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Canadian Woodworking / March 19, 2016

Tung Oil: Debunking the urban myths

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Lead image by Blake Hanson

If you’re a woodworker, We bet you've got a stronger viewpoint about tung-oil. As a rookie, I became preoccupied (okay, obsessed) with tung-oil because I heard a wide variety of opinions about any of it from veteran woodworkers. Some adored it plus some hated it. And so I started investigating and discovered your information offered about tung oil had been frequently incorrect, conflicting, and/or misleading. Let’s examine and debunk some of the urban myths.
Myth # 1
Tung-oil ended up being developed by Homer Formsby in 1965 (Formsby’s Tung-oil Finish).
Nope. Tung-oil has been in existence for thousands of years. There’s without doubt that Homer Formsby put tung oil on the chart in the united states into the late sixties, as he began advertising his special finish. However, in accordance with Bob Flexner inside the book, “Flexner on Finishing”, Formsby’s mixture was really a wiping varnish made with (maybe) slightly tung oil, a resin and a thinner.

When you purchase tung oil, you have to very carefully read the ingredients in the package to have a concept exactly what you’re dealing with. I obtained my on the job a number of services and products branded tung oil which actually included solvents, and/or metal compounds that speed-up polymerization (or drying out), and/or other secret components. Sometimes there clearly was somewhat tung oil within also. It’s also feasible to get partly polymerized tung-oil, which hardens quicker. I’m maybe not criticizing any one of those products, but also for the purposes for this article I’m referring to pure tung-oil without any additives. In addition, Lee Valley ended up being kind adequate to send myself several examples of the genuine article for examination here.

The initial reference i will find into the using tung oil is within the writings of Confucius around 500 B.C. The Chinese purchased tung-oil, also called Asia timber oil, for about 2500 many years for wood finishing, wood waterproofing, caulking, inks and paints. I also found some sources to using tung-oil for medicinal reasons in ancient record. I don’t recommend you ingest it and take a bath inside, but evidently some ancient cultures did. In 13th century, Marco Polo penned towards Chinese utilizing tung oil to construct and waterproof their conventional ships labeled as “junks”.

In 1905, a USDA scientist introduced Tung tree seeds towards the United States to try to develop them in Florida. The crop grew well, but poor weather and a succession of hurricanes spelled the termination of almost all of the US manufacturing by 1969. Blake Hanson, president of Industrial Oil items, the sole worldwide provider of tung oil from all resources, told me there was some US manufacturing once again from 1998 to 2005 (from their company) until Hurricane Katrina reared her ugly mind. These days, globe tung-oil production comes mostly from Asia (83 %), after that from Paraguay (about 14 per cent), Argentina (2.75 %), and Brazil (a little little bit) and it is found in lumber finishing, paints, inks, fuels along with other things. In accordance with Professor B. Sivasankar, whom penned a current textbook on manufacturing chemistry, these drying out oils form steady movies that protect areas from corrosion and weather. This is the reason tung-oil and linseed oil, including, are essential elements in paints. “Without these drying natural oils, shows cannot function as safety coatings.”

Harvest Time – A Paraguayan farmer checks his tung oil crop. Paraguay is 2nd to only China in globally tung oil production. (Picture by Blake Hanson)
Big Business – Asia is by far the world’s biggest tung-oil producer, providing 83 percent of the world’s supply. (Photo by Blake Hanson)
For Junks – For millennia, China has actually utilized tung oil in a variety of ways, including building and waterproofing their particular old-fashioned ships, labeled as “junks”. (picture by dreamstime.com)
Myth no. 2
Tung-oil dries in the air by evaporation.
Nope. Tung-oil definitely gets difficult, but it doesn’t happen by evaporation. Chemists categorize essential oils as “non-drying”, “semi-drying”, and “drying”. The term “drying” is misleading due to the fact oils don’t truly “dry” or evaporate; they “harden” or treat.
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Source: www.canadianwoodworking.com