This is pre-mixed Pure Tung Oil and Citrus Solvent from the Real Milk Paint Co.
We found that is most cases the Pure Tung Oil is too thick to penetrate most surfaces. Thinning with a natural solvent helps the oil penetrate deeper into the material. The 1 to 1 or Half & Half ratio works great all around for most surfaces like new raw wood, butcher block countertops, cutting boards, concrete, terra cotta clay pots, stone, and slate. This finish is also food contact safe! Generally, 3 to 5 coats are needed to seal and waterproof. This all-natural finish does take 7 to 10 days to develop a water resistance and a full 30 days for a complete cure. A quick way to see the color of your surface before oiling is to just wet with water. The way it looks wet but not glossy is the color you have when the oil is dry! Can be mixed with any other of our Tung Oil Products (i.e. Pure Tung Oil, Dark Tung Oil, Dark Half, Outdoor Defense Oil).
- Pint – 16 oz. covers 50 sq. feet
- Quart – 32 oz. covers 100 sq. feet
- Gallon – covers 400 sq. feet
Example: 1 Gallon will do 1 coat on a 400 sq. foot surface.
How to Finish Wood Countertops and Butcher Blocks
All Real Milk Paint Tutorials & Videos
There are four phases when it comes to using Half & Half for your projects.
- Be sure the surface of your project is free of dust, debris, or grime.
- Check to see if the surface is porous. (Half & Half works by absorbing into the material and filling the open pores. Therefore, if your material is not porous, it will not accept Half & Half. To test if your surface is porous or not, place a small amount of water on the surface. If the water absorbs, it is porous. If it does not and beads on the surface, you may need to sand and/or strip the surface.)
- If you need to sand your surface, we recommend not going above 220 grit sandpaper. Too high of a sandpaper grit will “polish” the surface, hindering proper absorption of Half & Half.
- If stripping your surface is needed, we recommend using Soy Gel: Paint and Urethane Stripper.
- If you are looking for a darker color finish, take a look at our Dark Half.
- We recommend using water or alcohol-based stains on the wood before the Half & Half is applied. Most oil-based stains should be avoided as they tend to seal the wood and prevent absorption of the Half & Half.
- DO NOT use a wood conditioner. This will seal the wood and prevent the tung oil from absorbing.
- NOTE: Only very old, dry wood or concrete tend to use unthinned Pure Tung Oil.
- Extremely dense woods such as teak, ipe, etc may require thinning Half & Half with more solvent (up to 2 parts solvent to 1 part tung oil. Half & Half is already at a 1 to 1 ratio of solvent to tung oil) You can use Citrus Solvent as a natural, food contact safe thinner!
When applying thinned Half & Half, here’s a handy thing to remember: Apply, Absorb, Repeat or Remove
Apply – Apply the Half & Half to the surface.
Absorb – Let the oil absorb into the material.
Repeat – Do what you just did, apply the oil and let it absorb.
Remove – When the oil isn’t absorbing and pooling on the surface, remove it with a rag.
Cure – Let the tung oil go through its natural curing process.
For the best results, you want to saturate the material with the tung oil to the point where a majority of the surface is no longer absorbing the oil. This will look like puddles on the surface even after waiting 40 minutes. Just like a sponge, the wood (or other porous surfaces) will only absorb so much oil before it can’t anymore. This saturation is achieved by doing multiple coats.
You can apply Half & Half with a brush, rag, roller, or even a pump sprayer depending on your project and needs. We recommend brushes and/or foam rollers for most projects.
- Apply a generous first coat.
- Let the tung oil absorb into the surface, waiting if needed, up to 40 minutes.
- Apply another coat, let it absorb, and repeat the previous steps.
- Continue this process until you reach the desired amount of coats or have fully saturated the wood. You can tell the wood is saturated when the oil puddles on the surface and no longer absorbs oil across a majority of the surface. To be sure, wait 40 minutes. If the oil is still puddling, then you will know the surface is saturated.
- Taking a clean rag or cloth, remove any excess tung oil that is puddling or pooling on the surface.
- Hang those oil-soaked rags outdoors to dry. DO NOT pile the rags or put them in a container.
For the best finish, we recommend letting this application rest and settle overnight. The following day, apply one or two more coats of Half & Half to the surface of your project, following the same steps outlined above.
Half & Half does not contain any additives to speed the drying process, such as heavy metallic dryers. Because of this, it can take up to 30 days to completely/thoroughly cure by its natural polymerization process. Provided below are some guidelines to follow during the curing phase.
- Half & Half cures best in warm, well-ventilated places. The warmer and more ventilated the area, the faster it will cure.
- Placing objects on the surface will “suffocate” and prevent the tung oil from curing properly. If there is no airflow between the surface and the object, it should be removed until the curing is complete (30 days).
- During the first 7-15 days of curing, you can use the surface. However, you will want to avoid getting it dirty or allowing liquids to puddle on the surface.
- As the Tung Oil cures, its durability and resistance to liquids and dirt will also increase. The first 7-15 days is when the oil is at its freshest and weakest state. After that point, increased regular use of the surface can take place.
- As the Half & Half cures, it slightly expands and may push fresh oil back to the surface. Check for oil that may be seeping to the surface and remove it, if found, with a rag.
For butcher block, wood countertops, and etc.
- Avoid getting dirt, water or other liquids on the surface of the butcher block for at least the first 7-10 days.
- We recommend putting wax paper down near sinks when doing dishes and other activities that splash water about. This will prevent the water from pooling on the surface and can be easily removed after the dishwashing.
- Avoid putting cutting boards, appliances, dishes, and other objects that sit close to the recently refinished surface for extended periods of time. These objects prevent airflow and can hinder the tung oil from curing.
For indoor floors
- Feel free to move about on your floors with either socks or rags underfoot after applying the Half & Half. Moving across the floor with rags or cloth material is actually recommended as it will help buff and prevent any oil that may seep to the surface.
- You can move furniture back into the room after applying the Half & Half. However, keep area rugs and furniture that sits close to the floor off until the full 30 days are complete. We recommend placing plastic sliders between the floor and wooden legs of furniture. This will prevent the furniture leg from naturally pulling the oil out of the floor.
- While the oil is at its freshest (usually the first 7-15 days) do not walk across the floor with dirty shoes. The dirt will be pressed into the fresh oil and will be hard to remove.
- The floors can be temporarily covered with plastic, painters cloths, or cardboard for no more than a day.
- Avoid having any liquids sit on the surface.
For outdoor decks, siding, and other wooden surfaces
- Freezing temperatures can affect the curing of tung oil. You will want to delay your project until the temperatures will be above freezing for a minimum of two weeks during the curing of the tung oil.
- Do not apply the Half & Half in the direct sunlight. The heat from the sun will flash polymerize the tung oil while it is on the surface.
- Try to apply Half & Half when rain is not in the forecast for a week or two. None of us can control the weather and should it rain on your newly oiled deck don’t worry. As soon as possible, remove the water from the surface using a leaf blower or a broom. You just want to prevent the water from staying on the newly finished surface.
The beautiful thing about a Pure Tung Oil finish is that the maintenance of it is easy. We recommend cleaning the floor with mild soap and hot water. Avoid using harsh chemicals, acids, or strong solvents to clean the surface.
Maintenance coats are on an as-need basis. Outdoor projects may require more maintenance than indoor. Heavily used areas can be expected to require more maintenance than lightly used areas. Typically, surfaces that need maintenance have a very dry, or lackluster appearance compared to when the finish was originally applied.
When doing a maintenance coat you do not need to sand the surface again. Here is what we recommend;
- Make sure the surface is clean and free of dust or debris.
- Make a 2 to 1 ratio of solvent to Pure Tung Oil (2 parts solvent, 1 part tung oil). This thinned mixture can easily find any open pores and fill them.
- Thinly apply this mixture using a clean cloth. Simply wipe it onto the surface, no need to lather it on.
- Wipe up any excess that may be on the surface with a clean, lint-free rag or cloth.
- Allow this thin coat to cure for 24 hours.
- Hang oil-soaked rags outdoors to dry.
- Go back to enjoying the surface like normal!
Want to be a Half & Half pro? Check out the Hints & Tips section!
What its made of
We believe in being honest with what is in our products. So, thats why we provide the ingredients used in them so you can rest assured knowing exactly what is in the product you purchase from us. It’s just a way we make it easier on you.
Half & Half is made of
- Pure Tung Oil
- Citrus Solvent
Mineral Spirits vs. Natural Citrus Solvent Frequently Asked Questions
How does Citrus Solvent differ from mineral spirits?
Citrus Solvent is orange peel oil. It is the natural clear liquid that is in the rind of the orange. Citrus Solvent is an organic substance, in contrast to Mineral spirits, which is created through a chemical process called “Oil Cracking”. Mineral spirits is a by-product from the manufacture of gasoline. Citrus Solvent on the other hand is a by-product of the orange juice industry from squeezing oranges. After the orange juice is squeezed the peels are then sent back to be further squeezed to extract the Citrus Solvent from the peels. The liquid is collect for other uses. Citrus Solvent does not cause any ozone depletion or contamination. Even if the orange peels were discarded the Citrus Solvent would be release to the air regardless.
How does Citrus Solvent work? Is it just like regular paint thinner?
Citrus Solvent will evaporate like paint thinner but just a little bit slower. However, the fumes are much safer.
What are the benefits of using Citrus Solvent as odorless mineral spirits?
Citrus Solvent is not odorless but does have an orange smell. Lower quality odorless mineral spirits may be more toxic than Citrus Solvent. Extended long term exposure to any and all solvents are not recommended.
Can Citrus Solvent be used for degreasing, the way mineral spirits can?
Yes, Citrus Solvent makes an excellent degreaser. In many cases it works better than mineral spirits.
Is Citrus Solvent safer to use on antiques than paint thinner?
Citrus Solvent is a good degreaser and works well for de-waxing. Citrus solvent would be safe for almost all finishes except for some delicate water base films.
Do I need to wear a mask and gloves when working with Citrus Solvent as an odorless mineral spirit?
Gloves would be good to wear if you have sensitive skin. Citrus Solvent can dry out the skin. Good ventilation is recommended if you are doing a large project. An organic filter mask is recommended for protection from odorless mineral spirits.
When using Citrus Solvent in place of paint thinner or mineral spirits, is the same amount of product used?
Yes, the exact same amount of Citrus Solvent is required in place of paint thinner or mineral spirits.
How fast does Citrus Solvent evaporate compared to paint thinner and mineral spirits?
Citrus Solvent will dry a bit slower than paint thinner or mineral spirits.
Does Citrus Solvent require as much ventilation during use as mineral spirits or paint thinner?
Ventilation would be recommended for all solvents.
Is Citrus Solvent safer to store than mineral spirits or paint thinner?
Recommended storage for Citrus Solvent would be the same as for mineral spirits and paint thinner.
What are mineral spirits?
Mineral spirits are a low volatility petroleum derivative commonly used as a substitute for turpentine for paint thinning. Originally developed in the late twenties, mineral spirits were first created as a formula for the dry cleaning industry. Today, mineral spirits are used in a number of applications as a cleaner, degreaser, and lubricant. Mineral spirits are created through the combination of various chemicals with hydrocarbons into three basic types. The most commonly used for paint applications is type II odorless mineral spirits. Although mineral spirits are considered safe as cleaner, OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, warns of “potential acute health effects” including irritation of the skin and eyes, and the hazardous potential of mineral spirits if ingested or inhaled. Furthermore, mineral spirits are toxic to the lungs and nervous system, and “repeated or prolonged exposure” can produce “target organs damage”.
At The Real Milk Paint Company we do our best to provide safe products as well as information. However we can not guarantee that individuals with compromised immune systems or allergies will not have a reaction to our products. We strongly recommend that each person take their own personal responsibility in testing this product for their own personal use.