4607 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don

494 posts in 1967 days


12-15-2009 02:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry finishing tung oil

Hey guys and gals….

With the thumb on the mend, I am able to still able to finish off another project I have for Christmas.

I’m applying a Tung Oil finish to a wall mounted Pool Cue Holder, made from Cherry.

First heavy coat went on like a champ and I wiped up the excess after about an hour.

After allowing it to dry overnight, I applied the second (lighter) coat but didn’t get to the wiping stage when I should have. Instead of an oily finish to it, the second coat formed a sticky residue. I had heard or read somewhere that if you don’t get to a second coat clean up right away, apply another light coat and wipe it immediately.

This seemed to work and I allowed it to dry overnight. When I went to look at it, I had a beautiful Cherry project with the ugliest wax-like residue on it instead of a nice smooth, slightly oily finish. To quote Jacques Cousteau, “I was aghast!”

Last night, I started literally scraping the finish off and I still had to use 0000 steel wool and Mineral Spirits to complete the job os stripping back to hopefully the first coat of oil.

Has anyone experienced this result working with Tung Oil before?

-- -- Don in Ottawa, http://www.donebydon.ca


17 replies so far

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

923 posts in 2108 days


#1 posted 12-15-2009 03:13 PM

I don’t wipe off Tung oil. I use the Formbys brand and it is a Tung oil/varnish mix so it does go through the tacky stage and then dries to a hard shine. I’m not sure what brand you have but yours may have some varnish in it too and it had reached the tacky stage. I do exactly what you do when I used BLO because it doesn’t have the varnish.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Julian's profile

Julian

880 posts in 2250 days


#2 posted 12-15-2009 03:17 PM

I like to wipe on, then wipe off. Sure it might take a few more coats to achieve the desired finish, but I don’t have to deal with the issue you have on your hands. Besides if you want a thick “finish” then tung oil isn’t what you want to use.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2852 days


#3 posted 12-15-2009 03:46 PM

Dale: Formby’s is NOT a “Tung oil/varnish mix”.
It’s a wiping varnish.

-- 温故知新

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15714 posts in 2943 days


#4 posted 12-15-2009 03:53 PM

I agree with Julian. I never let oil finishes sit before wiping.

Drgoodwood, you have me curious. Formby’s makes a product called tung oil finish which I always thought was a tung oil/varnish mixture like Dale said. Why do you say it’s not?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2852 days


#5 posted 12-15-2009 03:57 PM

Charlie: Formby’s is NOT oil.

-- 温故知新

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15714 posts in 2943 days


#6 posted 12-15-2009 04:05 PM

I’ve just been doing a little research on my own question about Formby’s tung oil finish.

I found an article by Bob Flexner which included it in the “not tung oil but wiping varnish” category. But I also found a post which said that the can specifically states that the product is made from a mixture of tung oil and varnishes.

Alas, Formby’s website does not list the ingredients.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

923 posts in 2108 days


#7 posted 12-15-2009 04:07 PM

drgoodwood, you are absolutely right, and I realize that it may actually have very little or no tung oil in it regardless of what it says on the can, but I did look at Don’s profile and he said he started woodworking a “few years ago” and didn’t give any indication of what brand product he was using. Since there are many more products labelled and marketed as tung which are actually varnishes than there are actual pure tung oil products, I thought my info might be helpful. Of course if he is using what he knows to be pure tung oil, then he could disregard.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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DaleM

923 posts in 2108 days


#8 posted 12-15-2009 04:22 PM

Charlie, you’re right about the can saying it is a mixture and contains tung oil. Here is what it says on the back of my can: “Formby’s Tung Oil Finish is a high-quality varnish made from a balanced blend of tung oil and other fine penetrating oils.” Other things I found said there is definitely oil in it, although only small amounts. I remember way back when I used it for the first time after using BLO in the past and thinking; Wow!, this dries really fast for oil. I think it is mostly thinner just like other wipe-on varnishes. There are at least a dozen brands of “Tung oil” that have little or no actual tung oil from what I just found although many do contain BLO or other oils.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2852 days


#9 posted 12-15-2009 04:28 PM

Formby’s is a solvent diluted oil-based varnish. While a tiny amount of tung oil is now used in the manufacturing of the varnish, i.e. alkyd resin cooked with various oils (mostly soya oil), it does not contain free (unassociated) tung oil. The varnish is highly diluted with solvent to produce a wiping varnish. It does not appear to be a blend of free oil and varnish. However, our lab results show that this product has been reformulated from its original at least once since it was first released and components used are not guaranteed to be the same. Older batches of this product contained no detectable tung oil.

Calling Formby’s product “tung oil” is like calling bread “yeast”.
Do you like butter and jam on your toasted yeast? <grin>

Don clearly stated “I’m applying a Tung Oil finish to a wall mounted Pool Cue Holder, made from Cherry.”

Of course with the constant confusion about the differences between real tung oil, oil-based varnish and oil/varnish blends; it’s a wonder that anyone can finish anything.

-- 温故知新

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1398 posts in 2189 days


#10 posted 12-15-2009 04:30 PM

I use minwax antique oil, which is an oil (BLO i think, by the smell) and varnish blend. I let the first coat soak in for along time – the wood drinks the stuff up at first, so I reload the surface as needed, for about 30 min. the second coat is a bit lighter, but i do let it soak in for about 30 min as well. unless the environment is really hot and dry, the surface is still loose enough to wipe down without leaving any heavy residue. it leaves just enough of a thin and uniform film to start building up the tiniest bit – which is what we generally want from an oil-varnish blend.

the finish don’s using has to be either a blend (or no real tung oil at all), have gone bad, or the environment is hot/dry or some combination. hmm…. i also wonder how long the 2nd coat was left to soak before wiping up.

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

923 posts in 2108 days


#11 posted 12-15-2009 04:34 PM

It was the “Tung Oil finish” part that made me think it might not be tung oil because that’s exactly what it says in big letters on the front of my Formby’s can “Tung Oil Finish”. And who doesn’t like toasted yeast?

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1398 posts in 2189 days


#12 posted 12-15-2009 04:35 PM

-sorry thread mixup

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1398 posts in 2189 days


#13 posted 12-15-2009 04:35 PM

doh, again! sorry!

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1158 posts in 2595 days


#14 posted 12-15-2009 04:40 PM

don , your finish would have eventually dried , but you are doing the right thing in cleaning it back, these hybrid oils , just dont have the driers needed to be applied in heavy coats, sometimes you can get buy with it on a first coat , because the wood absorbes alot of the oil , i apply oils by applying a good coat and wiping it back , i start wiping it back with in 10 min , then i let it dry , and apply a second and so forth , always wiping back , oils build in very thin layers , two of my favorite oils are Arm R Seal and Waterlox, and they too are hybrids , wiping varnish /tung oil and driers…(NOT Heavy Metal Driers), and they dry much quicker , i can do 2 coats a day , not sure about the formbys product , or others , the two listed are all I ever use , except for Seal A cell for grain popping…

View Ken Waller's profile

Ken Waller

90 posts in 1895 days


#15 posted 12-15-2009 05:07 PM

I use Minwax Tung Oil (also a varnish, tung oil blend) on all my turnings larger than wine stoppers. I apply it liberally but only let it sit 2-3 min then remove as much as I can with paper towels. I have always ended up with a great finish that increases in gloss with each application, peaking with 3 coats. Leaving the oil on too long before wiping (often the result of an interupting phone call) seems to result in some of the oil leaching out later then turning to sludge that has to be scraped/sanded off . I used to use pure tung oil but changed to get the harder finish and increased gloss.

-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

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