Preparing the Furniture and Applying Tung Oil
Tung oil adheres only to wood, or to other tung oil, so you must first remove the old furniture paint or finish with a paint or varnish remover. In this step, you are getting rid of the old oil and sealants used on the furniture.
Clean the furniture with soap and water to remove stripper residue. Let the furniture dry for several hours.
Use grit 224 sandpaper to remove additional finish and smooth any rough spots. Sanding also prepares the wood by making it porous.
Clean the furniture again with the soap mixture to remove additional finish and sanding residue. Let the furniture dry for a few hours, then rub the piece with 0000 steel wool. This will open the grain of the wood.
Once again, clean the furniture and let it dry throughly. It's best to let it dry for 24 hours.
Apply the tung oil evenly to the furniture. A tung oil finish is best if hand rubbed with thick rags, but a brush can also be used for its application. Let the oil penetrate for 30 minutes, then remove the excess. This is the first coat. Allow the first coat to dry. This can take 24 to 48 hours, depending on the strength of the tung oil and the humidity.
Test the coat by touching it. It is dry when it's not tacky to the touch. Apply a second coat, repeating the instructions in Step 6. Continue the application process for at least four coats of tung oil. You can apply additional coats until you have the shine you want.
Things You Will Need
- Oil-free soap, such as Spic n Span, Ivory Dish Liquid, Joy Dish Liquid, or similar products, mixed with water.
- Sandpaper, grit 224
- Paint or Varnish Stripper
- Steel wool, grade 0000
- Thick rags or soft paintbrush
- If you are using tung oil on raw wood furniture, you can apply a stain to the piece and start at Step 6.