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10 Reasons You Should Be Using Tung Oil

10 Reasons You Should Be Using Tung Oil

A brief overview of tung oil, with 10 reasons it should be on your garage shelf!

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:

  1. 100% natural
    We can have our cake and eat it! A fantastic finish that doesn’t hurt our environment.

  2. 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).

  3. Low allergen
    Tung oil is actually derived from a seed rather than a nut (as it sometimes incorrectly claimed).

  4. Not just for timber
    It is so versatile it can be used to seal concrete, slate and stone surfaces.

  5. 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.

  6. Rancidity? None
    This amazing oil remains as fresh and new as the day it was applied!

  7. Drying time
    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).

  8. VOC free
    Imagine that - a superb finish with no nasty-smelling solvents to breathe in!

  9. Flexibility even when cured
    Your timber surface can expand and contract naturally with environmental conditions without cracking or ever losing its beauty.

  10. 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).


  • Posted by Sara from Gilly's Customer Service on

    Hi Susan, yes our Pure Tung Oil is excellent for sealing concrete and is food safe. When applied correctly, there should be no streaks or marks on the concrete. Please check the Product Data Sheet for the Pure Tung Oil, which you can find below the product in our online shop if you scroll to the bottom of the page.

  • Posted by Sara from Gilly's Customer Service on

    Hi Lynda, you certainly can seal granite with Gilly’s Pure Tung Oil. If you go to the product listing in our online store and scroll down below the description, you’ll find a downloadable Product Data Sheet with application instructions.

  • Posted by Mark on

    I’m oiling a liquid amber bench top (using Gilly’s Kitchen Bench Oil). The oil is soaking in quickly in some areas, and looks quite dry compared to other areas…. what should I do, continue to oil the dry areas until they stop soaking so much oil?

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