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Tung Oil - Tips & Tricks?

Lee

Guild of Calamitous Intent
Joined
May 21, 2020
Member Number
1061
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Loc
The Natural State
I got some customs cocobolo 1911 grips last week, they were finished with tung oil. Formby tung oil according to the guy that made them. They are still sticky/tacky, and don't seem to be improving.

They arrived Wednesday of last week. I left them on the counter under the heater vent register for 3 days, very minor improvement if any. Then I hung them in a cardboard box, with a space heater on low, blowing into the box, that's been going on for 18+ hours, and they're still tacky.

Does this stuff just take 40 forevers to dry? Maybe it was a bad batch? Put on too thick? Any tips or tricks to get this stuff to dry by Saturday?
 
While there are many advantages to using it, pure tung oil takes two to three days to harden, depending on conditions, i have had some take up to 3 weeks.
 
Formbys tung oil is not tung oil. It may have some tung oil in it but it is really just a viping varnish. Most of the contents are just solvents. I have used a lot of it and really like it because it's easy to use and goes on so thin that it can easily be sanded out if you have an issue. I have never had an issue with it drying usually dry to the touch within 12 hours and can be sanded in 24 to 48.

Pure tung oil is an entirely different animal. It truly is an oil. It has to react with the air to polymerization or harden. Initial coats usually soak in to the wood pretty quick subsequent coats take longer to dry sometimes up to a week. The benefit is its easy to apply additional coats for the life of the wood.

Google should turn up lots of threads on the woodworking forums on both types of finishes.
 
While there are many advantages to using it, pure tung oil takes two to three days to harden, depending on conditions, i have had some take up to 3 weeks.

Especially if someone is really ham handed with the stuff. Putting one heavy coat does not equal putting on 3-4 light coats and letting it dry in between.

You can rub it with mineral spirits to get rid of a bit of the oil or wait till it dries. The checkering will be a challenge so use something lint free or you will be picking fibers out of the goo in the checkers forever.
 
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