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Old 06-15-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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Alternative to Varnish

I have started using Tung Oil on my teak rails and caps and this makes for a great low maintenance finish. It gives a low sheen and completely seals the wood. You have to get 100% tung oil as there are many that say tung oil but are not the real thing. It is easy to apply with just a rag and requires a light fine sanding between coats. It has worked so well that I am going to do my cabin doors with the same finish. I might seal the doors with polyurethane after I put 5 to six coats of tung oil.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:39 PM   #2
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I used raw linseed oil, and mostly turpentine w some wood preservative. Started off w kerosene & raw linseed oil for best penetration.

Received some flack on TF one in particular commenting that linseed oil "is fungus food". Well all went well while we lived in Alaska and it's the only finish that would hold up in the wet weather there. I re-coated it about once a month. Was always a little bit sticky but wouldn't stick to one's pants but it felt like it when sitting on the cap rail.

We moved south, hauled the boat and stopped re-coating it. Soon it was black. Used vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to take off the black. It's coming back to the rich teak brown now.

Never even thought of using 100% oil. Scuttlebutt in Alaska was that tung oil turned black. I think in time any natural oil will turn black.

C & D wrote; "polyurethane after I put 5 to six coats of tung oil".
Polly may not (probably IMO) adhere to an oily surface. I'd suggest a good oil based varnish over tung oil. I put McCloskie's spar varnish over a heavily linseed oiled piece of plywood and the varnish adhered well. See pic. The "finish" was even subjected to much chain abrasion and hardly suffered at all. The cap rails were about ready for more oil in this photo.
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:43 PM   #3
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Cathy and David,

Please post pics when you have the time and let us know how it holds up for you. I have only done the CPES and varnish so far on our bright work but am interested in long term results of any product. Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:59 PM   #4
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Be careful, I would be shocked if poly held to heavily oiled would for any length of time.

Let us know how long before the oiled wood starts turning black. :-)
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:54 AM   #5
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The key is to use 100% tung oil and let it completely dry, which in our area takes about 1 day. If you Google poly over tung various wood finishing sites indicated this is an acceptable practice if the tung is allowed to fully dry. What surprised me about the tung is how hard a finish it leaves once dry. I am just thinking that a coat of water based poly over the tung will provide additional protection. Tung I believe will not turn black like BLO. Once again the key is 100% pure tung oil. It is not easy to find in local stores and I have only found it online.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:52 AM   #6
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Tung oil completely dry in a day? Amazing. I'm going to try it .. On a 2X4 of course. I should'nt have a problem finding tung oil here.

Yes I also would not be inclined to put anything but oil based stuff on oiled wood but ??

C&D,
How many Coates of tung have you put on and how much time between coats? Why use a rag? Why not a brush? Brush flows on too much? Why sand between coats?
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cathy and David View Post
The key is to use 100% tung oil and let it completely dry, which in our area takes about 1 day. If you Google poly over tung various wood finishing sites indicated this is an acceptable practice if the tung is allowed to fully dry. What surprised me about the tung is how hard a finish it leaves once dry. I am just thinking that a coat of water based poly over the tung will provide additional protection. .
I was thinking of two part polys. You might be right that one part polys will stick.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:00 PM   #8
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Manyboats,
I have put 3 coats on and use a rag because of the viscosity of the tung oil, which I can only compare to molasses. I did not cut it with anything and used less than a pint for the whole boat. I put it on during the heat of the day and it dried to a hard finish in one day. I have tried other oils and have had no luck with any other oil. In fact I was ready to give up until I tried tung. There is no leaching of the oil and the finish when dried is a hard finish that is completely water proof. It has a nice sheen and has maintained it's color. It was recommended to lightly sand with 320 to let the oil adhere to the next coat. From what I have studied finishing with a water based poly will provide additional protection and seal the tung. The tung cures not by evaporation but by emulsifying. It truly gives a varnish like finish. Just be sure to get 100% tung oil there are a lot of imitations that say tung oil and have other products in the mixture. It is expensive but requires so little to apply. I just purchased 1 gallon that will probably last the rest of my life. I hope I answered your questions.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:20 PM   #9
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Greetings,
C&D. "... but by emulsifying." Emulsifying with what?
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:28 PM   #10
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Cure is a better word. To me this is the best low maintenance alternative to varnishing and yields a good low maintenance finish. Time will tell.

https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/...ebunking-myths
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cathy and David View Post
Cure is a better word. To me this is the best low maintenance alternative to varnishing and yields a good low maintenance finish. Time will tell.

https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/...ebunking-myths
Good article!
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:21 PM   #12
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Time will tell.
Agreed.

PS: All the tung oil junks I saw in Hong Kong were black.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:23 PM   #13
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Could you please post where you got your "pure" tung oil?

It's the way I am leaning too...
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:29 PM   #14
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Just Google tung oil. There are various suppliers but I purchased through Real Milk Paint Company. They had the best price on a gallon.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:32 PM   #15
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Just Google tung oil. There are various suppliers but I purchased through Real Milk Paint Company. They had the best price on a gallon.
Thanks...just was on Amazon and saw the Real Milk brand...

Thanks again!!!
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #16
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Not a problem I think you will really be pleased with the result. Our Albins have a ton of teak!
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:21 AM   #17
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Did you follow the steps laid out in the article? 70% thinning the first costs, waiting a week between coats, etc?

Or just wipe it on full strength with a day between coats?
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:30 AM   #18
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The ultimate answer to varnish and oil is plastic wood unfortunately my builder refused to use it.
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:20 AM   #19
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The ultimate answer to varnish and oil is plastic wood unfortunately my builder refused to use it.
Good on him.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:50 AM   #20
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Capt Bill....I applied uncut and full strength and allowed to fully dry which took a day. I have applied 3 coats and this took a less than 1 pint for the rails and caps.
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