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I have a teak dining table that I was planning to finish with Formby's Tung Oil, but I discovered it's been discontinued and need an alternative. The reason I was set on that product is because it didn't darken wood much, had a low gloss finish, and was durable for something like a dining table. I'm aware of some alternatives like Waterlox, but from what I understand that will darken the wood more than Formby's, and the teak on this table is already fairly dark.

Any suggestions?
 

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This has been discussed here before, but I'll repeat it. You can make a mix of pure tung oil, mineral spirits (paint thinner; not the odorless kind), and polyurethane. Use any degree of gloss poly you like. It is often made with equal parts of the 3 ingredients, but you can increase/decrease any within limits. Increasing the proportion of poly will result in a more rapid thickness build and might increase durability somewhat. You can wipe on thin coats using a folded piece of paper towel or cloth and apply new coats about once a day or two. Adding a bit of japan drier (according to instructions) will reducing drying time. This mix gives wonderful results, but won't be quite as durable as poly or some other finishes alone. For a dining table, I would be inclined to put 2-3 coats of poly on the top. The mix will work quite well on the rest. If you don't expect a lot of wear and tear, the mix is great.

There is also a similar mix of shellac, dna, and tung oil. I have no experience with it. So, I can't say how durable it is. I understand it is a popular mix for turnings.
 

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I have a teak dining table that I was planning to finish with Formby's Tung Oil, but I discovered it's been discontinued and need an alternative. The reason I was set on that product is because it didn't darken wood much, had a low gloss finish, and was durable for something like a dining table. I'm aware of some alternatives like Waterlox, but from what I understand that will darken the wood more than Formby's, and the teak on this table is already fairly dark.

Any suggestions?
With some tinkering you might be able to make your own. The Formby's finish is a mixture of 100% tung oil and old fashion varnish. I don't know the ratio but you might get some flat varnish and mix it with tung oil. I would start with a 50/50 ratio and go from there. The tung oil would be glossy and mixed with flat varnish you would probably come out with satin. If you can't get the varnish in flat you can get a flattening agent which is compatible with varnish. It just makes it more complex as you would have to carefully measure everything to be able to repeat the brew.
 

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With some tinkering you might be able to make your own. The Formby's finish is a mixture of 100% tung oil and old fashion varnish. I don't know the ratio but you might get some flat varnish and mix it with tung oil. I would start with a 50/50 ratio and go from there. The tung oil would be glossy and mixed with flat varnish you would probably come out with satin. If you can't get the varnish in flat you can get a flattening agent which is compatible with varnish. It just makes it more complex as you would have to carefully measure everything to be able to repeat the brew.
The only place I have found to get natural old fashioned varnish is from art supply sources. Consequently, it is pretty expensive and I'm not sure if it is the same as the traditional stuff or not. I think spar varnish is the only other alternative these days and, I understand, it is softer and you don't need the UV protection for indoor use. Also, I haven't looked it up, so I don't know if it is the same as the traditional spar varnish either. Although, it will work just fine in the 3 part mix. By the way, turpentine and BLO can also be used in the 3 way mix, but the OP wants a lighter color.
 

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Watco makes a Tung Oil Finish as does Minwax.

You’re right that Waterlox is dark and I sometimes wonder why since it likely contains more Tung Oil than the others. I still like it best though.

I really like Sutherland Welles Polymerized Tung Oil. It’s tung oil that’s treated so it dries in a short period of time unlike pure tung oil. It’s light in color, pops the grain and makes nice gloss.

Test whatever you use on a scrap piece or inconspicuous spot. Teak and other oily woods Have a way of causing finishes not to dry properly.
 

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Watco makes a Tung Oil Finish as does Minwax.

You’re right that Waterlox is dark and I sometimes wonder why since it likely contains more Tung Oil than the others. I still like it best though.

I really like Sutherland Welles Polymerized Tung Oil. It’s tung oil that’s treated so it dries in a short period of time unlike pure tung oil. It’s light in color, pops the grain and makes nice gloss.

Test whatever you use on a scrap piece or inconspicuous spot. Teak and other oily woods Have a way of causing finishes not to dry properly.
I’m also partial to Sutherland Welles products and have been a long time acquaintance/friend of company founder Frank Welles, plus have worked together on a couple of wood finishing projects.

The closest equivalent products to Formby’s in the Sutherland Welles line are Murdoch’s Hard Sealer, Hard Oil, and Wiping Varnish all of which are a polymerized tung oil/urethane alkyd blend. Murdoch was Frank’s uncle. I’ve used several of their non-film forming finishes on teak and other exotics with great results.

Formby’s is essentially mostly solvent with a splash of tung oil and alkyd resin, and not a tung oil per say, but more of a wiping varnish.
 

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The only place I have found to get natural old fashioned varnish is from art supply sources. Consequently, it is pretty expensive and I'm not sure if it is the same as the traditional stuff or not. I think spar varnish is the only other alternative these days and, I understand, it is softer and you don't need the UV protection for indoor use. Also, I haven't looked it up, so I don't know if it is the same as the traditional spar varnish either. Although, it will work just fine in the 3 part mix. By the way, turpentine and BLO can also be used in the 3 way mix, but the OP wants a lighter color.
Tried and True still makes varnish. With a better search I'm sure there are others. Mohawk makes a table top varnish but it has urethane in it. I'm not sure you could get the same results.
 

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Tried and True still makes varnish. With a better search I'm sure there are others. Mohawk makes a table top varnish but it has urethane in it. I'm not sure you could get the same results.
Good to know. Thanks. There is a regional paint manufacturer near me that used to make (or sell) traditional varnish, but last I checked, it was no longer available.
 

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I’m also partial to Sutherland Welles products and have been a long time acquaintance/friend of company founder Frank Welles, plus have worked together on a couple of wood finishing projects.

The closest equivalent products to Formby’s in the Sutherland Welles line are Murdoch’s Hard Sealer, Hard Oil, and Wiping Varnish all of which are a polymerized tung oil/urethane alkyd blend. Murdoch was Frank’s uncle. I’ve used several of their non-film forming finishes on teak and other exotics with great results.
Is Sutherland Welles Hard Oil similar to Rubio Monocoat and Osmo PolyX?

Never mind! Ignore this post. I Just read the description on Sutherland Welles’ site. I’m liking their product line more and more…
 

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Is Sutherland Welles Hard Oil similar to Rubio Monocoat and Osmo PolyX?

Never mind! Ignore this post. I Just read the description on Sutherland Welles’ site. I’m liking their product line more and more…
The Sutherland Welles equivalent to hardwax oil such as Rubio is Millie’s All Purpose Penetrating Tung Oil which is a beeswax-polymerized tung oil blend & provides a beautiful food safe finish . The biggest difference between polymerized tung oil finishes vs the European hardwax oils is that polymerized tung oil requires multiple applications due to requiring a high percentage of solvents in the formulation vs hardwax oils which typically have an oil content greater than 95% with little to no solvents which permits a one coat application vs having to apply multiple coats of polymerized tung oil to achieve the desired look.
 
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