I called the 1800 number to ask Minwax what is in three "Tung Oil Finish".
Many in this group have claimed there is NO tung oil in it.
So I called to find out what they have to say. They told me it is a mixture
of Tung Oil (unknown percentage) and Varnish. So it is a oil varnish blend.
Why do so many claim there is NO tung oil in there? Did an independent lab
run tests I am unaware of?
They've read _Understanding Wood Finishes_ by Bob Flexnor, or
other wrtiings by him or derivative of his. He insists that many
'tung oils' have little or no tung oil in them. I have never seen
anyone cite a specific example of a 'tung oil' that was anything
As you found out, 'tung oil finish' may contain other things in
addition to tung oil. That seems to be the basis for the myth
that many 'tugnoils' aren't.
I found Mr Flexnor's book to be excellent but with some
caveats. He is fond of debunking 'old wives tales' which
in some cases seem to be rather contrived misttatements
of conventional wisdom. His directions for using
sodium hydroxide are unsafe. Google this ng for
the right way.
Perhaps you are correct.
I've read it three times and I'm still not sure. I though he was trying to
say that "all tung oils are really some type of blend"
That said, what I took away from the Flexner text, was that just because the
can says "tung oil" does not mean that that it has a meaningful amount of
tung oil. In a practical sense, there are products out there with tung oil
in their name that, for all intents and purposes, have no tung oil at all.
Unless it says "pure tung oil", the label tells you very little about what's
in the can. I would be nice if finishe shad FDA-style labeling, (e.g., HI-C
really does have 10% real fruit juice, which, IMO is pretty insignificant).
NewsGuy.Com 30Gb $9.95 Carry Forward and On Demand Bandwidth
Then I should clarify.
I've never seen a product labeled 'tung oil' that was anything but
Any product I have ever seen that was tung oil plus something else
was labeled 'tung oil foo', for various values of 'foo' and NOT just
Yes, that is what he says and I say that's a myth. Had he not omitted
'foo', then the statement might have been true. As it stands, his
statement is like observing that 'Cranberry Juice Cocktail' might
have very little cranberry juice in it and then writing that
don't necessarily have any cranberry in them at all.
That is one of my criticisms of his book. The 'myths' he debunks
are sometimes exagerations or misinterpretations of true statements,
and I'm not clear that anyone other than the author ever made those
exagerations or misinterpretations. E.g. he debunks a couple
of straw men.
However, the bulk of his text is a very practical and informative
guide to wood finishing. I'm happy to recomend it.
My experience in reading labels tells me that if it says 'tung oil'
it is pure tung oil. If it says 'tung oil foo' then it is not pure
oil anymore than latex paint is pure latex.
I believe what Flexner and others have said is that products labeled
"tung oil finish", as opposed to those labeled "tung oil" or "pure
tung oil", may contain little or no tung oil. I guess it's something
like a can of stain labeled "golden pecan" contains no pecans, or
"wlanut finish" contains no walnuts.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.