Maximum protection for your woodworking projects is important, especially when it comes to objects displayed or frequently used in busy areas of your home. For that reason, a standard water-based stained surface may not be protective enough for your needs. Fortunately, tung oil finishes like those provided by Pure Tung Oil by Real Milk Paint Co. deliver optimal protection and preservation to your favorite wood grain pieces.

Benefits of Applying Tung Oil to a Stained Surface

Applying Tung Oil to Stained Wood for the Right LookWhile wood stain provides a bit of protection against various hazards, a coat of tung oil on a wood surface can help reduce damage caused by water, abrasions, acids, mold, and mildew, just like when it’s applied to unfinished wood. Because a natural tung oil finish oxidizes rather than evaporates, the layers harden during the curing process for more flexible protection. Tung oil also doesn’t mold like linseed oil, nor does it blister or peel when applied properly over a stained surface.

Likewise, maintaining a stained surface with a tung oil topcoat requires only wiping the surface with more tung oil when needed. This low-luster finishing oil never gets glossy, no matter how many coats of tung oil you apply, nor does it darken over time, helping your stained wood projects maintain their original appearance. Made of 100% pure china wood oil, Pure Tung Oil has a pleasantly nutty smell and no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), enabling worry-free application in tight spaces.

Can You Apply Tung Oil Over Oil-Based Wood Stain?

Applying tung oil over an oil-based wood finish is not advisable. This is because the oil stain fills the pores of the wood and prevents the tung oil from then absorbing. However, you can still mix oil-based stain into the tung oil and then apply it all at once.

In case you have already applied an oil-based wood stain, you may need to remove the finish before applying the oil-based stain and Pure Tung Oil mixture by taking the surface back to bare wood. You can use a product like Soy-Gel Professional Paint Remover by Real Milk Paint Co. to do this.

Can You Apply Tung Oil Over Water-Based Stain?

how to apply tung oil to stained woodApplying tung oil finishes over a water-based stain confers extra protection and optimal durability. When you let tung oil penetrate deeply within the wood fibers, it adds an extra level of protection against everything from water and mold to acids and abrasion. Tung oil also hardens to a flexible finish that enables easy maintenance with just a quick wipe down, and it never achieves glossiness, no matter how many coats you apply.

How to Apply Tung Oil to Stained Wood

Use these supplies and steps to apply tung oil over surfaces coated with oil- or water-based stains.

What You Need to Apply Pure Tung Oil

  • Rubber gloves
  • Respirator mask
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Soft polishing cloth
  • Lint-free rags
  • Stain applicators
  • Oil- or water-based stain
  • Pure Tung Oil
  • Fine grit sandpaper (220 grit or 320 grit)
  • Spray bottle

Applying Tung Oil Over Wood Stain

  1. Applying Real Milk Paint Tung Oil to a Stained SurfacePrepare your workspace: First, put down the plastic sheeting to protect your work area, then ensure you have proper ventilation for wood stain application. Gather all the supplies you need for the next steps, then put on your rubber gloves and respirator mask.
  2. Prepare your surface: If you’re starting with raw wood, first sand the surface well, make any repairs with wood filler, then clean up all the debris. For the best results in your stain consider raising the grain prior to adding any stain. Using a spray bottle, mist the surface with water and then sanding using fine grit sandpaper. Allow the surface to dry. If you lightly sand the surface this way, be sure to clean off the dust with tack cloth before moving on.
  3. Stain the surface (skip if using oil-based stain): Now that your surface is thoroughly prepped, apply the water-based stain to the surface. You’ll want to work quickly and spread the stain evenly across the surface with long strokes. Short strokes or transitions between brush strokes can show up if not properly spread out. Once complete wait for the stain to dry.
  4. Mix the Pure Tung Oil finish: Pure Tung Oil has a thick viscosity, so you need to mix it with solvents like Odorless Mineral Spirits or Orange Oil Natural Citrus Solvent at a 1:1 ratio before applying it to wood projects. This is a great time to add the oil-based stain to your oil mixture if you did not already stain the wood with the water-based stain. If you used a water-based stain,  mix up enough tung oil with a solvent for the surface area you have to cover.
  5. Apply oil to the stained wood: Once the wood stain is completely dry, you’re ready to apply your tung oil mixture. To do this, dip your lint-free rag into the mixture, then add the first coat onto the surface with the wood stain. If you’re applying tung oil to a larger piece, feel free to use a paintbrush or foam roller to speed up the process. Make sure the tung oil evenly saturates the wood grain, then wait for it to soak into the surface.
  6. Wait for tung oil to dry: Tung oils like Pure Tung Oil are considered drying oil products because they cure and harden via oxidation rather than by evaporation. This means surfaces typically absorb the coat in about 15 minutes but don’t completely cure until roughly 15 to 30 days after application. During the drying time, you simply want the tung oil to penetrate the wood so you can add another coat.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6: Getting the look you want may take some time, so repeat steps 5 and 6, wiping away excess oil with every reapplication, until you achieve the appearance you desire on your wood surface.
  8. Let the surface properly cure: Proper tung oil application is only half the process — allowing wood surfaces to completely cure before use makes all the difference in your final results. When you apply tung oil finishes, be sure to wait 5 to 7 days for partial curing and 15 to 30 days for full curing.

Pure Tung Oil by Real Milk Paint Co. can help you protect and preserve your projects for years to come. More flexible than natural products like boiled linseed oil and coconut oil and safer than options with synthetic ingredients like Minwax tung oil, Pure Tung Oil goes on smoothly and offers excellent protection with low maintenance requirements. To learn more about how our products can add value to your next woodworking project, contact us by filling out this form or calling (800) 339-9748.