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thinning tung oil #1: does thinning tung oil work?

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Blog entry by harum posted 09-08-2019 12:20 AM 589 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of thinning tung oil series Part 2: Results: edge grain »

I’m finishing my silver maple project with tung oil because I like the warm yellow color, the figure, and the texture. My finishing schedule is multiple coats of tung oil thinned 1:1 with this super-green (the color is actually bright lemon yellow) citrus solvent.

I’ve read an opinion from another ww forum that thinning of tung oil is a waste of time and solvent because the oil molecules aren’t getting changed by the solvent and, one by one, still have to do the same job soaking into the wood.

Would thinned tung oil go deeper into the wood?
Or would it go the same depth but faster when thinned? Or does it make no difference? Or does it depend on the species?

Here’s my quick and dirty experiment. In the photo above, drilled two 1/8” deep wells in three scrap pieces of poplar, walnut, and silver maple; filled the left wells with 100% pure tung oil and the right wells with 1:1 by volume of tung oil and citrus solvent. The photo is taken 10 minutes after application of oil.

Will let the oil soak in for a day or two filling up if necessary, then rip through the centers of wells.

Will appreciate any prediction!

Here are the endgrains:

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."



4 comments so far

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

427 posts in 2725 days


#1 posted 09-08-2019 03:17 AM

My guess is it will help very little to none.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View sras's profile

sras

5155 posts in 3610 days


#2 posted 09-08-2019 08:41 PM

Should be interesting! I’m not big on predicting when the answer will be known soon so I’ll offer a suggestion.

You might want to cut your pieces twice – first rip along the grain and then cut each across the grain. The answer might differ with grain direction.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View harum's profile

harum

377 posts in 2123 days


#3 posted 09-09-2019 02:34 AM

Here’s what the boards look after one day. I topped the thinned oil wells; the pure oil wells have barely changed. Unlike in the walnut and the maple, the thinned oil in the poplar board wicked out all over the surface and down to the sides.

I think I’ll wait another day, then dry the wells, and let the oil cure a bit for a few days before cutting.

Thank you, Snipes and Steve! Yes, will cross-cut the boards too.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View harum's profile

harum

377 posts in 2123 days


#4 posted 09-10-2019 02:33 AM

Wiped all the wells dry after about 50 hrs of soaking with oil. Will let them dry/cure for two days and then cut through them to see how deep the oil went. Hopefully, it will be deep enough to see and put a number on it. One of the sellers of tung oil recommends thinning for ease of application, faster drying, and better penetration. As far as I understand, better penetration might mean better protection after curing is finished.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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