Curly Walnut to condition or not to condition

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Forum topic by donaldmee posted 12-16-2010 08:23 PM 2200 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 4359 days

12-16-2010 08:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip walnut finishing sanding modern

Hey LJ’s So I have a piece of curly walnut that I am making in to a table. I have never worked with wood , so I am wondering if I should use a wood conditioner on it first. I was planing on useing good old tung oil. not sure if tung oil needs it.

-- donald mee

6 replies so far

View PeteMoss's profile


214 posts in 4960 days

#1 posted 12-16-2010 08:49 PM

Oil should go on it beautifully straight from the can.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5218 days

#2 posted 12-16-2010 09:22 PM

be careful what kind of tung oil you use. I could be wrong, but I’m under the impression that “pure” tung oil can take months to cure or may never cure at all. Things like Formby’s tung oil finish are actually a varnish mixture and will cure much faster. Hopefully others can correct me if I’m wrong.

View DDDamian's profile


40 posts in 4301 days

#3 posted 12-16-2010 09:42 PM

Tung oil will look beautiful – a couple of thinned coats followed by a couple of full-strength – a day between each is best especially for full-strength coats. You’ll get a soft satiny finish and the figure will stand out nicely. And HokieMojo is bang on – most “tung oil” is not tung oil at all. You’ll know by the very distinctive nutty smell, and it will continue to smell for a while after, like a couple of weeks. Use polymerized pure tung oil – unpolymerized will take forever to dry. Lee Valley sells both types. Mop up any puddling that occurs on the later coats – you want thin layers. The first couple will soak right in if thinned 50/50 and penetrate nicely to enhance the curl.

-- - before I could only dream it....

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4444 days

#4 posted 12-16-2010 09:43 PM

HokieMojo has a point. One of the polymerized tung oils (Moser’s or Sutherland Welles, etc.) or a tung oil varnish (nothing wrong with Formby’s) is a better choice IMHO. Or, use my favorite, WaterLox. I use WaterLox for all my house and furniture projects. It’s perhaps the most forgiving finish made, and can be applied for a matte, satin, or glossy finish. It can be cut back and polished to a mirror finish. You can also apply it with just about anything… brush, wipe, spray, old sock, anything. I even use it on floors, and it goes for years before needing a touch-up. For touch up, just sand a little and apply some more. Doesn’t get much easier than that.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View DDDamian's profile


40 posts in 4301 days

#5 posted 12-16-2010 09:43 PM

PS I used polymerized tung oil under epoxy for “Jewel” and just polymerized tung oil for “Mediaval” if you look under my projects…

-- - before I could only dream it....

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 4560 days

#6 posted 12-16-2010 09:57 PM

No you won’t need to use conditioner, we use mostly walnut and have never used it or had a need to.

I do however suggest a finish mix to you, it’s very simple to mix and use, shelf life is pretty much forever.

Mix in equal ratios

Boiled linseed oil
Raw Tung oil
Poly Urethane ( we use minwax semi-gloss, if you want satin mix your last coat with satin poly )

To do a coffee table we would typically used about 200ml total finish for the first coat. Let it sit for 20 – 30 minutes and wipe it all off, we use blue shop towels to wipe it off. When you wipe wipe it all off, go back in 30 minutes and give it another rub down.

Just a suggestion for you, we’ve used this finish on almost every project we’ve built. This is the same recipe Sam Maloof used, I can not take any credit for it.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

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