Hello m0ng00se, I was hesitant to answer your question at first, but
maybe I can tell you what you need to know. I have used tung oil
myself several times and have been amazed at how beautiful it makes
the wood and how durable the surface becomes. Unlike varnish tung oil
does not build up a surface layer. Tung oil absorbs into the wood and
will not scratch or peel.
Q: I'm looking for a finish that's easy to apply. Do you have any suggestions?
A: A versatile and easy-to-apply finish is tung oil, and it's been
used for centuries to beautify and protect wood. To apply tung oil,
simply pour a small amount into a shallow container (figure D) and
apply it with a brush, rag or foam pad (figure E).
Apply tung oil liberally, then wipe off the excess with a clean rag.
Tung oil penetrates into the pores and protects the wood from within.
Tung oil may darken the wood but unlike a stain, tung oil hardens
within the wood to offer protection.
Tung oil provides a rich, beautiful finish but the only disadvantage
of using it is that, since it is very thin, it must be applied in
multiple coats to be effective. About 3 coats of tung oil are required
to offer the same amount of protection as a single coat of
polyurethane. The good news is that tung oil is so easy to use and
dries so quickly, you can apply several coats in a day. With
polyurethane, you'll generally need to wait a day between coats.
REDHOSS COMMENT: My experience us that you can't put on too many
coats. It keeps penetrating into the wood and soon it looks like you
can stick your hand into the wood.
STAINING INFO: Tung oil naturally darkens any wood to some extent. I
don't understand your comment, "look like hell in no time if left as
is". I think that the natural beauty of the wood is great and the tung
oil should protect the finish. However, if you want to stain the hard
maple, I have found the following:
Mixing Stain and Pure Tung Oil
You can also mix oil soluble aniline dye crystals with the Pure Tung
Oil. First mix the crystals to a very concentrated solution of solvent
(mineral spirits, Citrus Solvent) and crystals. Be sure all the
crystals are dissolved into the solvent. When they are dissolved add
to the Pure Tung Oil. This will make the oil tinted. You will not be
able to get the finish as dark as if you stained the wood itself but
this can add some color if you just want a little color.
Anilines dissolved in alcohol are just too fast drying for large
applications such as floors. There can also be lapping problems
because of the speed at which the solvent evaporates.
The above methods will provide a clear transparent finish for your
floor. The results you see will be dramatic if you have only used over
the counter stains in the past.
Anilines are available from:
Hard maple is also known as Sugar Maple and Black Maple. This wood is
The sapwood of the hard maple is preferred for cabinets. It is dense,
close-grained, strong, smooth and predominately white in color,
although it may contain light hues of yellow-brown, pink, light tan,
or small dark mineral streaks.
The wood is generally straight-grained, but it may exhibit special
grain patterns (figure) that are also much sought after, including
"birdseye" (dots resembling the eyes of birds) "curly" (a tight wavy
pattern in the annual rings), and "blister figure" (resembles a 3
Hard maple takes lighter stains well, but darker stains will exhibit
uneven levels of penetration. Hard maple is most often finished in a
light color or whitewashed.
J.E. MOSER'SŪ ALCOHOL SOLUBLE, MAPLE ANILINE DYE STAIN BRINGS OUT THE
BEAUTY OF WOOD GRAIN
J.E. Moser'sŪ Maple Aniline Dye Stain is a dry powder that is
dissolved to produce a stain of exceptional clarity, color and grain
Normally mixed in a concentration of one ounce of stain to one quart
of denatured alcohol; strain prior to use.
Not as light fast as water soluble aniline dye stain, yet non-grain
raising, quick drying and excellent for touch-up or repairs.
To create a tinting medium, dissolve in H. Behlen? Behkol Solvent
(847-858, 847-865) before adding to shellac.
Available in 1-, 4- and 8 oz. containers.
Mix only what will be immediately used.
Can be applied with brush, cloth, spray or dipping.
Not for exterior use; for applications that receive strong direct
sunlight, use a topcoat with UV additives.
Additional shades as well as water and oil soluble aniline dyes available.
REDHOSS COMMENT: After reading this I don't know how dark you might
want to stain your wood. It does sound like the above stain will work
fine with tung oil and you can choose what darkness you desire. I have
not used stain with tung oil myself.
Good luck with your project, Redhoss