Waterlox Pure Tung Oil Application Guide

Waterlox Pure Tung Oil is 100% Pure tung oil with no additives or driers. It is not bodied, polymerized or cut in solvent. Waterlox Pure Tung oil is the same high quality tung oil used in all of our other ‘made from’ tung oil products – ORIGINAL, MARINE, UTOS, H2OLOX® and TRUETONE®. It is zero VOC, low odor, completely natural and FDA approved for food contact. Pure Tung oil is an excellent choice for small woodworking projects, salad bowls, cutting boards, gun stocks, countertops, floors, decks, siding, patio furniture, and much more. Pure tung oil will not continue to yellow over time, it does not support mold/mildew growth, and it will not become rancid. Pure Tung Oil will also fully cure, meaning that it lasts longer than most other pure oil finishes and is essentially permanent. It will need to be maintained on working surfaces, and maintenance is very simple.

Where to Use

Pure Tung Oil is an excellent all-natural, food-safe and waterproof finish for wood or other porous substrates (e.g.: concrete, some tile, brick, stone, etc.) both interior and exterior. It will penetrate deep into the surface, yield a warm, matte, unfinished look and will enhance the natural beauty of the wood. When used on other substrates, it tends to yield a wet, although not glossy, look with a slight amber hue. Pure Tung oil should only be used by itself in multiple coats/applications. It is not recommended for use with stains or over or under other finishes.

Coverage/Thinning

All coverages are for one application. Multiple coats are needed and will vary depending on how absorbent the surface.

  • 1 gallon (128 oz.) covers approximately 400 square feet per coat
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) covers approximately 100 square feet per coat
  • 1 pint (16 oz.) covers approximately 50 square feet per coat
  • 1 half pint (8 oz.) covers approximately 25 square feet per coat

Thinning will increase the spread rate but may require more applications to reach saturation. In general, a 1:1 ratio will double the spread rate, 2:1 will triple the spread rate, etc. For calculations, assume 3-4 applications with the un-thinned numbers.

Thinning

Waterlox Pure Tung Oil is 100% solids and can be used as such; however, it tends to work best (easier to apply and better penetration) when thinned with solvent. Use only oil-based solvents (e.g.: paint thinner, mineral spirits, citrus solvent, odorless mineral spirits, turpentine, or VM&P naphtha)1 and avoid any VOC compliant or ‘green’ solvents as these will not mix well with tung oil. Depending on the surface being finished, adjust thinning as follows:

  1. For most projects, a 1:1 ratio is ideal for use throughout the project.
  2. For extremely dry, soft or old wood, full strength for at least for the first application, is ideal to reach saturation faster.
  3. For dense or oily woods (e.g.: Ipe, teak, cumaru, rosewoods, etc.), a 2:1 ratio of solvent to tung oil is ideal.
Important Considerations
  1. Pure Tung Oil can take 30 days or more to fully cure. See the DRYING/CURING section for more information.
  2. Colored or pigmented stains (e.g.: water, gel, oil, or alcohol based) should NOT be used on food contact surfaces treated with Pure Tung oil.
  3. Pure Tung Oil is usually thinned with oil-based solvents to make it easier to apply and help penetration. This will significantly increase the VOC content of the finish.
    1. The solvent will evaporate and the final finish will still be food safe and non-toxic.
New Wood Applications

Preparation

Surface preparation is the most important step; follow proper steps and grit sequences. For floor projects, consider hiring a professional who follows accepted NOFMA/NWFA procedures for sanding. A NIOSH-approved dust mask should be worn during sanding. Vacuum thoroughly with and across the grain, including all surfaces that could hold dust (i.e.: doors, fans, walls, windowsills, fixtures). Tape off or cover surfaces not being coated. Lightly dampen a mop, lint-free rag or micro-fiber mop with regular mineral spirits1 or paint thinner to remove any stubborn dust. Allow the mineral spirits to evaporate (15-30 minutes) before applying.

Application

The objective is to saturate the surface with tung oil. There are 3 key steps to achieve a good finish.

  1. Apply – Apply a liberal amount of Pure tung oil to the surface using a rag, brush, pad, roller, or pump sprayer.
  2. Absorb – Allow the coat to soak into the wood. Wait up to 45 minutes. If most of the oil (>80% of the surface) has absorbed into the wood within 45 minutes, repeat step 1 (Apply) and allow it to absorb again.
  3. Remove – Once the oil remains (puddles) on most (>80%) of the surface for more than 45 minutes, remove all excess oil by wiping with clean, dry rags.

***PROPERLY DISPOSE OF ANY OIL SOAKED RAGS AND TOOLS*** Hang (or lay flat) oil-soaked rags and tools outdoors to dry (7-15 days). DO NOT pile or discard in a bag or other container while wet.

Allow the surface to “settle” overnight and repeat the above steps for 1-2 more coats to ensure the highest level of protection.

Most surfaces will require 2-3 applications; however, very porous, old, or dried up surface may require 6 or more coats.

Previously Finished Surfaces

Pure Tung Oil should not be used over any existing stain or finish. Strip completely to bare wood and follow the ‘NEW WOOD APPLICATION’ procedures.

Clean Up

Clean application tools immediately with paint thinner, mineral spirits, citrus solvent, or turpentine. Properly dispose of rags, uncleaned applicators, and waste. Read carefully other cautions below.

Drying/Curing

Pure Tung Oil will leave a “dry” surface immediately after all the excess is removed, however, the oil will take about 7-14 days to dry and up to 30 days to reach full cure. The following are some general tips, with more project specific tips to follow:

  1. As the surface and tung oil settle and acclimate, some oil may bleed or seep to the surface. Keep clean rags handy for the first 2 weeks to wipe up any shiny spots that may occur.
  2. Tung oil cures through oxidation (exposure to oxygen). Avoid “suffocating” the surface by keeping it uncovered as much as possible for at least 30 days. Maintain good air movement whenever possible.
  3. Use plastic sliders where possible to avoid wicking of the oil into wooden legs, cloth, rubber, and felt (for the first 30 days).

Floors

  1. You can walk on floors immediately after the final application in socks or with clean rags underfoot. DO NOT use the surface with shoes or bare feet for at least 14 days.
  2. Furniture that sits high off the floor can be replaced immediately, but it is best to wait if possible. Again, low furniture and area rugs should be kept off the surface for at least 30 days.
  3. If you need to cover any portion of the floor, you can use red rosin paper, RAM board, plastic, painter’s cloths or cardboard, but do not leave it covered for more than a day.

Countertops, Butcherblocks, etc.

  1. Avoid dirt, water, or other liquids for at least 7-10 days after the final application.
  2. If you need to use a sink, protect the area with wax or parchment paper and wipe up any liquids IMMEDIATELY.
  3. As stated above, do not leave appliances, cutting boards, dishes, cloths, or any other object on the surface for long periods of time. Allow the surface to “breathe” as much as possible.

Outdoor surfaces (decks, furniture, siding, etc.)

  1. Avoid rain for at least one week (2 weeks is preferred). If it does rain, or the surface gets wet, try to remove the water as quickly as possible. Cover surfaces when possible, but immediately remove any coverings when rain stops to allow the surface to breathe.
  2. Avoid freezing temperatures for at least 2 weeks after the final coat is applied. Colder temperatures will also slow the curing process. If possible, wait for consistently warmer temperatures.
  3. DO NOT apply tung oil in direct, intense sunlight. Heat and intense UV can cause the surface to cure too quickly leading to a wrinkled and frosted finish. If the surface will see intense sunlight, try to apply after the sun has left the surface for the day and after the surface has cooled down.
Storage and Disposal

Unopened, Pure Tung Oil has an indefinite shelf-life. Oxygen is the number one enemy so keep stored in an airtight container, preferably metal or glass. Some plastics may allow for slow air exchange so it should be avoided. Keep out of direct sunlight and store in an area where the product will not be exposed to freezing or extremely hot temperatures.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning

Surfaces finished with Pure Tung Oil are very easy to maintain. Use a dry microfiber cloth for light cleaning. For deeper cleaning, use mild soap diluted in warm water, Waterlox Cleaners, or 1-2 oz. of vinegar diluted into 1 gallon of water. Avoid harsh chemicals, baking soda, and strong solvents. Also avoid other ‘wood floor cleaners’ and oil soaps as they may leave a residue on the surface.

Maintenance

Pure Tung Oil will cure into a ‘permanent’ film unlike some other raw oil finishes. Permanent is in quotes because it will be worn away with use, cleaning, and exposure. Outdoor surfaces as well as heavily, or frequently used surfaces will need a touch up sooner than lightly used surfaces. More decorative surfaces may never need maintenance during their lifetime. When the surface looks dull or dry compared to the original finish or surrounding areas, it is time to apply a maintenance coat.

To apply a maintenance coat, follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean the surface thoroughly. If using water, allow the surface to dry at least overnight before reapplying oil. DO NOT SAND.
  2. Make a 2:1 solvent to tung oil blend and mix well. Thinning makes it easier for the blend to penetrate the mostly sealed surface and find any open wood fibers and pores.
  3. Wipe on thin coats with a clean, lint free rag. If it soaks in immediately, reapply.
  4. After 5-10 minutes, wipe off any excess by lightly buffing with a dry rag.
  5. Stay off the surface and avoid use for AT LEAST 24 hours to allow the thin coat to cure.
Warnings

DANGER! AS WITH ALL OILS, RAGS, STEEL WOOL OR WASTE SOAKED WITH TUNG OIL MAY SPONTANEOUSLY CATCH FIRE IF IMPROPERLY DISCARDED. IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE, PLACE RAGS, STEEL WOOL OR WASTE IN A SEALED WATER-FILLED METAL CONTAINER, OR HANG/LAY OUTSIDE SEPARATELY (NOT BALLED UP) TO DRY COMPLETELY.

NOTICE: Use only with adequate ventilation. Do not breathe vapors or spray mist. Ensure fresh air entry during application and drying. Close container after each use. Avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. Wash thoroughly after handling. FIRST AID: In case of eye contact, flush immediately with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes and get medical attention; for skin, wash thoroughly with soap and water. If you experience difficulty in breathing, leave the area to obtain fresh air. If continued difficulty is experienced, get medical assistance immediately. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Call physician immediately. If spilled, contain spilled material and remove with inert absorbent. Dispose of contaminated absorbent, container and unused contents in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.

KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN


1If regular mineral spirits or paint thinner is not available in your area, there are alternatives, visit Waterlox.com/mineralspirits.