Tung Oil, a Different Finish
While taking some pictures of this Brooklyn Chest I decided to have a bit more of a look at the tung oil finish – dry finishing, with oil has been around for thousands of years, tung oil in particular dates back to the chinese dynasty.
The finish very different to varnish, it’s one I’m particularly fond of, it leaves the grain of the wood exposed, you can feel it, it’s soft to touch and gorgeous to look at.
It’s not without it’s drawbacks of course, oiled finishes, being open give significantly less resistance to liquid stains, they’re also softer and so easier to scratch. In these respects not all oils are equal, they age and wear differently, linseed’s a softer, less water resistant finish that can yellow with age, boiled oils too are different again.
Then again they’re easy to revive too, if you scratch or scuff an oiled piece of furniture you can repair the finish with oil and a cloth.
If you wondering how this is really different than a varnish, the oil doesn’t sit on the wood, there’s not a layer of it coating it, instead oil dries in to the wood itself, nourishing it in the process.
Oil chemically bonds with wood, and hardens in to a finish that takes the form of the wood, this looks and feels completely different to a varnish, that tend to be shinier and you can tell it it’s a coating by the smoothed out features of the grain.
Preferences on finish are personal, but oiling’s interesting, at least to me – it evokes a pleasant set of thoughts, like Jesse Pinkman and his box from high school.