tung oil: flakes & dull with glossy areas


After using a "tung oil finish" varnish/oil with quite a bit of success. I thought I would use pure tung oil to finish a project. I know I must be impatient, but I would like some feedback. When I put on the first and second...or even the 3rd coat of 20 to 50% diluted (in mineral spirits) oil, and wipe it down after 15 minutes to 1/2 hr. The finish looks satiny (looks good!!). After waiting 12 to 24 hrs, it is dull and areas look like they have soaked into the wood leaving it lifeless. It is blotchy. I put on several more coats 24 hrs apart and I don't see any real improvement. If I try to apply it and let it set, I still get the same effect and I seem to get "scales" that flake off.
If I put just a very small amount on the surface, I expected to see a surface that had a slight satin look--at least after 2 or 3 coats. My description is that the wood looks dull, lifeless unless I put on quite a bit and let it sit, wiping it after about 1/2 hr.
Suggestions?
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The wood is still soaking up the oil. Be patient. Hand rubbed finishes are more expensive because they take more time. For a high shine rub the finish down between coats with pumice, then rottenstone and mineral oil. A padded on Shellac finish will dry faster between coats and result in a very high gloss finish. Bugs
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I didn't read your note carefully. You're also using way too much thinner. 10 to 15% will work much better. Bugs
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Time, elbow grease, patience, elbow grease, experimentation, elbow grease ... : )
I've used both raw linseed and tung oils over a number of years, however, I don't claim to have any great expertise. I have found the use of these oils time consuming, labour intensive, and in the case of tung oil, expensive. They also require regular follow-up maintenance. In spite of that, I like the results.
Because the oil oxidises rather than evaporates, it needs time to dry between applications. A minimum of 24 hours - preferably 48 hours is my recommendation., - (or as long as it takes.)
I tend to thin the first coat of tung oil 75/25, - ( oil/mineral turpentine) the second 90/10 and apply subsequent coats without thinning. Each coat is applied liberally to give a "wet" look and left to sit for up to an hour prior to wiping off the excess. With the first coat I wet sand and with subsequent coats I burnish with steel wool prior to wiping off the excess. The flakes you see when you have let it dry without wiping off the excess are oxidised oil. (With raw linseed oil, I use oil/mineral turpentine dilutions of 60/40 for the first 2 coats and 80/20 for subsequent coats.)
How many coats? ...... as many as it takes for the wood you are using. : )
The last project I used tung oil on, was a kitchen bench-top made of 2" x 9" pine boards glued together to form a 9' x 3' x 2" slab. It was then given 4 coats of raw linseed oil followed by 3 coats of tung oil. It came out with a nice even satin patina and has shown no signs of bleeding or cracking/warping in six months. The hardness of the tung oil finish has also stood up well to daily use. ...... so far.
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Let it cure longer between and it'll suck less. The flakes are an interesting observation. What kind of wood? How old the tung?

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After using a "tung oil finish" varnish/oil with quite a bit of success. I thought I would use pure tung oil to finish a project. I know I must be impatient, but I would like some feedback. When I put on the first and second...or even the 3rd coat of 20 to 50% diluted (in
mineral spirits) oil, and wipe it down after 15 minutes to 1/2 hr. The
finish looks satiny (looks good!!). After waiting 12 to 24 hrs, it is dull and areas look like they have soaked into the wood leaving it lifeless. It is blotchy. I put on several more coats 24 hrs apart and
I don't see any real improvement. If I try to apply it and let it set,
I still get the same effect and I seem to get "scales" that flake off.
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I used Tung oil once- just once. Same results at first, but it looks great after I spent a week applying seven coats, and it has held up very well. Perhaps one day I'll use it again for something, but the time involved with the stuff is crazy... I hate not being able to make dust for a week or longer.
FWIW, I didn't thin the oil at all until the final coat, so you may need even more applications. I'll be worth it in the end, but it's a PITA while you're doing it. Just keep putting it on.
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