Is Tung Oil Durable? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-28-2008, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Is Tung Oil Durable?

The only real knowledge of finish I have is with what I've tried, first hand.
And I've never used tung oil as a finish. I was experimenting with Formby's high gloss tung oil on scrap, and it's beautiful when rubbed out.
I was wondering how durable tung oil is as a finish? Cold and hot water cups? Sunlight, etc?
I was thinking about putting it on an oak wine table that will eventually (party) have a wet glass on it or partial sunlight.
Wrong choice? I usually use some type of poly but was considering better things.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-28-2008, 05:54 PM
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Formby's is not real tung oil. It doesn't even have tung oil in it. It's more of a wiping varnish. Others here can explain more in detail what's in it. As for it being durable, it's fine for just looking at but I wouldn't use it on something that may receive some abuse and that goes for actual tung oil also.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-28-2008, 06:11 PM
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Toddj99 is right. Very little Tung oil, if any. It's a marketing ploy. That's not to say that Formby's isn't a good varnish. If you are going to abuse a surface consider "Rock Hard Table Top Finish". It's hard to get off with a belt sanded.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-29-2008, 09:56 AM
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Now I am not sure what it was, think it was Formbys tung oil, but I used it on a black powder rifle stock almost 30 yrs ago, still looks like new. And if you know about shooting black powder, you understand what this has been thru.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-29-2008, 10:44 AM
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The "tung oil finishes" you get in the big box stores are junk. I used a polymerized tung oil on our sweet gum vanity top in the guest room, and it sees abuse everyday. We are living in our guest room until we finish our add-on and kitchen so this top has our coffee maker on it, and of course the sink. It gets wet, and coffee spills and tooth paste and everything else you can imagine it's still looking great.

The product I used is made by Sutherland Welles. I didn't want a plastic or poly look. Wanted an oil look but one that would take the abuse. After I told them the application, they gave me a "concoction" to use that consists of both their Marine Spar Varnish with 100% Polymerized Tung Oil and their Exterior Polymerized Tung Oil, and spirits all used in specific amounts, and varied between coats. Both products have uv blockers and a mildewcide.

Looks a mile deep and takes a beating. Cool thing is it easy to repair you don't have to redo the whole top if you have a gouge or scratch. You can feather the repair right in with the rest of it. I know because I already had to do it.

From the website:
" . . . In its natural form Tung Oil is unsuitable for fine finishing, but in its polymerized state it becomes ideal. By substituting polymerized Tung oil for the base oil in his experimental mixtures, Welles hit upon combinations unsurpassed in their ability to bring out and protect the beauty of wood. "
Sutherland Welles Website - Read the "History" page and for sure the "Finishing Tips". Heck read the whole site.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-29-2008, 11:54 AM
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Forby's Tung Oil Finish is a very thin wiping varnish made with alkd resin and soya oil. While it will take many coats to offer protection it is a good varnish.


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