Tung Oil, Varnish or Poly


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Old 08-23-21, 04:12 AM
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Tung Oil, Varnish or Poly

I have an old oak family dinning room table and am refinishing it. The finish is getting bad and some finish was completely off to bare wood. I stripped the entire surface and sanded to bare wood.
Now for my question.
Which is the best finish? I really like Tung oil finished I have used in the past but for a dinning room table may not be the best application. My use of Tung oil I usually apply everyday until there are n more dry spots appearing and add a few more coats. I have an old school teachers desk that I applied 1 coat a day for 30 days.
If I use poly I know it will darken from bare wood but will it darken with each subsequent coat? If poly is best how many coats would be best?
I understand after each coat of any finish light sand or 4-0000 steel wool and tack cloth before adding another coat.
 
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Old 08-23-21, 04:34 AM
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Oil base poly will darken the wood a little, mainly deepen the colors naturally in the wood. It will amber some as it ages.
 
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Old 08-23-21, 05:01 AM
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It's a tough call as so much depends on how much time you have. Tung oil takes months to harden and can have a bit of a smell until it dries. Linseed oil is much faster while still allowing the wood to move and breath. Then there is poly, fast & easy and provides possibly the best protection against spills. If going poly I would do 3 coats.
 
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Old 08-23-21, 07:10 AM
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My go-to on both new projects and refinishing is Min-wax wipe-on poly. on PD's description and 3-coat recommendation. Sand lightly between coats; I generally use a sandpaper that's finer than some people recommend.
 
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Old 08-23-21, 01:29 PM
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Sorry for all the questions while I did some refinishing of furniture it has been 45 years ago. I retired and have a few pieces to do.
Will the wipe on Poly deepen and darken wood? I would like it darker but really don't want to use a stain.
If I need to stain I don't believe I need a sealer first on Oak, is that correct? If I remember correctly the spft woods get blotchy without sealer but not needed on hardwoods.
 
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Old 08-23-21, 08:01 PM
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Oil based poly adds a little amber tint, water based does not. Personally I prefer that amber tint and the oil based tends to cure a little harder than the water based - I only use oil based myself.

Stain works by soaking into the wood so the worst thing you could do is put on a sealer first.
 
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Old 08-24-21, 12:56 AM
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Then there is poly, fast & easy and provides possibly the best protection against spills.
And if going the Poly route, the new water based products IMO are far superior. Ive had amazing results with a brand called General finish from Rockler.

https://www.rockler.com/shop?w=gener...0aAo_DEALw_wcB
 
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Old 08-24-21, 03:24 AM
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I don't believe I need a sealer first on Oak, is that correct?
That is correct, no wood conditioner is needed with oak. It's mainly for soft woods like pine so the stain color will be more even. That isn't an issue with oak.
 
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Old 08-29-21, 02:40 PM
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Sorry if I misled, I am not staining the oak table.
The color will change a bit with either poly or linseed oil as stated above.
Will it only change with first coat or ever subsequent coal also?
Trying to avoid mistakes now that it is all stripped and most sanded.
Thanks to all assisting with this project.
 
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Old 08-29-21, 03:10 PM
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My go to finish now is wipe on poly.
 
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Old 08-29-21, 08:23 PM
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If you're using oil based poly, each coat adds a little amber to the color.
 
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Old 08-30-21, 02:39 AM
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The first coat of oil base finish does the most for deepening the wood's color. The following coats don't change the color much other than the amberring that happens with oil base.
 
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Old 09-29-21, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for all the help so far. I have gone with the oil base poly by Minwax. I am not at the point where I have 5 coats, light sanding between coats. No bubble marks or dust. smooth table top.
Reading the can they suggest another coat of Minwax Polycrylic protective finish to add protection. Is this needed after 5 coats on a dinning room table?
If not, what now? Buffy, light sanding than buffing, no buffing?
Thanks in advance
 
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Old 09-29-21, 11:10 AM
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If you are using oil base poly you do not want to apply polycyrlic over as it won't bond well to the oil.
I usually only apply 3 coats of poly, occasionally 4.
 
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Old 09-29-21, 12:19 PM
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I'm a three coat guy as well and also agree water on top of oil is a bad idea. It sounds to me like you're done.
 
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Old 09-30-21, 12:59 PM
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Great news hearing done. The only reason I even questioned Polycrilic is it was suggested on the can.
Do the extra coats offer better protection?
 
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Old 09-30-21, 01:11 PM
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The thicker the protective film the more protection you get .... to a point. About the only reason to apply more than 4 coats is if you are oversanding between coats removing much of what you applied.

Not sure why the label of oil poly would suggest going over it with polycyrlic as that makes no sense!
 
 

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