Tung Oil

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Forum topic by spunwood posted 04-01-2011 07:18 PM 5494 views 2 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1202 posts in 2835 days

04-01-2011 07:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak finish finishing tung oil pure drying speed time decrease

I have been using Pure Tung Oil from the Real Milk Paint company. I love how it works, but again I have the same old concerns about proper drying and dry time. I am building picture frames, and want to be able to finish a piece from 1st coat to 3rd in at least 5-8 days. I use a lot of red oak, walnut, but also several other woods. So here are my questions:

1. Some people say that the mineral spirit/TO 50/50 decreases dry time, but requires more coats, so what is the point?

2. One person suggested I build a drying box.

3. Should I consider a different finish?

4. Is cure time different then drying time? I want to know when it would be safe to put a mat or picture in a frame and not risk giving it an oil stain!


-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

13 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)


10399 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 04-01-2011 07:25 PM

1. More control of the finish build

2. might be a good idea if you have the space

3. probably

4. yes. Curing can take months. When the finish is dry it will
continue to outgas for awhile as it cures, but it shouldn’t stain

View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3684 days

#2 posted 04-01-2011 11:37 PM

1. A thinned oil will penetrate some woods deeper than the thicker 100% oil. You might try thinning for the first application or two, then go to the full strength stuff.

2. No opinion.

3. The oil finish has stood the test of time. On a picture frame, it should be good.

4. I agree with Loren.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3059 days

#3 posted 04-02-2011 12:40 AM

An oil/varnish blend is more durable than Tung Oil by itself.

Use a faster drying solvent like VMP Naphtha. If you cannot find it, (due to EPA), then lacquer thinner would work also.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2835 days

#4 posted 04-02-2011 02:12 AM

Thanks, I’ll give it some thought. I really want to use as natural a process as possible.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3576 days

#5 posted 04-02-2011 03:28 AM

I think almost any finish is better than tongue oil. I know others use it but it is so outdated it takes for for every to dry and is not as protective as modern finishes. Many people recommend it because the old master furniture makers used it. They used it because that was one of only two or three of the finishes available back then and the others do not offer much protection either. The only one in use buy most furniture makers today is shellac .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3448 days

#6 posted 04-03-2011 02:22 PM

have you tried Waterlox….its a tung oil blend. seems to work very good when I’ve used it…..

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View gdpifer's profile


47 posts in 2679 days

#7 posted 04-03-2011 03:36 PM

My limited experience has been with finishing my oak flooring. I had used poly on the first rooms and wasn’t happy with the “plastic” look. I used the tung oil cut 50-50 with mineral spirits. I wiped on a coat and within a few minutes it had soaked in and the repeated 2 more times. The next day 2 coats and on the 3rd 1 coat. It then took about 10 days-2 weels before we began walking on it but it looks so much more natural and has been down now 5 years and still looks great. If you can wait on it to cure I’d recommmend it.

-- Garry, Kentucky

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2835 days

#8 posted 04-03-2011 03:41 PM

Thanks folks, your replies have been really helpful:

Jim: I am considering being more flexibile and following

Todd:’s recomendation to use Waterlox when time does not allow for drying.

Otherwise I am going to make sure to wipe off reside after soaking time, and if it isn’t drying to hand rub it to make it dry quicker.

I have some Johnson’s paste wax…does anyone know how to apply (how much, let it sit? how much wiping off or rubbing in)?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2835 days

#9 posted 04-03-2011 03:43 PM

Garry, I agree with your assesment and I also noticed you’re not too far from us! Neat.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3428 days

#10 posted 04-03-2011 03:51 PM

Re: Johnson’s Paste Wax

1. great for tool table tops
2. offers little protection on wood but, feels nice
3. we use a 0000 non oiled steel wool pad to apply over last coat of poly. Wouldn’t use it on Shellac or tung oil finish. JMO
4. can be left on for a few a few minutes to a few hours before buffing.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3288 days

#11 posted 04-03-2011 05:02 PM

the wax you have to let dry to a haze then buff, you can apply it useing a cheese cloth with a clump of it in the middle.
As for the tung oil wipe on let sit and wipe off a weeks time is more than enough time to let sit and dry/cure I use the same oil but from a different co.
you might want to give seal a cell and arm a seal a try both are tung oil blends or mixes you put on first to get the depth (seal a cell) the next adds protection like poly but witha clearer end result.
Hope this helps.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Loren's profile (online now)


10399 posts in 3647 days

#12 posted 04-03-2011 07:42 PM

Sam Malloof published a finish recipe I tried a few times. As
I recall it is equal parts tung oil, thinner, and polyurethane, but spar
varnish works too. His application method was the sort where
you wipe on the finish, wait until it starts to get tacky, then
quickly rub off all the excess.

After 3-4 coats of that, you’d topcoat with a wax.

Such finishes, done well, are delightful to touch, are easily
repaired, and have a low-key luster that appeals to customers
enamored of the look of “natural” wood.

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 3815 days

#13 posted 04-05-2011 04:59 PM

I’ve used the Maloof finish for years, on pretty much every piece of furniture i make. The secret with using tung oil is to realize that it doesn’t fully dry on its own. Or if it does it can take up to several weeks. The reason behind blending it with boiled linseed oil and polyurethane is that they both have metallic driers blended into them, this helps the tung oil to dry too. the oils give a depth to the wood that is unmatched and the poly offers a thin coat of protection without looking like thick plastic. you could probably add Japan drier to tung oil to help it set, i’ve never tried that but have heard people that do it. The 3 part mixture works for me and as my daughter says “daddy the woods so pretty and soft, i just can’t keep my hands off it.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

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