How to Revive Wood Using Tung Oil
You know I love to paint used, abandoned, dated and otherwise just plain ugly pieces of furniture. There is nothing better than some paint over a finish that just can’t be revived. But I know there are purists out there that find painting a piece of wood furniture a real sin. And so today I’m talking to you!
I found this lovely little vintage folding chair at a recent flea market sale. And I love it for its natural wood finish. But the wood is obviously really dried out. Enter Tung Oil.
Tung Oil is a natural product that can be used to revive wood and protect it by penetrating the grain and hardening to a varnish like finish. ( You can tell mine has been used a lot!) But the finish is not glossy which I like. It also makes your finish waterproof. There are a few different methods for applying Tung Oil. You can dilute the Tung Oil with Mineral Spirits or a Citrus Solvent but that adds chemicals to a product that is no VOC and pretty darn safe to use. So I chose not to thin the Tung Oil. You can also rub Tung Oil in with sandpaper. Generally a 600 or higher grit sandpaper is used to rub the oil into the grain of the wood. But for my purposes, I just used the Tung Oil and a brush.
Apply a generous amount of Tung Oil and spread it around with a brush or rag. When the wood is really in need of moisture, you will see the oil absorb almost immediately. Which I did in this case, so I applied more oil.
I allowed the oil to absorb for about 40 minutes or so in between each coat. This allowed me to see if the oil was still penetrating.
When you reach a point when the oil remains on the surface of the wood, go ahead and wipe it away with a rag. I ended up doing 5 coats of Tung Oil on this chair. At this point you will want the oil to cure. Let it sit for about 24 hours to dry. If you see any oil seeping up to the surface of the wood, wipe it away with a rag. It will take about 30 days for a piece finished in Tung Oil to fully cure so keep that in mind.