How to Finish a Tung Oil Finish


Tung oil is a natural wood finish that penetrates into the pores of the wood. It is applied by hand and hardens to create a barrier against moisture. Even though it dries hard, tung oil will not provide a glossy finish. To get that lacquer-like finish with penetrating oils such as tung oil, you need to take the process one step farther by hand rubbing the finish to a semi-gloss with woodworker's paste wax.

Things You'll Need

  • Paste wax
  • Cotton cloth (T-shirt)
  • Scoop out a marble-sized amount of paste wax onto your fingers wrapped in a cotton cloth.

  • Rub the wax into the tung oil finish after it has dried for 72 hours. Rub in circular patterns 6 inches in diameter until the wax begins to get thin.

  • Scoop out more wax and continue rubbing continuous circular patterns overlapping previous patterns until you have covered the surface of the tung oil with wax. Let the wax cure for 4 hours.

  • Wad up a ball of cotton cloth in your hand. Begin wiping the tung oil finish hard with the cloth, this time moving parallel to the direction of the grain using short strokes 4 inches forward and 3 inches back.

  • Polish the tung oil to a deep gloss. Move over to a new section overlapping the first section by 1 inch and begin wiping hard with authority to polish the tung oil thoroughly and remove any excess wax.

Tips & Warnings

  • To keep your finish looking like new, apply more paste wax every six months or whenever you want.

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