Tung Oil questions

mark2456

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I removed the wrap from a Yamaha Manu Katche Hip Gig kit that was wrinkled. It’s made from luan mahogany I applied a first coat of Mineral spirits and Tung Oil at a 70/30 dilution. Waited 24 hours then a second coat of Tung Oil and mineral spirits at a 50/50 rate. Waited about 72 hours then applied a coat of pure Tung Oil. I’m not seeing much sheen. How many coats will I need to have even a decent gloss?
 

mark2456

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All of the info I read said to dilute the first two coats to help the oil penetrate the wood and aid in drying time. The last third coat was pure oil. And after 48 hours still very little sheen. When I touch the shell my hand has oil residue even after a good wipe down.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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It may depend if you're using real tung oil or "tung oil finish".
Either way you'll probably need 5 or 6 full strength coats before you'll notice any sheen.
 

jptrickster

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Tune oil is not an optimal finish for a porous open pore/ grain wood such as mahogany or luan unless you firs use a sanding sealer and a filler. The raw porous type wood is going to absorb /drink the oil and take a long time to dry, could leach out for weeks/months. I would use a satin varnish or poly.
Tung works very well on hardwoods such as maple, cherry, walnut ect.
Keep in mind tung is a very soft and porous finish susceptible to water and other liquids that will leave marks
 

mark2456

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It may depend if you're using real tung oil or "tung oil finish".
Either way you'll probably need 5 or 6 full strength coats before you'll notice any sheen.
Yes I’m using pure 100% Tung Oil.
 

mark2456

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Tune oil is not an optimal finish for a porous open pore/ grain wood such as mahogany or luan unless you firs use a sanding sealer and a filler. The raw porous type wood is going to absorb /drink the oil and take a long time to dry, could leach out for weeks/months. I would use a satin varnish or poly.
Tung works very well on hardwoods such as maple, cherry, walnut ect.
Keep in mind tung is a very soft and porous finish susceptible to water and other liquids that will leave marks
Well I am where I’m at now so what’s my options? Should I continue with more coats or try to top coat with something else when the last coat oil 100% pure Tung Oil has cured
 

jeffh

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Yes I’m using pure 100% Tung Oil.
People get confused between pure tung oil and the more common tung oil finish. Pure tung oil is generally used in formulating a blend for a finish. If it’s used by itself it basically never fully cures. Not in 24 hours, not in a week, not in six months. You can never achieve a gloss with it because it never hardens enough. The tung oil finishes you can buy at the big box stores or the corner hardware store are blends that generally include some type of varnish that lets the finish harden and dry.

Once you get the right finish to apply, you’ll need to plan for substantially more than three applications to create a real gloss. Meanwhile you have a challenge at hand getting all that pure tung oil off your shell.
 
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Sinclair

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I counted 12 coats on a cedar drum I built. Never did shine like a varnish.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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What JP and Jeff said. Pure tung oil will never dry, nor achieve a glossy finish. Been there, tried that. It just does not get hard. And, just as they pointed out, if it did magically dry, you would still end up with a soft finish.

This entire finishing process does not need to be a laborious, complicated project. I'd use lacquer thinner to remove the tung oil, sand down the wood again, apply a wood sealer, then brush (or roll) on coats of gloss or satin polyurethane. I just finished a large project with mahogany veneer. I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper between each coat of satin poly (allowing each coat to dry overnight) and eventually laid on four coats to achieve a glass-smooth finish. It looks beautiful and is hard as a rock.

Good luck with your project. We'd love to see some pics when you are finished.

GeeDeeEmm
 

REF

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I love Tung oil. Easy to apply with a sponge brush but, yeah, I have always gone 8-12 coats to get a nice reflection of my face when looking at the drum. I always use Formby's because it's easy to get. Not pure tung oil but, does the job for me in the gloss finish.
 

Barden

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I went down this route with other furniture projects. Tung oil needs to be wiped on, let sit for a small amount of time (depending on which coat it is), then wiped off. You will need to wipe off all of the excess that's on the surface. This may take a significant amount of elbow grease and lots of clean rags (make sure you take care of the oily rags: google the risk if you don't know about that).

A famous furniture maker recommended rubbing his oil mixture (including tung) into the wood, then rubbing off the excess with a clean rag until the rag is warm in your hand.

I mention this because it's a very different concept than brushing on pure tung oil and waiting for it to dry (polymerize).

The good news is, that you can make a mixture of oil, thinner and your varnish of choice as the final number of coats gradually leaning heavier on the varnish. Still wipe on then wipe off, but you will develop a sheen and a durable and repairable finish.
 

jptrickster

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Here's a slab of 200+ yr old Cuban Mahogany I did with tung oil (watco)
Its a very tight pore mahogany, probably the most dense speices of mahogany on the planet, you can't get this old growth wood anymore , it was highly coveted by Early American woodworkers 17- 1800's for fine furniture unfortunately the Cubans burnt it all and sold and/or used the charcoal lol. Anyway sorry for the history lesson back to the finish.

This peice was finely sanded and hand burnished all the way up to 2000 grit which is actually not really grit at all, pretty much polish at that point. The wood had a mirror shine before oil was applied. I did about 10 coats over the course of a year or so then let it cure for another year before waxing. The finish is deep. organic and brings out the color and detail of the wood like no other finish. That was done about 25 yrs ago. The table is perfect and held up fine. . If you've got the time we've got the sheen! I've done some cherry and walnut peices w equally satisfactory results.
ps the original slab was 40" x 12'. I made some other peices along with the bases all from the same slab.
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Thumper

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It may depend on the density of the wood. i finished a walnut shell with Tung oil; three coats was all I need to bring a decent sheen to the finish with a polishing cloth. Wasn't looking for a varnish looking finish, just a glow.
 

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