Phenomenal tutorial on finishing with tung oil - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Nichol is finishing her 4pi speakers with tung oil, a finish that I was not familiar with. After a little poking around, I came across a guy with a video series on how to do it. It was so incredibly good, I coudn't help but post it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqiLQ...eature=related

Tung oil comes from the pressed nut of the tung tree and is disolved in mineral spirits. Keep good air flow in the working area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tung_oil

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post #2 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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come on guys, no comments?

is tung oil the delio or is there something better?

should subsequent coats be applied with a foam brush or wet-sand sandpaper?

is anybody a guru with this type of finish?

just trying to start a conversation on this. maybe there isn't much conversation to be had. i don't know. it is up to you guys.

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post #3 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 03:14 PM
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I've been using it for some years on vintage veneer cabinets. The popular formulas from Minwax and Formby's have a fair amount of urethane in them and come in low-gloss and high-gloss mixtures. There's also Danish Oil which is much the same thing and comes with stains or natural.

Best results on veneer are obtained by using 0000 steel wool to rub the oil in and letting it set for a few minutes before wiping. 2 coats minimum on sanded veneer and more for additional sheen.

Some people don't like the urethane because it makes subsequent re-finishing more difficult.
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 03:14 PM
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I used tung oil on an electric guitar finish before, it worked very nicely. I applied it by rubbing on with a clean cotton cloth (several coats, I believe fine steel wool between coats, but it was a while ago).
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Best results on veneer are obtained by using 0000 steel wool to rub the oil in and letting it set for a few minutes before wiping. 2 coats minimum on sanded veneer and more for additional sheen.

How does this work when trying to put a mirror finish on the veneer? Is it possible or would urethane be best?

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post #6 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 07:10 PM
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I've used to finish parts of my hardwood (1200 sq feet of Imperial cherry). It works very well, it has just the right finish to match the factory finished wood. The nice thing is you don't get the dust etc that you could get with standard varnish.
Can't say it would the easiest thing to use for a mirror finish, I would stay with urethane but then I'm an Autobody guy so it's second nature to me.

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post #7 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 08:19 PM
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I have used pure tung oil for a couple of projects and have always had good results. A lot of people will get confused though because there is "pure tung oil" and then there is stuff that is labeled as "tung oil finish". The tung oil finish has other things in it to help with pure tung oil's shortcomings (e.g. long dry times, lack of an extremely durable finish, etc). The other ingredients tend to be mineral spirits, varnish, urethane, etc.

The guy in the youtube video is using Waterlox Original which is a "tung oil finish". I never used the stuff but it looks to be very forgiving. The pure tung oil that I have used is here:
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...Oil-Quart.aspx

It is applied a little differently from what is shown in the video. You basically rub it into the wood with a cloth or with bare hands, wait ~30 minutes and wipe off the excess. Repeat at least three times while waiting 24 hrs minimum between coats. Pure tung oil will produce a low-sheen finish.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

How does this work when trying to put a mirror finish on the veneer? Is it possible or would urethane be best?

Most of the tung oil finishes do have urethane. So the more coats you use the more gloss you get. The advantage of the tung oil, or any other oil, is that it penetrates the wood or veneer much deeper than urethane alone can do.

Vintage JBL cabinets all used a plain cocktail of boiled linseed oil and turpentine. Very effective at penetrating and preserving wood but stinky like stinky never was. Also needs to be re-done regularly to maintain. Oils with urethane will seal the surface against dirt, sun, etc and last a lot longer. But plain urethane does not penetrate the wood. Hence the combination of oil and urethane.

Quote:


It is applied a little differently from what is shown in the video. You basically rub it into the wood with a cloth or with bare hands, wait ~30 minutes and wipe off the excess. Repeat at least three times while waiting 24 hrs minimum between coats. Pure tung oil will produce a low-sheen finish.

The problem with the "wait to wipe it off" technique is that some of it will dry and get tacky. So you need to be sure you have enough on the surface to avoid drying before you wipe. It can get pretty drippy, so I prefer to wipe sooner and do multiple coats to get the same degree of penetration. You can re-coat any time.
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 08:59 PM
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The problem with the "wait to wipe it off" technique is that some of it will dry and get tacky. So you need to be sure you have enough on the surface to avoid drying before you wipe. It can get pretty drippy, so I prefer to wipe sooner and do multiple coats to get the same degree of penetration. You can re-coat any time.

Parts of the pure tung oil could dry within the 30 minutes given the various climatic conditions but I have not had that problem yet. I like to wait 30 minutes so that the wood absorbs as much as possible before I go rubbing most of it off. I think the bottle does mention to wait only a few minutes before wiping off.

You can recoat anytime, true, but I like to wait until the previous coat polymerizes (hardens). Otherwise, you are not building the surface very effectively. I must mention that sometimes it takes more than 24 hrs before the previous coat dries completely; which is the case for me today, I applied a coat last night and it still feels oily to me tonight so I am going to wait until tomorrow before applying the 4th coat.
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-11-2010, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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in the video series, it was mentioned that waterworx comes in a variety of percentage solids. what percentage solids is pure tung oil?

he notes that a lower percentage of solids is preferred for the first few coats, as this will help penetrate the wood. then subsequent coats with higher percentage of solids can be used to create a medium gloss.

he also notes that tung oil by itself has no u.v. protection, but the waterlox marine product does. not sure if this is a consideration, just a heads-up.

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post #11 of 20 Old 08-12-2010, 06:15 AM
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I have used tung oil, diluted with mineral spirits, for finishing up bokken (katana-style wooden practice swords). The finish is very easy to apply, and being a natural oil won't blister your hands up like urethane will .

Tung oil should be reapplied once every year or so to maintain protection, but since the process is so simple/quick it's really not that big a deal. It won't create a hard shell to protect the wood, but then it won't scratch up either.

Linseed oil is very similar. But make sure you use BOILED linseed oil or it will never dry!

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post #12 of 20 Old 08-12-2010, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

Most of the tung oil finishes do have urethane. So the more coats you use the more gloss you get. The advantage of the tung oil, or any other oil, is that it penetrates the wood or veneer much deeper than urethane alone can do.

Vintage JBL cabinets all used a plain cocktail of boiled linseed oil and turpentine. Very effective at penetrating and preserving wood but stinky like stinky never was. Also needs to be re-done regularly to maintain. Oils with urethane will seal the surface against dirt, sun, etc and last a lot longer. But plain urethane does not penetrate the wood. Hence the combination of oil and urethane.

So could a person successfully use the tung oil finish and then do a final coat in urethane for that ultra high gloss?

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post #13 of 20 Old 08-12-2010, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

So could a person successfully use the tung oil finish and then do a final coat in urethane for that ultra high gloss?

Yup. Although it might be argued that if you intend to do that, just skip the tung oil.
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 03:14 AM - Thread Starter
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doesn't the fact that tung oil soaks down into the grain help reveal it thus providing a 'deeper' looking fininsh than surface finishes such as urethane?

has anybody done or seen an a-b comparo on the same wood?

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post #15 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

doesn't the fact that tung oil soaks down into the grain help reveal it thus providing a 'deeper' looking fininsh than surface finishes such as urethane?

has anybody done or seen an a-b comparo on the same wood?

I have some raw walnut veneer I could test it on. When I go to finish my speakers I will compare the two so I know what path I want to take. I bet though, if a person surfed some wood working forums, they'd probably find all kinds of A/B pictures.

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post #16 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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cool bomber...

i've only ever used urethanes and shellac. i'm interested to learn about oil based finishes. i know shellac is not a favorite for many folks, but i have really been pleased with the warm glow that it provides. there is something about it that makes the wood look a live. tung oil looks like it may have some of the same effect.

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post #17 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

cool bomber...

i've only ever used urethanes and shellac. i'm interested to learn about oil based finishes. i know shellac is not a favorite for many folks, but i have really been pleased with the warm glow that it provides. there is something about it that makes the wood look a live. tung oil looks like it may have some of the same effect.

Oil penetrates deep into the wood, and since it usually has a darker tint to it you'll usually get a slightly darker finish than say plain urethane. The difference is shades though, not color. A LOT depends on the wood itself. Plain urethane penetrates too, and oil with urethane leaves the urethane mostly on the surface. If your wood/veneer is already dark and rich in tone, the oil may not be desired.
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post #18 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 09:20 PM
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Here is a very informative article that I found:
http://www.charlottewoodworkers.org/...f%20Jewitt.pdf

Jeff Jewitt is a well known wood finisher and has published an excellent book on hand finishing.

By the way, urethane is one of the most durable finishes that one can apply but it tends to look like plastic to a lot of people.
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post #19 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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"urethane is one of the most durable finishes that one can apply but it tends to look like plastic"

i suppose that it has its place...perhaps wood floors, bar tops, or even dining tables, but while i didn't want to be the first one to say it, it often does look like plastic to me. that is a 'tastes and preferences' thing though, so everybody will have a different opinion.

"Here is a very informative article..."

just got through reading it. the bit about not sanding with too high of a grit as it may prevent absorption on some finishes was something that i never heard of. many good tips in there. thanks.

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post #20 of 20 Old 08-13-2010, 11:27 PM
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I thought the posted vids were pretty good. Nothing really left to add. You could nit pick a few things, or add some personal preference, but that is about it. I personally like tack clothes, but hand wiping works too.

Using a tung oil finish is about as simple as it gets. Actual tung oil is not much different. If you can use urethanes or shellac this is a walk in the park, and you can add either or nothing over the oil.

Most every pic I have ever posted with raw woodgrain has been tung oiled, other than the floor that may have been in the shot. Easy finish. I save the other finishes for high wear/use items like floors, cabinets, and hand held what knots.
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