A well worn subject. Water resistant finish question.

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Forum topic by jeepturner posted 06-03-2012 03:06 PM 1298 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jeepturner's profile


941 posts in 3357 days

06-03-2012 03:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a project that I am making for a coworker. He wants a round wood box to house a plastic container of shaving soap. The wood chosen for this is mahogany. My issue is that he want’s it to look like the natural wood, however it is going to be stored in a hot humid environment.
My plan after searching LJ’s and reading some words of wisdom from all of you is this. Soak the thing in thinned tung oil, let that cure and then spray it with rattle can poly from the box store. After that cures then knock back the shine with abrasive.
So please, let me know if this is going to be the best thing for it.
Do you agree with my plan?
Do you know of something better?
Do you have specific suggestions on what to use for the cutting process after the poly spray?

I need this to come out perfect. Thanks in advance. I have to head out to the shop now. I will come back in awhile to read any and all responses.

-- Mel,

5 replies so far

View Wazy's profile


75 posts in 2802 days

#1 posted 06-03-2012 04:03 PM

Hi Mel, I’m a big fan of Tung oil and if you want a mat finish use natural tongue oil without driers. I use a soft cloth for applying and let it sit a few days between coats (usually 4 – 5 coats). This is very durable and very moisture resistant. The grain pops out nicely and no rattle can poly is required. If you want to use polymerized tung oil, it will dry quicker with a a quicker process & much more gloss. I’m not a fan of putting rattle can poly over tung oil ( or china oil as it may be called). Wally

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 06-03-2012 04:58 PM

I make flutes out of aromatic cedar. When people play them, the moisture from their breath is warm and humid and actually condenses inside the chamber of the flute. I soak a flute with tung oil (pure tung oil, not anything with petroleum based stuff in it), thinned 50/50 with citrus solvent. I do that twice and let it hang to drip dry and then I do 2 coats of 75/25 (75 tung oil/25 citrus solvent). Last coat is pure tung oil and I expose this to sunlight as it dries. It can take a while to dry depending on the environment it’s in. The sun helps. Just buff it with a soft cloth for a mat finish. I haven’t had one crack yet and they do get played and the moisture actually has to be shaken out of them occasionally. So it seems to be working.

On the exterior, if you want a little more shine, just rub it with beeswax and buff it briskly. You can control the final gloss somewhat, by what degree you sand it to. If I stop at 220 then I can easily get a mat finish. The finer I sand it, the easier it is to get a gloss. Sanded to 600 or even 800 you can get them pretty glossy without using a film finish. Just tung and wax.

I do soapstone carvings in much the same way. Control final gloss to some degree by the extent to which you sand it.

View jeepturner's profile


941 posts in 3357 days

#3 posted 06-03-2012 06:57 PM

Charlie, I just did a search on the history of tung oil. When you say you use pure tung oil, are you referring to a specific product? If so what product do you use? According to an article I just read the product that I can get from the BORG is not really tung oil at all, just a wipe on varnish. Link

I may just have to start this whole thing over. I discovered on sanding that there is a hair line check that runs through the entire box! :-(

-- Mel,

View Philzoel's profile


303 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 06-03-2012 10:24 PM

When I want it perfect I take scrape and sand to same finish and paint strips on it as a test. No since in taking a chance.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2926 days

#5 posted 06-03-2012 10:43 PM

Pure tung oil and citrus solvent are available here:

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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