What is Tung Oil?

The tung oil is a natural oil, obtained from the seeds of the tree tung, that is used to treat the wood and stands out for its resistance and not to alter its natural color.

This oil, also known as wood oil of China, has been used for centuries in this country, where it is a native tree. However, given its economic value, have proliferated plantations in other places, mainly in South America and the United States.

Properties of tung Oil

Among its features as a finish for the wood include:

  • The tung oil pure is a viscous liquid, in shades of colour between yellow and light brown, and with a distinctive smell that disappears after application.
  • Penetrates into the wood, seals the pore, and when dry hardens to form a protective coating.
  • Transparent. Naturally this will not alter the color of the wood. However, commercially speaking can be found in combination with other additives and to alter colors, brightness, etc
  • Resistance and Durability. Improves the strength and durability of wood, especially when it is exposed. It is even resistant to water and salt, hence the use in marine environments.
  • It nourishes the Wood.

Uses of Tung Oil

You can apply tung oil in all kinds of wood parts and furniture, both interior and exterior flooring or decks, doors, friezes all kinds of mouldings, boats, musical instruments, countertops and tables kitchen…

Not only used to apply directly to the wood in a pure state. It is also a common component in varnishes, resins, dyes, in combination as other oils, etc

The tung oil is used not just to look after the wood, is also used in textiles, leather, metals…


Apply the tung oil is not complex, and the process is not so different from the application of other oils for wood. Perhaps the biggest difference is the times.

Preparation of the wood. Must be free of impurities and in a good state. Our recommendation is to give a few good swipes of sandpaper, and clean then well to avoid the dust.

Application of the first layer. It can be applied with a cloth that does not leave lint, like with a good brush.

For the first layer, and with the aim of improving the absorption, diluted in equal parts with mineral spirits. Use a generous amount and apply it in the direction of the grain. Past 1 hour, you can clean the excess product with a cloth.

Following layers. The tung oil takes to dry enough, up to several days. It is recommended that you allow 24 hours to pass between applications, although it is always best to follow the recommendations that you will find in the package.

In these layers you apply the undiluted oil. Three layers in total is usually sufficient.

Renewals. The frequency of renewals of the finish depends on the use and level of exposure.

What about Tung oil or Linseed?

This is a common question among those who are looking for some kind of oil to protect the wood. Both products are used for this, although there are differences:

  • The tung oil does not alter the color of the wood. The flaxseed if, darkening it slightly.
  • Tung oil creates a film that improves resistance of the surface of the wood. The flaxseed does not.
  • Flaxseed oil requires the application of fewer coats and drying times to a slightly smaller (none of the two products is characterized by fast drying).

Where to Buy Tung Oil?

This type of oil is not as popular as teak or linseed, hence that is not so common to find it in according to what establishments. However, it is not difficult to find it in stores specific and mainly through the internet.

Buy tung oil’s pure, is somewhat more complicated, and although the options are basically the same, the supply is considerably lower.