Tung Oil - Durable?

The last few weeks I've been using "playing around" with Minwax Tung Oil. I've previously used the combination Tung Oil and Teak Oil for a low luster finish, but recently I've used straight Tung Oil on some boxes I've made. In terms of looks, the cherry and english walnut turn out excellent after just 3 - 4 coats.
I have two questions though - how durable is it? Would Tung Oil be ok for a cherry dining room table I thinking about? How is it for turnings - can you lathe-apply the finish?
Can it be sprayed on with an HVLP sprayer?
You thoughts would be appreciated.
Brian
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The reason they put resins in oils to make varnishes is to give them durability. On their own they're repairable, but not durable.
If you like tung, you may apply it to turnings, though it will sink in as well when applied on a static piece, without messing you or the walls. After it seems dry, at the point you would normally wipe, you might want to fire up the rotation and apply some rag friction heat to pick the excess up, else it tends to cure slowly, especially in cool or damp circumstances.

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I hand-applied pure tung oil to a cherry dowel I used in a simple towel-rack in my bathroom. After three years of subjection to "rolling" as towels are pulled off, and sitting under a wet towel for hours every day, it is still as lustrous, smooth, and well-protected as the day I installed it.
That data point notwithstanding, the oils seem to rank fairly low on the durability scale. I have a limited amount of experience in using it on turnings, but so far the results seem okay.
Every piece of advice I've received about applying oil has been the antithesis of spraying. It's best applied by submersion for the early coats (wiping away excess periodically) and by hand for later coats, working it in with vigorous friction to generate heat.
--Jay
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I'm cheating by looking into the excellent book "Understanding wood finishing" by Bob Flexner. This is a very good reference on the whole topic of finishing woods. He has a chapter on oil finishes. I'll take a risk of summarizing salient comments on various "oil" finishes.
1. Pure oil finishes are not durable and offer little protection. 2. Oil/varnish is easy to apply, but does not protect against water, water vapor exchange and wear. It is a poor choice for table top. 3. Wiping varnish is "potentially excellent protection, if built up".
I'd avoid tung oil for your dining room table. I highly recommend the book. He spends quite a bit of effort calling out myths in wood finishing and calling out the facts. He also has a lot of practical tips on choice, application, and repair of wood finishes.
Bob
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Brian, I would use oil to bring out the grain (at least three coats), let the oil harden for a week, and then put on a couple of coats of poly.
Oil is wipe on to saturate surface, let it soak in for 15-30 minutes, add some more to hit the dry spots, another 15 minutes and then wipe off. Don't keep the oily rags laying around - they are a fire hazard. The poly you can spray on if you prefer or there are some decent wipe on polys that will work ok. The poly can be oil or water based depending on your preferences.
For a table top I would use Danish oil rather than tung. Use the poly to add sheen and good protection, the oil adds depth.

TWS http://tomstudwell.com/allprojects.htm
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Hi,
One thing to keep in mind is that "Tung Oil" can either be a mix of tung oil and varnish (as the Minwax is), or it can be pure tung oil (e.g., Hope's sells a pure tung oil).
I've used both, and the two finish very differently. The Minwax Tung Oil builds pretty fast and forms quite a gloss (after 3 thinnish coats). Pure tung oil does not build nearly so fast, and even after several coats will not form much of a gloss.
Hope that helps.
Cheers, Nate
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Nate Perkins wrote:

The MSDS for Minwax Tung Oil lists mineral spirits, Stoddard's solvent and proprietary ingredients with no mention of tung oil.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Except, of course, the name. Only the active or dangerous ingredients need to be listed. Smells like tung oil, too. Wonder how long it would take in this litigious society before some ambitious attorney or basic troublemaker filed for false or misleading, else?

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n snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

nor is a build, considering the attributes of an oil finish, desirable.
If you should eventually add enough to get a build what you have is a poor substitute for any decent surface finish.
It makes little sense to add 5, 6, coats of oil to get a build of a piss poor surface finish when two or three coats of varnish, already curing oil, possibly tung, and resins, are pretty much visually the same and provides far more protection.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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I recently used applied two coats of Danish oil follwoed by two coats of Minwax paste (which was buffed each time). I don't know _how_ durable or water resistent it is but I do know it's a lot more durable and water resistenct than just Danish oil. It looks great, too -- semi-gloss. Feels good to touch.
You can see from my other posts that I'm no expert in finishing so take what I say with a grain of salt.
BTW, this finish was suggested to me by a professional box maker selling his wares at an art show in Boulder, Colorado (Pearl Street, for those of you familair with Boulder)....Actually he used Tung oil and BLACK BISON Wax PASTE WAX.
[snip]

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Pretty good URL related to finishes: http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/finishing.htm
[snip]
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With all due respect, a decorative box has a primary function of looking pretty. The requirements for durability on a dining table are a long way from a decorative box.
Bob
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| | With all due respect, a decorative box has a primary function of looking | pretty. The requirements for durability on a dining table are a long way | from a decorative box.
I'm surprised at how well some of the easier to apply finishes can be made to look good.
On my desk I have a nice cocobolo and ebony jewelry box which I use for keeping small components like sensors that apply to my job. It's from an artist I have admired for her oil and wax finishes. She sands down to 800 grit and hand-applies the oils.
At a recent show I saw some decorative boxes I was sure had been finished in a similar way, but the artist there said it was rubbed lacquer -- easier to do and easier to maintain. Obviously there's room for artistic disagreement there, but I was suprised to see that you don't have to slave over a piece for weeks with oily hands in order to have a top-notch finish.
--Jay
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Thanks for the "due respect" but I admit I'm no expert so very little respect is due.
I know my wax on danish oil is not durable. However, I think it is more durable than just plain tung oil which was the question in the original post.
For durability, some of the other post have good suggestions: polyurethane and such.
BTW, I just ordered a copy of "Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish (American Woodworker)" by Bob Flexner. The fact that I'm buying books is a sure sign of a non-expert....but getting better by reading rec.woodworking post, asking fellow ww'ers, and reading literature, and, of course, actually doing a few finishes......
As a non-expert, I wonder how some of the floor finishes work on table tops????
Anybody tried OSMO Hardwax oil (http://www.environmentalhomecenter.com/shop.mvCatCode=PRODUCT&ProdCode=OS_HARDWAX_OIL )
or
BioShield (http://www.environmentalhomecenter.com/shop.mvCatCode=PRODUCT&ProdCode=BS_FLOOR_FINISH )?
Both are non-toxic and seem suited for table tops.....
[snip]

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That book will turn anyone into an expert. Good choice!
Best regards, Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@smpatico.ca says...

Tung oil, any oil finish for that matter isn't durable and certainly does not provide adequate protection for a dining room table.
Given the right viscosity, air pressure and volume, and correct needle/nozzle combination you can spray just about any liquid. However, considering that oil is a wipe on wipe off finish, I can't imagine any circumstances where I would be induced to drag out my HVLP set up to spray an oil finish. But, if you want to do it have at it, it's not going to hurt anything.
Using it on turnings is the same as using it on anything else. It's fine as long as it provides at least the minimum amount of protection to the wood that is needed to resist damage to the piece from reasonable expected use.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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wiping oil in the 80's that was a mixture of tung oil and poly...
The closest to it that I've found so far is their rubbing poly, which I like a lot... it gives you a compromise between that "hand rubbed" look the "plastic coated" look... If used as directed, a few coats rubbed in will make wood fairly durable and not glossy at all... I used it last summer on a side table by the pool, made of pine scraps and with 3 coats rubbed in/on... it's been through 2 summers and a winter now and still seems to be repelling moisture...
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