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MinWax -- "Natural Wood Finish" VS "Tung Oil Finish"

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 569 days ago 4451 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HorizontalMike

6700 posts in 1415 days


569 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: stain minwax wood finish finishing maple

OK the title pretty much sums up my question. I use Minwax oil-based products on all of my projects. I have used Minwax Stain/Finish (Walnut, Golden Oak, Provincial, Cherry, etc.) and overlaid with their Tung Oil Finish wipe on varnish as the final coats. All areas were treated with the Minwax Precondtioner prior to staining.

What I do NOT understand is their “Natural” Wood Finish and HOW or IF it differs from their “Tung Oil Finish” product. Testing on Soft Maple and Soft Maple Plywood, shows no visible difference between these two products. Granted, I have only done single preliminary coats on scrap.

What would be the benefit to use the “Natural” Wood Finish first? FWIW, blotching does not seem to be an issue with either product, since neither seems to actually “stain.”

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."


22 replies so far

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HorizontalMike

6700 posts in 1415 days


#1 posted 568 days ago

Additional question—Does one product help “Pop” the finish better than the other?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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IsaacH

128 posts in 597 days


#2 posted 568 days ago

I think you’re using two products that do basically the same thing. The only difference may be the formulation. Tung oil is a natural product from the nut of the tung tree. Most of minwaxes other oil finishes are petroleum oil based. I have found in wood turning that tung oil will build better with several coats. “Oil stain” products tend to just keep soaking in and dont really ever build into a thick finish. I’d just go with one or the other. I can’t tell a difference in the “pop”.

FYI….note that tung oil comes from a NUT….people with severe nut allergies can have reactions to it. Happened to my cousin who was hanging out one day when I was using some. He never even touched it…the vapors got to him and he had to take benadryl. Almost took him to the hospital!

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#3 posted 568 days ago

Mike:

The “natural” wood finish is just a color variety of that stain, specifically color 209. It just means that it’s more clear than the other choice in that “finish.” But it’s just an oil stain. The word “finish” is pretty deceiving, implying that it has some poly or something in it or that it can be the “last” of what you should do. According to the product data sheet, it does not…and if it did, it’d be too much like their Polyshades…which we know is canned crap. Likewise, it’s their only real line of oil-based stains, so I doubt they’d put actual varnish in with it.

Being an oil stain, it will naturally have some penetration due to the oils. Being “natural,” it will probably have less actual pigment in the stain, though many such stains have both pigment and dyes to comprise their colors. So, the “natural” stain is going to act like a bunch of thinner with some oil in it.

Pure tung oil would provide the best penetration because it’s all oil and doesn’t have any pigments clogging up the pores. HOWEVER, the Minwax Tung Oil Finish really isn’t Tung oil either. It’s just an petroleum-based varnish which in reality is very little oil and a TON of mineral spirits. So, in a single coat, it will act like a bunch of thinner with some oil in it.

The end result of the two products you are using will likely be very much the same, though I’d expect the “Tung Oil finish” to actually build up a little film after enough coats are used.

The marketing of Minwax stuff (and others) is an enormous cluster ^$(%! Therefore, I try to avoid it unless I know what it actually is.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#4 posted 568 days ago

BTW, I’d use either a true oil or a thinned shellac to “pop” the grain. With thinned shellac, it’s able to get really good penetraion, like an oil would. Oil stains can accomplish this an well, in part, but not so much if there is pigment that disguises the “pop.”

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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HorizontalMike

6700 posts in 1415 days


#5 posted 568 days ago

…”The marketing of Minwax stuff (and others) is an enormous cluster ^$(%! Therefore, I try to avoid it unless I know what it actually is….”

10-4 on that. I also have understood for quite some time that Minwax Tung Oil Finish is just a wipe-on varnish with NO actual tung oil in the product. So bottom line is to go straight to the MWTung Oil Finish and not bother with the other “stain” as it seems to be a non-starter. That will simplify things quite a bit.

I will still have to actually stain some of the odd colored fillings in the knotholes of the veneer ply, but that would have to be done anyways. The more I work with MinWax, the more I realize I should reconsider and move completely to another family of products. Maybe after this project is complete…

Thanks.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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HorizontalMike

6700 posts in 1415 days


#6 posted 568 days ago

Jay,
Missed your last post as I was typing. Will the thinned shellac work much like the TO Finish “AFTER” the initial coat? In other words, can I put down an initial coat of thinned shellac and then use up the rest of my TO Finish with good results?

And what ratio for thinning the shellac should I use? Thin with what MS, acetone, naptha?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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IsaacH

128 posts in 597 days


#7 posted 568 days ago

Didn’t realize the minwax tung oil was not tung oil….thats some major B.S.! Sadly im not surprised though.

Another example of why I teach my 10yr old not to believe everything you read on the FRONT of the box.

EDIT

Just looked up the MSDS on it…wow….no actual toung oil even listed in it!!!
Minwax Tung Oil MSDS

-- Isaac- Decatur, GA - "Your woodworking....NOT machining parts for NASA!!!"

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#8 posted 568 days ago

That’s the way I’d go, Mike.

I don’t think the MW TO Finish is all that bad of a product, probably acting very much like any oil/varnish/solvent blend that we’d concoct at home…except we’d do it with better ratios and our choice of oil. I’ve never used the stuff because I don’t like mysteries…and I don’t like contributing to the false advertisers. But inn the case of that product, I think Formsby actually started the whole Tung Oil Finish controversy with their concoction, IIRC. Minwax just followed suit.

The only real question there is would be if you needed to “finish” the MW TO Finish with an actual varnish? It might be necesary if you can’t build good protection with that product alone.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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HorizontalMike

6700 posts in 1415 days


#9 posted 568 days ago

Yeah Isaac, I felt the same way when I first found out about MW TO Finish as well. :-(

Jay, I have had success with the MW TO Finish as a final coating, but it does take quite a few coats. But it does help me to NOT have runs and drips because I tend to try and cover too large an area all too often. ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#10 posted 568 days ago

Mike:

Shellac is thinned with denatured alcohol (DNA). My favorite is the Zinnser Seal Coat (100% dewaxed shellac) dilluted 50/50 with DNA. Some people add two parts DNA to yield a thinner “cut,” which isn’t a bad thing.

The shellac gets good penetration, popping the grain…but it also works as a pre-conditioner, preventing deep penetration of subsequent layers. I’ve never seen much logic in putting on an oil (or oil blend) if it can’t actually penetrate like oil should.

People do it, and nothing says you can’t experiment, but if it doesn’t make sense to me logically, I generally avoid it.

However, I will say this…I like oil products because they are natural lubricants as well, meaning that they slide on easily with a rag. So, a.) there might only be enough oil in the Minwax to assist in that regard, and b.) it might still yield the proper color you are looking for. From that standpoint, it’s a preference.

I would be inclined to try the Minwax straight. If there is enough actual oil in it, it will probably pop anyway.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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waho6o9

4448 posts in 1078 days


#11 posted 568 days ago

http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/htdocs/TransTint.htm

Some use transtint to “pop” the grain. I’ve not used the product
yet, however, I’ve used Jeld stain salem maple mixed with minwax
english chestnut with good results.

The wood whisperer has a tutorial on popping the grain as well.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#12 posted 568 days ago

Good point about the dye. It can enhance the contrast with additional color…but the delivery is still with the shellac (add a little dye to taste). The dye can be used in water as well, but that raises the grain, which means you have to sand it back a little to get it smooth again, thus potentially sanding through the dye itself.

I am using Mission Brown Transtint with thinned shellac for the base color coat of my kitchen cabinets (which may never get finished). I add a few drops of green Transtint with it to cut the “red” a bit, because the Mission Brown color is a bit too reddish for my tastes.

The cabinets are red oak, however, and I spray it on…it isn’t to “pop” the grain in my current application.

Using dyes takes a bit of experimenting to get the color right. It’s like working in a 32-bit colorspace in Adobe Photoshop.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1659 days


#13 posted 568 days ago

BTW, some people (like the Canadians) thin shellac with grain alcohol because they can’t get DNA. Such an act makes me want to cry.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Wildwood

854 posts in 635 days


#14 posted 568 days ago

Have not used either product, just feel better finishes around.

Minwax Natural Wood finish claims to be a stain-sealer, not sure about ingredients.

After a minimum of 8 hours (dry time may be extended due to high humidity, low temperatures or inadequate ventilation) complete your project by applying any Minwax® clear protective finish.

Recommended finishes include Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane or Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

For a low odor/water clean-up clear finish, apply Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish after 24 hours. Polycrylic® should not be used over Red Mahogany stain.

Complete your floor finishing project with Minwax® Super Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors or Minwax® Water Based Polyurethane for Floors.

Minwax Tung Oil, not sure it even contains any Tung oil. Might be an oil varnish blend not sure.

Sand to obtain a smooth, uniform surface. Remove all dust with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits.

Apply Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain, if desired, following the label directions.

Wipe or brush on a generous coat of Minwax® Tung Oil. Apply in the direction of the grain.

After 5-10 minutes, buff evenly with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Wait 24 hours and apply a second coat. Two coats are recommended.

For additional gloss, repeat after 24 hours.

With Minwax® Tung Oil you control the brightness of the finish because the surface gains more gloss with each coat you apply.

Pure & Polymerized Tung OIl does give you a high gloss finish.

-- Bill

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Wildwood

854 posts in 635 days


#15 posted 568 days ago

Meant to say pure or polymerized Tung oil not going to give you high gloss finish!

My bad!

-- Bill

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