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Poly or Tung?

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Forum topic by wefedog posted 03-08-2009 01:28 PM 1690 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wefedog

2 posts in 2835 days


03-08-2009 01:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finsish

I am very new to woodworking and want to make a chessboard. What do you recommend for a finish, Tung Oil or Poly? The wood I chose was White Maple and Dark Walnut. Also in general, what are the pros and cons of each?
Thanks


4 replies so far

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3284 days


#1 posted 03-08-2009 02:00 PM

Basically, unless you are absolutely sure the tung oil product that you are buying is pure tung oil there is virtually no difference between the two. Pure tung oil will enable you to put a nice finish on the piece but it will be a relatively “soft finish” . But most “tung oil” products that are commonly available are simply tung oil (about 20%) mixed with varnishes to harden the finish coat and mineral spirits. Check the label. If it states that it contains petroleum distillates then this is simply a wiping varnish and not 100% tung oil.

There will be no difference between finish coats of polyurethane and a tung oil/varnish combination. If you decide to go with the poly I would recommend using a wiping poly. It is the more forgiving than poly right from the can. And save yourself some money by making your own wiping solution. You can make your own by simply cutting concentrated oil base polyurethane to 50% concentration with mineral spirits. You will have to put on more coats of the wiping product as compared with the concentrate to get a similar film thickness but the wiping poly goes on much faster, is self leveling, dries quicker and less prone to runs and sags. Just apply it with a clean cotton cloth or paper towel by wiping it over the wood surface.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3386 days


#2 posted 03-09-2009 12:57 AM

This is not a specific answer to your question, sorry, but none-the-less your question and many others regarding finishing beg for some clear, concise information which I have found in Bob Flexner’s book “Understanding Wood Finishing”. Scott has a good handle on it as stated above but it is a dynamite reference for your woodworking library. Mine is getting tattered and marked up from reading, re-reading, and underlining. It’s currently lying open on my desk.

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3284 days


#3 posted 03-10-2009 01:31 PM

I will heartily second Bill’s recommendation on Flexner’s book. Another author that I have found helpful is Jeff Jewitt.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View johnpoolesc's profile

johnpoolesc

246 posts in 2822 days


#4 posted 03-14-2009 10:46 PM

i perfer any oil finish to plastic.. test denatured linseed.. i usually use an oil rub on followed by finishing paste..

by the way, the book is a must.. flexner has forgotten more then i will ever know.. i do know what works for me and what still looks good 30+ years after the build

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

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