Problems with Polymerized Tung Oil Finish

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Forum topic by Tim & Candy Hicks posted 04-27-2012 02:59 PM 13203 views 3 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tim & Candy Hicks

332 posts in 4314 days

04-27-2012 02:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tung oil question streaking dull spots jarrah burl finishing

Okay, we are having a few issues with our polymerized tung oil finish. We have a Jarrah burl wood table top that we inlay with Malachite and have been applying polymerized tung oil.

Anyway, we applied our last coat and let it dry. Anyway, the tung oil seeps back out of tiny cracks and pinholes. So when it was dry we went over it with 0000 steel wool to knock the nubs down, where the nubs were we had to steel wool a bit extra to get them to come off.

After the whole table top was steel wooled we applied Pledge Orange oil to a small section to see how it would look. We ended up having streak/dull spots where the nubs were.

So I took 1000 grit sandpaper and sanded a small section of the Orange Oil section, then steel wooled it and reapplied the orange oil. After it had set for awhile the Orange oil section that I used 1000 grit on is dull compared to the section of orange oil I did not 1000 grit sand…..

This table is 5’ around and we do not want to apply orange oil to the whole thing and then have streak/dull spots, but we also don’t want it to be dull either…. Does any one have any suggestions?

Tim & Candy Hicks


10 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4302 days

#1 posted 04-28-2012 02:15 AM

I cannot help but I am sure someone here on LJ should be able to help…....good luck

View JayCop's profile


37 posts in 3038 days

#2 posted 04-28-2012 02:29 AM

You should let the finish set for about two weeks then rub the finish out. Possible add shellac over the top of the tung oil about 3-4 coats wait 2 weeks then wet sand from 1000-2000grit if you are going for a gloss look.

View Dusty56's profile


11856 posts in 4292 days

#3 posted 04-29-2012 05:36 PM

“Pledge Orange oil”
I couldn’t find any listing for just the oil , but several different Pledge products that contain the oil instead.
Most are listed as “cleaners’ , which is what I have come to know it is used for.
The Orange oil helps to remove grime and other oils on the furniture that our hands have left behind. Checking the MSDS facts shows that the products are mostly mineral oil with a chemical and an orange fragrance added to them . There are also different spec’s for their New versus Old products. Sounds like your Tung Oil finish is still too fresh / soft , and the orange oil product is having it for lunch. Have you tried reapplying more Tung Oil to the area ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4565 days

#4 posted 04-29-2012 06:13 PM

Tung oil finishes (not pure tung) will pop out of pores for a while. Just keep wiping the surface until it stops. I have used it on several projects, and it required 5 to 6 applications with LOOOONG drying/curing times.
Throw the Pledge in the garbage. It ain’t what ya want for this project.
Lots of wiping and buffing will yield good results.
What tung product are ya usin’? After all, the poly/tung is a form of varnish.

-- [email protected]

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 4593 days

#5 posted 04-29-2012 11:59 PM

Tung Oil is extremely slow to dry … if ever … so, it stays in a somewhat liquid/congealed state for quite a while after application. If your project is a porous or highly figured wood, the oil seeps into the pores … and sits there, waiting to harden. In the mean time, it moves up & down within each pore in response to temperature changes … sort of like a thermometer. When the temp. goes up .. some oil is pushed out of the pores ..when the temp goes down, contraction causes the oil to retract below the surface.

When you sanded off the little “scabs”, you exposed more oil that was not yet dry, so, it shows up as the little dull spots. The addition of the Orange Oil possibly further softened the finish, causing additional smearing … dull streaks.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3886 days

#6 posted 04-30-2012 12:22 AM

Most oils expand as they dry. Your tung oil wasn’t completely cured, sanding the curing skin off areas of expansion seepage doesn’t do anything to fix the problem. You need to let the oil cure before you proceed. If the oil has had metallic dryers added, and it probably has, you can accelerate the action of metallic dryers simply by rubbing the surface down with a weak acid like vinegar. Wipe the surface dry after applying the vinegar. If it were me, I’d rub it down daily with vinegar for a week and then give it a couple more days before proceeding.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4732 days

#7 posted 04-30-2012 01:54 PM

Raw Tung Oil dries faster than BLO when applied properly.
Polymerized Tung Oil dries even faster.
Metallic driers have little or no effect on Tung Oil and are seldom used by manufacturers.

Polymerized tung oil (PTO) dries to a glossier finish than raw tung oil, but still needs to be applied in very thin coats with 3 – 4 days (or more) drying time between coats. The emphasis is on VERY THIN coats of PTO and adequate drying time between coats. The first coat is the most critical. I dilute the PTO about 50/50 with mineral spirits and apply it, then wipe off the excess after about 20 minutes. If it is still wet, then I wipe it again. I allow the first coat to dry and cure for about a week.

Avoid using Pledge Orange Oil. While it contains some D-Limonene (so-called Orange Oil), it also contains Silicone Oil which can play havoc with any future refinishing attempts. It’s mostly made of Mineral Oil and it never dries. Consider using a good furniture-grade paste wax.


-- 温故知新

View 33vicky's profile


4 posts in 313 days

#8 posted 10-13-2019 11:17 PM

Apply Polymerized Tung Oil using a foam brush in the heaviest possible coats. Will dry overnight no problem. Have been using it for 40 years like this. Looks the same as when it was applied. Sand with 220 between coats and use three or four coats.

View Toller's profile


48 posts in 2204 days

#9 posted 10-14-2019 12:50 AM

how do people even find 7 year old threads?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5925 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 10-14-2019 10:34 AM

how do people even find 7 year old threads?

- Toller

I sometimes wonder that myself.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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