I recently built a bookcase out of baltic birch plywood, and finished
it with one coat of 100% pure tung oil (from Lee Valley). I carefully
wiped it dry after appying the oil. The project looks beautiful but a
week later is still not dry. After several days I sanded with 000 steel
wool, which picked up bit of oil with a white waxy texture. However, a
piece of paper pressed on the shelves still absorbs oil. I really would
rather not wait a month (or whatever it will take) for the oil to
completely cure. Any advice?
> I recently built a bookcase out of baltic birch plywood, and finished
> it with one coat of 100% pure tung oil (from Lee Valley). I carefully
> wiped it dry after appying the oil. The project looks beautiful but a
> week later is still not dry. After several days I sanded with 000 steel
> wool, which picked up bit of oil with a white waxy texture. However, a
> piece of paper pressed on the shelves still absorbs oil. I really would
> rather not wait a month (or whatever it will take) for the oil to
> completely cure. Any advice?
Strip it off and start over with perhaps BLO.
One of the caveats of tung oil is that it takes a LONG TIME to dry.
On 19 Aug 2006 12:03:34 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Sometimes a good wipe down with mineral spirits will get enough of the
Tung oil off and dilute the rest so that a 2 week drying period is ALL
Hate the stuff! Use Waterlox, a tung oil based product that drys in a
couple of days if you want to avoid the yellowing that BLO can cause.
I don't agree with the others.
The oil will very slowly oxidise into a soft solid. To speed the process you
need to use a catalyst. Ready mixed furniture oils and boiled linseed
already have the catalyst in them, so the easy thing to do is apply a second
coat, diluted if you wish, of Danish, teak, or boiled linseed oil. It will
dry everything off.
If you applied the tung properly there should be no film of oil actually
sitting on the surface, if there is then wipe with solvent and allow solvent
to evaporate before doing your second application.
As they said ... neat tung oil can take weeks. For a first coat I thin the
stuff about 25% - 50% with *vegetable* turpentine. Second coat I add less
I apply it liberally with a cloth, wait for it to soak in, apply some more with
the cloth, what hasn't soaked in gets wiped off with another, lint free cloth.
Dry within a couple of days, normally.
So for a fix in your situation, I'd get a couple liters (half gallon?) of
vegetable turps, soak a lint free choth with it and spend half an hour rubbing
that stuff all over the bookcase, alternating with a dry cloth. Then let it
stand in a warm room for a few hours and check what's happening in there. If
all goes well, you might have a recovery.
I really like tung oil. I like the smell, I like working with it and I like the
finish it puts on timbers that agree with it. Not every timber does, however. I
don't have the problems with it not drying any more that I experienced the
first time I unscrewed the lid on the can <g>. However I don't use it on even
half the projects I do - I make finish samples on scraps, and the tung oil does
NOT always win hands down :-) But on bluegum for instance it is unsurpassed
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