How to Make Tung Oil Dry Faster

Tung oil is a natural, efficient oil finish that has been used for centuries. It has proven to be efficient in being water-resistant and has great resilience against wear and tears. Also, it poses no form of harm to your wood.

Tung oil is a form of finish that bonds to your wood to give it a protective hard coat that makes it resilient to water and moisture.

Although it is a proficient surface coat, it takes a longer time to dry and eventually cure. Along the process of applying your tung oil, you might realize your surface coat is all gummy and tacky, and you’re probably wondering how to make tung oil dry faster. I’ll say this article is just for you! 

Tung oil dries faster in an area with low humidity. Getting excess oil on your wood surface will make your tung oil get gummy. To make your tung oil dry faster, you need to ensure that each coat is dry before applying another.

This will allow the finish to cure totally. This article contains absolutely all you need to know about tung oil and the factors affecting the rate at which tung oil dries. This article will help you on how to make your tung oil surface finish dry faster.

Factors Affecting Tung Oil Drying

how to make tung oil dry faster

You might need to know the causes of non-drying tung oil. Normally we know that tung oil takes extra time to dry, but once you notice that it’s taking more time than necessary to cure, then the following might be the cause;

Weather: The weather condition is an important factor that affects lung oil finish drying time. In warm, dry weather, tung oil dries way faster when compared to cold and humid weather.

Application: you need to note your application method and be careful not to apply too much oil and wipe excesses off the surface.

Drying time: you must give your wood finish ample time to dry in-between coats as this will determine if your finish will come out dry or all tacky.

How long does it take tung oil finish to dry?

Drying and curing are two different things.

Drying is a process that means relatively free from water as a result of evaporation. At the same time, curing is a gradual chemical process that prepares liquid into a solid resin. Drying is a short-term process that can span from a few hours to a day and can be altered and made faster by positioning the tung oil in a warm area(make sure it is covered).

The whole curing takes a longer time, and its process can’t be altered, albeit a high level of humidity, low heat and ventilation can slow down the process.

It takes almost a whole day to dry in between coats for tung oil finish, and it’ll take close to 3 to 4 days to cure fully. To get a quality finish, you need to allow it to dry in between coats and cure patiently.

Perhaps after 4 to 5 days, you notice it is still sticky, you can use any of the methods that I’ll outline below to either remove the finish or restore it, but one thing you need to know is that when it comes to tung oil, you need to give it enough time as it is not the fast-drying type.

How to make tung oil dry faster

Tung oil is a proficient wood finish that poses great resilience against water and any form of moisture. After applying your oil, and you notice that after a few days, it is still sticking, then you have to find a way to make it dry faster.

You don’t have to wait for your oil to take ages to dry or get all tacky before you know the simple procedures on how to make tung oil dry faster. For different scenarios you might encounter, we’ve outlined four methods of making tung oil dry faster, which are;

  • Using a wood restorer to restore the oil finish
  • Peel off the tung oil with Mineral spirits
  • Use paint thinner to peel off the tung oil
  • Use diluted tung oil

 You might be wondering which of the three methods is the best. It depends on the nature of your surface finish. Note that paint thinner is not a good choice if you want to preserve the wood beneath the finish because you might destroy the wood in the long run.

When using mineral spirits, ensure you use high-quality products. Be it mineral spirits, wood restorer or paint thinner, they’re all easy to use and can be used by amateurs and professionals.

1. Using a wood restorer to restore the oil finish

This method is most suitable for unevenly dried or cured finishes and is still light compared to using the paint thinner method. All you have to do is to apply a wood restorer to the uneven finish.

You’ll need fine steel wool to rub in the wood restorer on the oil surface for this method. The wood restorer functions in that it seeps into the tung oil to mix away the uneven tacky blight to increase its glow. The fine steel wool incorporates the wood restorer into the tung oil finish, and it also helps to remove all the tackiness.

 2. Peel off the tung oil with Mineral spirits

 This method is most suitable for finishes where the tung oil is still all tacky and showing no sign of getting dry. Get a clean cotton cloth and moisten with a high-quality mineral spirit.

Work the moistened cloth over the wood surface and ensure you cover the whole expanse of the wood so that the mineral spirit will thin the tung oil. Get a clean cloth to clean the excess oil off from the surface of the wood.

 3. Use paint thinner to peel off the tung oil

You can use paint thinner for uneven surfaces where some solid dry areas and the rest are all gummy. Looks like a disaster, right? I guess! To write this, you can either use xylene or turpentine paint thinner for the surface finish.

After applied to the wood surface, either of the two paint thinners will weaken the tung oil and detach its bond to the surface of the wood. Then using fine steel wool, scrape off the tung oil till the wood is bare of the coil coatings. After that, you can reapply for a new coat of tung oil.

 4. Use diluted tung oil

 get your tung oil and dilute with mineral spirits in ratio 1:1, pour the same quantity into a mixing container, and then stir the solutions together with a mixing stick until they’re fully mixed.

Using a clean cloth or rag, clean the surface of the wood to remove dust and grime. Add the mixed, diluted oil on the wood surface and apply evenly on the surface using a clean cloth in circular movements.

Apply the oil little by little till you cover the whole expanse of the wood. Make sure you wipe off excess oil and the coat is as thin as possible. The diluted oil will take a shorter time to dry and won’t take more than 20minutes before it dries.

After the first coat dries, use a ball of fine steel wool to polish the surface with the same circular movements to make the finish glow.

Leave for an hour and repeat the last procedure to increase its shine, then apply the second coat by cleaning the surface, mixing the diluted oils and applying on the surface in circular movements and leave for 20 minutes for the solution to penetrate the surface and after a whole polish it. Then allow it to dry overnight.

Equipment and materials needed

  •  Mineral spirits
  • Wood restorer
  • Cotton cloth
  • Paint thinner (xylene or thinner)
  • Fine Steel wool
  • Gloves
  • Mixing container
  • Mixing stick.

Conclusion – How to Make Tung Oil Dry Faster

So far, we’ve discussed how to make tung oil dry faster, and one beautiful thing is that you don’t have to be a professional before you can fix your tacky tung oil finish.

When applying your surface coats, you have to be careful with evenly distributing the coats without putting more than the normal amount, and when you notice excesses, you can wipe them off with a clean cloth.

There are various methods of enhancing the drying time of tung oil, which are wood restorer, paint thinner, mineral spirits, and diluted tung oil. The type of method you choose to adopt depends on the condition of your wood surface but note that using paint thinner is not most suitable if you want to maintain the natural state of your wood.

If you don’t want to go through the stress of having to wait for days before your surface coat dry, you can use diluted oil, which is equally mixing both mineral spirit and tung oil.

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