How To Apply Tung Oil to Wood

Tung oil is derived from the Tung tree, and is a drying substance applied on wood to protect the wood from water and moisture as well as to enhance the natural color and grain of wood. Tung has been used for hundreds of years, beginning in China where it was applied on wood products that are used at sea. Here are the steps to applying Tung oil on wood.

  1. Smoothen. Tung oil is usually applied as a finish for wood products. Take coarse sandpaper with a grit of about 200 and use it to smooth out the surface of the wood. Make sure that you are satisfied with the texture of the wood surface before you apply the Tung oil, since sanding the surface will remove the Tung layer on the surface.
  2. Apply Tung oil. After using sandpaper to smoothen out the surface of the wood product, the next step is to take the Tung oil and pour it over the surface of the wood. Keep in mind that you need to use a very liberal amount since the Tung oil is absorbed by the wood. Once this is done, take a piece of presoaked cotton cloth and use it to massage the oil into the wood. Use small circular strokes to do this, and apply more Tung oil as necessary. You will notice that the Tung oil is absorbed by the wood. You will know that you are done when the oil is thoroughly absorbed and the cotton cloth that you are using begins to dry up.
  3. Let sit. Afterwards, let the wood piece sit in a cool and dry place for about 24 hours. This will allow the Tung oil to penetrate the pores of the wood. If you have used more Tung oil than the wood can absorb, take a clean and dry piece of cloth and wipe away the residue, before letting the piece of wood dry for twenty four hours.
  4. Re-apply. After a whole day, take the wood and use a very fine sandpaper to reapply the Tung oil. You need to apply at least two coats of Tung oil on wood, and on the second application you should use sandpaper with a grit of 600. These are very fine, and will not remove the first coat of Tung oil on the wood. Instead, this will complement and work the Tung oil into the crevices of the wood surface. Let this dry again for another 24 hours before using the piece of wood. Keep in mind, however, that you can apply more than two layers of Tung oil as a finish, especially if you are attempting to add a deeper hue onto the wood. However, Tung oil has a very light color which means that you will need to apply it a good number of times before a considerable stain appears.

Remember, however, that Tung oil is a term widely used in wood work. Sometimes, Tung finishes are used interchangeably with other natural resins used to coat wood, which may lead to finishes that do not actually contain Tung oil and which does not actually have the water resistant effects of Tung oil.


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