Tung Oil

imageTung oil is a drying oil which derived from the nut of the tung tree. The seed of the nut is pressed to produce the oil. As a drying oil, tung oil hardens and produces a transparent, plastic like finish.

Tung oil seeps into the wood grain, giving it a perpetual wet look which accentuates the grain. The wood is slightly darkened by the oil and it has a warm, rich look to it. It provides a relatively hard surface, when intact, that provides a waterproof finish that is impervious to dust, alcohol, water, acetone, and various acids.

imageIn its pure form, tung oil is non-toxic which makes it an excellent finish to use on surfaces that come in contact with food, such as cutting boards and bowls.

The advantages of tung oil are:

  • Waterproof (as long as water does not sit on the surface too long)
  • Resistant to alcohol
  • Resistant to acetone
  • Resistant to vegetable and fruit acids
  • Flexible. Maintains its protection with the expansion and contraction of wood
  • Accentuates the texture and grain of the wood
  • Easy and very forgiving to apply
  • Easy to re-apply when surface is damaged.
  • Non-toxic and food safe

The disadvantages of tung oil are:

  • Pure oil has a long drying time
  • Not scratch or abrasive resistance
  • Can have a slight odour that may last a few days to a few weeks.
  • It can be difficult to store
  • When storing if a film starts to form in container or gummy deposits are around the edge of the container, the whole batch has to be discarded.

To learn how to apply tung oil click here.