Tung oil came out blotchy

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Hi,
After a second coat of tung oil my desk came out looking like this:
http://freeboundaries.com/blotchy.jpg
I chose tung oil to achieve that very warm woody matte finish and instead I got this blotchy surface. (It is not sticky or rough - so it's not a major disaster.)
What steps do I need to take to fix this? Like I said, I'd like to achieve a very warm matte finish (sort of like nakashima).
Thank you very much in advance!
Aaron
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Oil is supposed to soak in a bit, and that's it. It is not intended to form a film. If your first application was proper, it saturated the wood; there is no place for the second application to go.
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So do I have to start all over and can I buff it out somehow? Thanks!
Aaron Fude
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You can try buffing, but I have never been successful with it. If it were my project I would sand it gently with 320 and put some polyurethane on it, then take the gloss off with steel wool; but you might not like polyurethane.
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I the steps that you outlines, what would be the purpose of sanding with 320 - to help polyurethane take hold? And you are suggesting poly primarily for protection or for the matte look (post wool steel)? Also, what grit steel wool?
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to adhere to it very well. Sanding will take care of that, and hopefully get off the extra oil. Wait a week to be sure it is dry; as sanding wet oil is a mess. Oil is almost purely for visual effect; it gives no particular protection. Someone below said you need to put several more coats of oil on it. A thick layer of dried oil isn't my idea of a good finish, but each to his own. Use very fine steel wool on the poly. If you are careful you can get it as matte, and even, as you would like.
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It's tiger oak.
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Izzat peeled veneer? Looks like it. Means the large vessels along the annual rings are spread over a broader area, and things won't improve much unless you fill the holes. You can do the tung and slurry method, sanding with the grain and wiping across, or use an oil-based filler and stain to smooth it out. You've got big vessels, small vessels, and those rays are virtually no vessels, so it's going to look uneven unless you make an effort.
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Aaron, I've had the same results early in the finishing process. Don't despair, just keep adding coats. Some of the wood has absorbed all the finish it will, and that part is shiny. Other parts have not become saturated yet and those parts are dull. If you keep adding coats, eventually all the wood will have taken all the finish it wants and it will be uniformly shiny. Then buff with steel wool until you get the matte finish you're looking for.
DonkeyHody "If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow
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One note on Tung Oil. It will take a few weeks to stop weeping, so be careful of what you put on the top as it will stain the cloth. Also no liquids on the top to avoid the white stains from tap water.
With oak you have hard rings and soft rings, these will absorb the tung oil differently. What brand of tung oil did you use? Look at all the ingredients, and I bet it is not close to 100% tung oil. Did you thin the first coat 50/50?
Jon
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wrote:

Tung oil is a good ingredient, but a poor finish used on its own. It's hard to use and it's not as good a finishing material as a commercial blend based on it. Why did you choose it?
What sort of finish were you expecting? A surface film or not? If you want a non-film finish, then you need to use a thinner oil than plain tung, so that it really can soak in. If you want a film, then I'd suggest an oild blend with added driers, so as to cure more predictably. Your blotchiness is probably a variation in thickness leading to a complete soak in in places and something of a film developing in others.
As usual for oils, try a wipe down (or even a scrub down!) with a suitable solvent to even things up first and reduce the thicker areas. Do this soon, before the film cures entirely. Test a small area first to check solvent compatibility.
Then switch oils. Go for a blend of pre-thinned tung + driers, from Liberon or whatever your US equivalent is.
If you want a non-film finish, then go easy. You might already be there.
If you want a film, then it's the same as ever - lots of thin coats are the way to go, with adequate drying between them. You've got a month of decent oil-drying weather left in my climate, but I'd want application finished before winter. Then a good month indoors in the warm before I rest anything on it! Partially cured oil is soft and adhesive.
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wrote:

More coats of oil, eventually rubbed to the final sheen with steel or synthetic steel wool, possibly with a tad of wax.
--------------------------------------------- ** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html ** ---------------------------------------------
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Had my black walnut come out identical to your oak. (nice wood). I used pure tung over 0000 steel wooled walnut diluted 75% mineral spirit to oil. Put on 3 coats waiting a day between coats. Then went to 50/50 mineral /tung. Took 3 more coats to eliminate the blotches. Make sure you load up the wood good so the oil soaks in and wait about 15 minutes to remove excess.

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Aaron, After looking close at your picture and reading your post, it seems like your not using a pure tung oil. You say it is not sitcky and because of that and the appearance of your finish I'd say what your using is smothing that is more like a tung oil-varnish blend. Alot of commerically available "tung oils are really not pure Tung oil, like Minwax and Formby's. These formulas are little more than a wiping poly varnish. If you are using a product like that your problem is as someone stated below. Areas with lots of pores and areas with few pores.The areas that have few pores allow the finish to cure on top of the surface (glossy) and the areas. You have a number of choices. 1. Leave it alone and knock down the gloss with 0000 steel wool. (not my personal choice) 2. Strip it all off and fill the pores then start over with another finish. (at this point, I wouldn't want to do that either.) 3. Continue with what others have suggested. I personally like the slurry idea, it will fill the pores.
About 15 years ago I read an article ( In Wood, I think) about a homemade finish called "LTV" and I swear by it. It's equal aprts of BOILED linseed oil, Turpentine, and varnish. I have used it many times and it gives a real nice finish similar to what I think you are looking for. I have a cherry coffee table I made back in 1992 and the finish still looks great. The good thing about it is its pretty easy to repair as well. (My kids are now 13 and 15 and this table finish has survived their toddler years and school home work to mow. Good luck. Rich

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Alright, before anybody says anything... next time I promise I'll use spell check. My typing hasn't caught up to my brain yet.
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Rich Harris

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wrote:

Ya posted some great info. Who cares about how the spelling is?
ROY!
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I've seen a number of references to a similar type of finish. Everywhere from here in rec.woodworking to books such as Great Wood Finishes[1] by Jeff Jewitt. I have no problem figuring out what specific vendor's products I might use for the BLO or Turpentine parts, but I'm not sure what's a good product to use for the varnish part. What vendor's varnish do you use or recommend?
[1]: Pages 50-51.
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Michael, I pulled out the old article to make sure. Its in Wood magazine SEP 1992 Issue 54. Anyway, you can use poly or traditional varnish. My notes say I used traditional but for the life of me I can't remember the brands I've used. More than likely I got it from the big box store. One thing you need to do before the LTV process is put on a sealer coat of WATCO Danish oil or some other poymerizing oil, such as Behlen's Danish oil. This prevents the Linseed from getting down too deep in the poers and not curing before the varnish cures. You also slurry wet sand each coat if your doing a table top. I can scan the article and email it to you if you like. Rich
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If you do remember the specific brand(s) of varnish, that's what I'd be most interested in knowing.
Thanks.
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I've had problems with using oil added to thinned varnish from McCloskey's. The stuff wouldn't dry. For months! So I stopped adding oil to it, and it worked pretty well.
I'm not chemist. Neither do I play one on television. Neither do I wish for my woodowrk to sit in a spare bedroom for months drying out, and expalining to LOML why it smells badly in there.
I use McCloskey's a lot, thinned 25-35% with naptha, and wiped on. Various blends behave differently, but all are pretty nice.
Good luck with your project!
Patriarch
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