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Tung Oil

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The following is a reply to an email request for information about the difference between 100% tung oil and polymerized tung oil.

Keep in mind that polymerized is actually 100% if it is polymerized by heat, but will be slightly less than 100% if polymerized by chemicals. Either way, it's good stuff, but generally if it is called 100% it's not polymerized.

At 01:32 PM 1/30/02 -0500, Rich wrote:

I am refiinishing a Hoosier kitchen cabinet.  I am confused what product to use--100% tung oil or polymerized tung oil ?

Please help me decide.


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Tung Oil

Hi Rich
100% tung oil is slower drying and produces a matte finish.  It isn't as hard as polymerized tung oil when it dries.

Polymerized tung oil isn't a synthetic its generally heated tung oil, but some will use chemicals.  Tung oil polymerizes naturally as it dries, but the heating process to polymerize tung oil takes care of the polymerizing in advance so the polymerized tung oil will dry faster and harder and is more viscous.  The polymerized tung oil gives a gloss finish.

It's similar in theory to raw linseed oil and boiled linseed oil, but they're different types of oils

In a nutshell, 100% tung oil is good ( the chinese used it for centuries ), but slow drying and has a matte finish.  Polymerized tung oil dries much quicker, is harder and has a gloss finish.

100% tung oil is available here as well as a product called Chinawood Deck Oil. Chinawood oil is another name for tung oil. The Chinawood Deck Oil is polymerized.

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