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rubbing out a tung oil finish

Briarpark's picture

Folks,


I need some advice, I'e just built a cherry and curly maple chest of drawers and finished it with Formby's high gloss tung oil finish.  I think this is actually an oil and varnish finish. 


I'e been advised to use lemon oil and 0000 steel wool to rub it out instead of wax and 0000 steel wool.  Woodcraft sold me a lemon oil polish and said that would work.  However, the finish isn't getting real smooth, just kind lemony smelling and  I'm getting some spots where it looks like gray stains from the steel wool.


So far, I'e just done the bottom of the dresser top to see how it would work and I was looking for some adice before I move on.  I'll try to add pictures later today since that should help.


Any thoughts are appreciated.


 


-Tim

roc's picture

(post #112424, reply #1 of 10)

As I recall " Lemon Oil " is just mineral oil and some scent added. Is bunk. Put oily stuff on a surface it will look shiny. For a little while until it rubs off. Won't dry.

Sounds like you are going for the unobtainable. Tung oil does not dry hard or glossy. Try it your self. Get some PURE tung oil = just oil and some dryer catalyst in the bottle. Put some on a sheet of glass and come back in a few days or a week. It is all wrinkly and frosted looking. Is not gloss.

The Maloof finish I use has 1/3 tung oil in it. Dries semi glossy but has a lot of polyurethane in it. Doesn't need any oil rubbed on.

You want true gloss you need to use shellac and or a hard drying varnish. Fill the surface etc. It is a big deal.

Search the articles on FWW.

As far as the gray patches I bet the finish isn't dry and the lemon oil is dissolving it.

It takes a while for finish to dry. I am certainly no finishing expert. Be interesting to read others takes on this.

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )


Edited 8/9/2009 3:18 pm by roc

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

HowardAcheson's picture

(post #112424, reply #2 of 10)

>> Formby's high gloss tung oil finish

That finish is a pretty standard varnish. It has no real tung oil in it. So, treat it just as you would any non-poly varnish.

To rub it out, first be sure you have 5-6 coats applied. Let it fully cure for 3-4 weeks to let it get hard enough to sand. Start with 400 grit to flatten the surface. Then move to 600 W&D, then 1200 W&D. At this point you can stop and you will have a satin finish. If you want a gloss finish, use a buffing pad on an electric buffer and apply white rubbing compound. Then apply a swirl remover and your will have a flat, high gloss mirror like surface.

BTW, steel wool is never a good choice as the metal shards break off and can become embedded in the finish. Sooner or later, these shards will rust and you can end up with a speckled finish. Use a non-woven abrasive pad like Scotchbrite. The gray Scotchbrite is equivilent to 4/0 steel wool and works fine for and smoothing a finish. As already said, "lemon" oil is nothing more than mineral oil with a little artificial lemon odorant.

Finally, is sounds like you may have sanded through some the finish down to the underlying wood. If you are going to want to continue "rubbing out", and you didn't use at least 5-6 coats, apply more finish and let it dry for the 3-4 weeks.

Howie.........
Howie.........
Briarpark's picture

(post #112424, reply #3 of 10)

Thanks for the advice, I'e wiped on three coats on the wood right now and its been about one week since the last coat.  I plan to wipe off the lemon oil (and return the rest of the bottle to Woodcraft if I can since I only used about a tablespoon.)


Prior to putting the first coat of finish, I sanded 120, 150, 180, 220,and then a light sanding with 320 and then vacuumed it and wiped it down with a clean cloth.


I'm located in Greenville SC and its been 85-90 F most days and dry with some days over 95F.  The workshop room where I was finishing it was ~85-90 F lately and I let the finish dry about 24 hrs between coats. 


I now have the dresser inside the air conditioned house and could apply a few more coats and then let it dry while I make the drawers.


I'll also plan to switch to scotch brite.

Gretchen's picture

(post #112424, reply #4 of 10)

Just because I wouldn't trust Formby to make at LEAST a 50/50 mix of varnish and diluent, I would put at least 6 coats on  before trying to rub it out. But of course, that is just me the cynic!!


Make your own wipeon the next time and have a better knowledge of what your finish really is.  ;o)


Gretchen

Gretchen

roc's picture

(post #112424, reply #5 of 10)

Hi Gretchen,

Would you say there is ever any reason to put real tung oil in a " standard varnish " ?

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

roc

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

HowardAcheson's picture

(post #112424, reply #6 of 10)

>> Would you say there is ever any reason to put real tung oil in a " standard varnish "

First, let's clear up any definitional and/or semantic problems. Varnish is made by mixing a resin (alkyd, phenolic, urethane) and a drying oil (linseed, soya or tung oil). The mixture is then heated until the two components combine into a new compound called "varnish". A thinner is then added to make it more workable.

Manufacturers will vary the resin and/or the oil to produce varnish that has some particular characteristics. For example Waterlox Original uses phenolic resin and tung oil to make a hard and slightly more water tolerant varnish. But the phenolic resin makes the varnish very dark amber. Other manufacturers will use alkyd resin and soya oil to make a very light colored varnish. But it's not as hard or water tolerant. Poly varnish is made with urethane resin and linseed oil and is more amber than the alkyd/soya varnish. While the urethane makes a varnish somewhat cloudy and less clear it is somewhat more scratch and heat resistant. All varnish is a compromise.

Once the resin and oil are changed into varnish, the oil used is no longer relevant except for some minor characteristics such as tung oil imparting a slight amount more of water resistance. Think of bread. Once the yeast and flour are mixed and heated they become bread. Bread is a new compound and the flour is no longer flour.

Where confusion sometimes reigns is with what are known as "oil/varnish" products like Minwax Tung Oil Finish, Watco Danish oil and others. In the case of these products, more oil is mixed with the varnish after the varnish is manufactured. These oil/varnish products are used for penetrating in-the-wood finishes. They are applied, allowed to be absorbed and then wiped dry. The make for a finish that is minimal and not very protective or long lasting. But they can be nice for surfaces that do not get much abuse.Howie.........


Edited 8/11/2009 11:38 am ET by HowardAcheson

Howie.........
Jammersix's picture

(post #112424, reply #7 of 10)

You need to post more often, Howie.


"A few of us went down to Gettysburg. Some of us didn't come back.

If you weren't there, you'll never understand."-- Unknown Infantryman

byhammerandhand's picture

(post #112424, reply #10 of 10)

Good job explaining, Howard.

For others dropping in :
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/finish2.html


Edited 8/10/2009 9:02 pm ET by byhammerandhand

Briarpark's picture

(post #112424, reply #8 of 10)

i'd like to learn to make my own mix of varnish.  any advice on how to start or where to read more would be appreciated.

Jammersix's picture

(post #112424, reply #9 of 10)

Beware, young Jedi!

Down that path lies the book "Grow Your Own Wood"!


"A few of us went down to Gettysburg. Some of us didn't come back.

If you weren't there, you'll never understand."-- Unknown Infantryman