Home brew advice. Oil / varnish blends

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Forum topic by athomas5009 posted 09-17-2014 12:21 AM 648 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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293 posts in 1035 days

09-17-2014 12:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

When possible I use watcos teak oil on projects. Mostly because it’s easy, looks good and offers enough protection for things that won’t be subjected to heavy abuse.

Last week I finally got sick of paying $11 a quart on the stuff and looked into other options. We’ll in the past week I learned that it is just a tung oil / varnish / thinner blend, and even though the ratio is hidden many seem to think it contains less than 20% tung / varnish.

While learning all of this I found out it’s actually cheaper to just make your own blend. So heres my question it’s 60$ to make 3 gallons of 1:1:1 BLO / Poly / turps or 80$ for the same 3gal ratio of Tu g / poly / turps.

Is the water resistance of tung oil worth the extra 30$ bones?

Is this extra water resistance even relevant since 3 coats will only be applied on top of containing poly?

-- Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on.

3 replies so far

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7681 posts in 1798 days

#1 posted 09-25-2014 02:43 AM

Tung oil has practically no water resistance, ditto for linseed. Make sure to use an oil based varnish for mixing and not a waterbase.

BTW, Watco doesn’t have tung oil, it’s about 60% solvents and 40% linseed oil/varnish mix. I don’t know the ratio of the latter.


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3839 posts in 1911 days

#2 posted 09-25-2014 11:14 AM

Rick hit it. There are no standards in naming finishes, other than call it what you want just so it will sell. Watco’s Teak Oil is about as far from Teak oil as you can get. Anyway, on to your question: tung oil is hardly worth the extra cost versus BLO. Your home brew will work every bit as well as the commercial products, and will be a lot cheaper. I wouldn’t suggest mixing up 3 gallons of the stuff; unless you really use a lot of it. The varnish component will go bad in storage, and ruin the entire mix. Mix what you can use, and buy fresh varnish as needed. The BLO and thinner will keep, so when you mix it up you’ll have fresh product.

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

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1407 days

#3 posted 09-26-2014 12:18 PM

I just use poly and thin it 25-50%, depending on the film thickness I want. Other comments hit the spot – there’s a lot of marketing gobblygook with finishes – most are just thinned varnish and/or urethane. Many insist on using non urethane varnish, I guess it’s nostalgia – they are softer than polyurethane, and I can’t tell a difference on the finished piece. I’ve been using thinned poly for over 20 yrs for wipe on varnish. Excessive sheen and film thickness cause the “plastic look and feel” many complain about. I find the cheap stuff from the bbs works just as well as the expensive brands for thin wiped on finishes.

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