As we have mentioned about the previous types of food-safe finishes for wooden projects, we have mentioned tung oil in one of the articles. This time we are going to focus on tung oil and delve deeper into its benefits and how it can help us in maintaining health and safety when managing foods and beverages.
So, is Tung oil food safe? This is the question we need to answer first. But, we will know it later as we progress in the next part of this article.
What is Tung Oil?
If you are not yet familiar with what this substance is, well, let me define it for you.
Tung Oil is a kind of vegetable oil originated from Tung Tree fruit seeds that grow in South-East Asia especially in China. It is often sold in the purest form and what makes it so interesting is its quick-drying ability. This means that it penetrates the wood easily and hardens completely.
The purest form of Tung Oil has been applied in the boats, finished stones, and various wooden projects. This is also is a perfect alternative to some drying oils like linseed, soy, and walnuts.
It comes with a distinctive smell, but not too aggressive. This is the reason why experts suggest diluting this oil with a 50 percent solvent. This way, the application of the mixture with this substance will be easier.
You can use a citrus solvent to give a good scent to its mixture. At the same time, it can eradicate all petroleum-based materials before using them to your boards and woodworking projects. Lastly, doing so minimizes the chances of harming the environment.
A Guide To Using Tung Oil in Various Projects
Tung oil comes into two types – the pure one and the dark one. How do they differ?
With pure tung oil, it does not contain additives and presented naturally. Plus, it also distillates and it only means that it will not produce a heavy or shiny finish. When it dries, pure Tung Oil resembles the honey color.
On the other hand, dark Tung oil contains an added resinous hydrocarbon which is PCB-free and non-carcinogenic. This element makes the oil looking darker and deeper finish.
Now, how much Tung oil will you need for a project?
Every gallon of this substance can accommodate around 400 sq. feet of a surface which depends on its porosity levels. Usually, you will need a maximum of five (5) coats. If you are going to cover this area size, you should have two gallons of the solvent and another two for the oil. The solvent’s purpose is to thin the layer. You can also prepare five gallons for the pre-thinned option.
How To Apply Tung Oil Into Your Woodwork
There are 6 easy steps to follow when applying this oil to the projects. In every step, I will try to explain the details for your guidance.
Clean and Prepare the Wood Surface.
Before getting started, check if there is a presence of dust, grease, dirt or any contaminant on your wooden surface. You can strip or sand its surface to get rid of old finish or coating in there. Then, use trisodium phosphate to clean the area and sand it with sandpaper (150 grits). Lastly, you can vacuum to clear the dust.
Use a Thinner.
The next step is to thin the oil for easier application. It also promotes a quicker drying process and enhancement of penetration on the wood layers. However, there are exceptions to this step. You cannot think of this Tung oil if it will be used to unfinished and old wood floors, weathered wood, and concrete floors. In other words, you cannot use a thinner on any highly absorbent material.
Work on the First Layer.
Using a natural bristle brush, you can start applying a generous amount of the mixture as the primary layer. You can also use a soft and clean rag or a sponge brush if you do not have this bristle brush. In this part, you aim to let the tung oil saturate thoroughly into the wood layers.
Apply The Second Layer of Coat.
As soon as the first layer has been fully absorbed by the wood surface, you can proceed to the application of the subsequent coat. But you should wait for at least 40 minutes before applying another coat. Or, check if the surface is 80% glossy after 40 minutes. It only shows that those wood cells are already saturated.
For some decorative pieces, you may have to apply 2 to 4 coatings. For functional objects that often used, walked on or handled, you should have at least 3 coatings up to 5 coatings.
Eliminate Unabsorbed Oil.
Now that you are done applying multiple coats, you will notice that the wood surface can no longer absorb more oil. All you need to do is to remove it using a clean rag by wiping the surface.
This is also the part where the surface becomes completely saturated. Get the best results by applying 1 to 2 additional coats of this tung oil.
Curing For 30 Days
The first phase of the curing process is at least 7 days. Then, wait until the layer is fully cured up to 30 days. Keep the object away from direct sunlight. The best part of using Tung Oil is that you do not need other protective coatings or sealers on the top layer. This is simply because this substance naturally seals and protects the surface. All you just have to do is to clean the surface using a bar of dish soap and hot water.
If necessary, re-apply the mixture for more protection. For areas that are often walked on and used, they may require maintenance for the revival of their look. You can mix one (1) part of the tung oil and two (2) parts of thinner. Simply wipe it down on the surface. Let it dry.
Tung oil Benefits and Uses
For many reasons, people prefer tung oil in their wood projects. Now, let us answer the same question earlier “is Tung Oil food safe?” Yes, it is. Aside from being food-safe, it has the following interesting qualities – durability, flexibility, water-resistant, and protective coating. This substance does not go rancid, darken nor attracts mold.
Since it gets dried much easier unlike other oils, Tung Oil will not consume much of your time and energy during application. In terms of aesthetic features, it enhances the matte finish of the wood grain. Thus, your wood project adapts an antique-like style.
For many decades, Pure Tung Oil has been used for different projects. Today, it has become more useful when it comes to protecting woodwork and other surfaces because of its impressive qualities. I hope that you have learned a lot with today’s article.
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