10 Reasons You Should Be Using Tung Oil
A brief overview of tung oil, with 10 reasons it should be on your garage shelf!
Tung Oil - Nature’s Amazing Timber Seal
You may have heard of tung oil over the years. As part of our drive to increase the use of natural ingredients at Gilly’s, we have been discovering the amazing benefits of this ancient oil.
History in a Nutshell
Derived from the seed of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii), this fully sustainable oil has a venerable history.
Tung oil has been in use for centuries, with references dating as far back as the writings of Confucius around 500BC. The Chinese have used it for wood finishing, wood waterproofing, caulking, inks and paints for the last 2,500 years. They even used it to waterproof their traditional boats known as junks.
Taking it Slowly
When used correctly, tung oil is a wonderful way to seal and protect many finishes. It requires patience and care to apply correctly in the first place. Some may find it beneficial to sand between coats, however this isn’t always necessary. Patience is paramount, so that the polymerisation (hardening) process occurs as it should.
As a general rule of thumb - you can recoat after 24 hours. Tung oil can take around 4 weeks to completely ‘cure’, after which regular use can commence. It is best to leave your application area unused for the first week or so to ensure the finish isn’t affected. Light use is acceptable for the following 3 weeks. If you were planning on waxing over the top, it is also best to wait until after the full 4 weeks.
Why We Love It - Pure Tung Oil (not blended with synthetic chemicals)
Tung oil has some amazing properties, which make it a superb product in so many ways. Let’s look at some of these:
We can have our cake and eat it! A fantastic finish that doesn’t hurt our environment.
It is food safe and seals timber
We use it in our Kitchen Bench Oil, which when cured creates a beautiful, natural waterproof barrier on timber or bamboo food preparation areas (and bathrooms of course).
Tung oil is actually derived from a seed rather than a nut (as it sometimes incorrectly claimed).
Not just for timber
It is so versatile it can be used to seal concrete, slate and stone surfaces.
No yellowing over time
Tung oil remains clear, so it’s perfect for retaining the original colour of pale timbers. You will find a tendency for other products such as linseed oil and varnishes to yellow over time.
This amazing oil remains as fresh and new as the day it was applied!
The drying time for tung oil is actually faster than pure linseed oil (the ‘boiled’ variety in the stores is laced with toxic, synthetic chemicals to speed up the drying process).
Imagine that - a superb finish with no nasty-smelling solvents to breathe in!
Flexibility even when cured
Your timber surface can expand and contract naturally with environmental conditions without cracking or ever losing its beauty.
Maintenance is easy
To maintain a tung oil finish is no hassle at all! If it scratches or scuffs, you can simply touch up the area affected. There is no need to sand back the whole finish like you would have to with varnishes and polyurethanes.
Tung Oil in Gilly’s Range
Our newest lines, introduced last year are Alfresco Timber Oil and Kitchen Bench Oil. Both are designed to protect surfaces frequently exposed to food spills and moisture. We have also decided to make available Pure Tung Oil. Let’s unpack each one:
Pure Tung Oil
We think that tung oil is so good, we want to make it available to all our customers! So, we sell 100% pure 1L bottles of the best quality, which we use in our formulations. This is perfect for our creative audience, who love to craft their own timber treatments or would like to use it on its own.
We also sell LoThin which is a complex mixture of dearomatised hydrocarbons, that's blended with eucalyptus oil. It has lower flammability than traditional solvents making your workshop and application safer. It's a great partner for tung oil - 50/50 is a good ratio to get started.
Alfresco Timber Oil
Developed to enhance and protect furniture that is partially exposed to the elements. Our unique formula includes a UV absorber, which is ideal with the levels of harsh sunlight in (most of) Australia in the warmer months. Unlike many similar products on the market, our Alfresco Timber Oil smells pleasant as we stay away from harsh solvents. Along with the fabulous tung oil, we use other plant oils, a citrus solvent, and a low odour mineral solvent to create an excellent, durable finish for a variety of different timbers.
Kitchen Bench Oil
A superb, natural water-repellent finish for timber or bamboo benches. This easy to apply oil will enhance and protect all your busy work areas. It’s also perfect for bathroom and laundry work surfaces. Kitchen Bench Oil contains nourishing plant oils, citrus solvent and of course tung oil to provide a food-safe finish (when cured).