Tung oil is derived from the seeds of Tung trees, and is most commonly known as a natural wood finish.
Tung oil is a polymerizing oil that cures, very slowly, to a hard, low-sheen, hand-rubbed finish that protects against staining, and adds waterproofing properties. It is commonly seen on wooden furniture, musical instruments, and floors. Pure Tung oil can be used on food-grade items, such as cutting boards. Unlike boiled linseed oil, pure Tung oil doesn't contain dryers or additives, doesn't amber or yellow over time, doesn't mildew, and retains more flexibility, once cured. Historically, Tung oil was used by the Chinese to help waterproof the hulls of boats.
The most common woods to use Tung oil on include, but are not limited to, oily and hard woods such as oak, ash, walnut, mahogany, and teak.
Advantages of Tung oil
- It's easy to clean
- It's easy to reapply
- It seals the wood to add water resistance
- Over time, it helps maintain the wood's color tone
- It's very mechanically resistant and solvent resistant
- It's very safe to apply and use
Disadvantages of Tung Oil
- Very slow cure time
- The number of coats needed
- It's incompatible with other previous finishes or treatments
- Its odor is retained longer than most modern finishes
- It's very difficult to store