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Can you stain/darken pure tung oil after 3 coats?

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Forum topic by MikeyCZ posted 03-18-2015 09:06 PM 3966 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MikeyCZ

11 posts in 863 days


03-18-2015 09:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tung oil pure tung oil raw tung oil finish stain cypress dark raw tung oil dark finish

I was given an antique leaded glass transom window by a customer and was asked to make it into a sliding barn door (inset the window into a custom door). She wanted a soft, natural look, with subtle variation in color and very little contrasting grain patterns like say Zebra wood or something. I used 6/4 Cypress and wanted a natural, low sheen look with medium brown color and a hint of that antique orange color. I’ve never used Pure Tung oil but it sounded perfect for the look I/she wanted. I’m using “The Real Milk Co. – Pure Raw Dark Tung oil” not Tung oil finish. I tested the color on a scrap piece while building the door and after about 8 coats, the color looked amazing. I decided to go for it, and applied it to the door. I cut the first application 60/40 Tung oil to citrus solvent and the next two coats just straight Tung oil. After the first coat, the finish was very blotchy and uneven (The first coat on my test piece didn’t look that great either so I kept going). I’m now on my 4th coat and I’m starting to get nervous about the finish evening out. It is also VERY ORANGE, not at all the medium brown color of the test piece. Can I apply a stain or maybe a Tung oil finish like Watco Dark Walnut over the Tung oil finish to even out the blotchiness and darken the color? Or am I jumping the gun and should just finish out 6 or so more coats like on the test piece? I’m just worried that if I keep going, the Tung oil will “seal” everything up and I’ll be at a “point of no return”. I really like the door and do not want to start over and make the customer wait longer. Sorry for the long post. I tried looking thru the other threads for an answer to no avail and seems like a more detailed the question will save time in the long run. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.


7 replies so far

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MikeyCZ

11 posts in 863 days


#1 posted 03-18-2015 09:09 PM

oh, just wanted to add that I am letting each application dry 24 hours before applying the next. Going fairly heavy on the coats, letting them dry for about an hour an wiping any excess off with a cloth rag.

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 681 days


#2 posted 03-18-2015 09:18 PM

I’ve been using Hopes 100% Tung oil on pretty much everything for nearly 20 yrs. I don’t know about Zebra wood but I know you’ll get that look on pine maple oak. Any figured wood goes 3D with it, I Lurve it!

I never heard of 100% Tung oil in dark form, all the colored ones I’ve seen were those combo finishing amalgams. Is Zebra wood uniformly dense/hard? if so then maybe it’s the citrus thing you added to the batch. Anyway for me those pics of the transom look killer.

-- I meant to do that!

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MikeyCZ

11 posts in 863 days


#3 posted 03-18-2015 09:23 PM

No, Zebrawood is an example of what she didn’t want as far a look. She doesn’t want anything with a high contrasting grain. Just a soft, natural, aged, antique look if that makes sense. No glossy finishes. very low luster, as if it was unfinished almost. Sorry for the confusion.

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 681 days


#4 posted 03-19-2015 01:10 AM

I like the matte finish of Tung oil, this knife block is 10yrs old it gets heat from the toaster oven, spray from the sink, horrible damp during the summer on the Cape, banged around by you name it, yadda, yadda! Never receive a recoat, looks like it did the day I finished it. Oak body maple and mahogany.

It took on the warm yellow/orange tone immediately, maybe if it was hit by lots of sun it might look different. My only regret is I should of used holly for the arrow or maybe lined it with poplar for an offset

-- I meant to do that!

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Shadowrider

183 posts in 668 days


#5 posted 03-19-2015 01:38 AM

Is it still soaking in? That’s how you know that you need to keep going or that you are finished.

I’ve used their regular tung and it’s always worked great for me. I usually do the first 2 to 4 coats cut down with turpentine and switch over to pure oil after it “feels” like time to do so. I’m not sure you even need to switch to pure oil at all in all honesty. I use it on cutting boards and they are basically waterproof, so I’m not sure there’s anything you can do at this point. Maybe an alcohol based dye?

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canadianchips

2341 posts in 2456 days


#6 posted 03-19-2015 01:21 PM

I dont think watco oil will fix this.
Something has penetrated the wood and prevented your finish from soaking in. You can try a “minwax product ” that is used on antigue furniture to blend in scratches , all it does is disolve the finish that is already on the piece and blends it in. This could be a lot of work and you will still have a blotchy finish.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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MikeyCZ

11 posts in 863 days


#7 posted 03-19-2015 05:34 PM

shadowrider – The last coat hasn’t fully soaked in yet but it has been raining forever here and is very humid. My test piece took at least 8 coats over the period of a week or so.

CanadianChips – I don’t think its a glue stain. Before applying the Tung oil that spot that is light now was the darker heart wood and the dark stuff now was the lighter sap wood. There was no glue on the faces of the boards unless a little dripped out of a seam. I wiped the drips up and sanded from 80 to 220 so I don’t think any small drips could have survived.

Thanks for the feedback guys. I appreciate it. I guess this is why you don’t try new finishes on anything but your own stuff. I thought the test piece would be enough. I’ll learn eventually. I’ll try to update with pics on whatever route I take from here on out.

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