Finishing Wormy Chestnut

sbcichockiJune 23, 2009

I would really like some opinions from all of you, please.

I will probably be buying some wormy chestnut reclaimed from a 100 year old church floor. The finish on it isn't the best, so that will all have to be sanded off and start new. I don't have a spray room, so I need advice on how to finish this type wood with DIY tools.

I put a couple layers of 100% Pure Tung Oil from Real Milk Paint on a sample board. It is GORGEOUS! But, will this be enough to protect kitchen cabinets?(water will bead up on it) Should I dilute the first layer or two, then put a third undiluted layer on, and then would this be enough? The guy at the place I am getting this from showed me a board with General Arm-R-Seal on it, and it just wasn't rich looking like the tung oil. Would a wax layer on top of the tung oil be protective enough? And what kind of wax?

Obviously I am new to finishing, but am willing to try anything. I just hate the thought of wrapping this beautiful wood in plastic by using polyacrylic, but would that be the best?

Thanks for any advice!

S

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bobismyuncle

> ...wormy chestnut reclaimed from a 100 year old church floor. ... I put a couple layers of 100% Pure Tung Oil. ...
But, will this be enough to protect kitchen cabinets?

Are you making kitchen cabinets from floor boards?

Oils are among the least protective finishes, perhaps only a step better than waxes (which are as close to no finish as you can get).

So you have (at least) three competing characteristics (that coincidentally are the three main purposes of finish)

1) looks

2) protection (in a kitchen this includes various "chemicals" such as water, vinegar, lemon, orange and grape juices, tomato catsup, coffee, olive oil, 100-proof alcohol and mustard, to physical abuse such as abrasion and hot and cold)

3) ability to clean

Clearly, in your observation, the tung oil has #1 working for it. But it probably will fail in #2 and maybe #3.

>(water will bead up on it)

This does not mean water is not penetrating.

> Should I dilute the first layer or two, then put a third undiluted layer on, and then would this be enough?

What do the directions say?

You do know that 100% tung oil is finicky to apply. You have to wait for each application to cure well before applying more. And you have to sand between each coat. Screw it it and it's time to strip and start over.

>Would a wax layer on top of the tung oil be protective enough? And what kind of wax?

See above regarding wax and water beading up.

>I just hate the thought of wrapping this beautiful wood in plastic by using polyacrylic, but would that be the best?

You have just skipped over a number of alternative finishes, alone or in combination.

Here is a link that might be useful: KCMA Performance test for finishes

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 6:11PM
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sbcichocki

Yes, old floor boards. When we have ripped off the tongue/groove we will have 1x4s, 1x6s, and 1x8s, it just started it's life as a floor. (reclaimed wood)
What kind of finish would you suggest? I have only used tung oil, poly acrylic and polyeurathane when finishing anything we have made. I just thought since this was such 'special' wood we would treat it differently. I like the way the tung oil makes the grain 'pop'. And I don't mind waiting for coats to dry, I knew there was a day between coats, but since we are building doors ourselves I will have plenty of time to finish a door as hubby makes another. Can I put poly over tung oil? Or, what can I put over tung oil to make it work?
S

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 6:42PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Tung oil will be a good start. As any penetrating oil, it will really bring out the grain. Tung oil however never builds to a surface finish, and always dries matte. No-gloss is not going to emphasize the huge character that wormy chestnut has. I would recommend adding a wiping varnish to the finish in the last two coats. Maybe something in a wipe-on satin poly. As always, try a sample.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 9:04PM
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sbcichocki

Thank You!
Waterlox or Formby's?
S

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:29AM
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bobismyuncle

I am not sure what you like about the looks of the Tung oil, but since you have it now, I'd go ahead and use it. Otherwise, I'd suggest an application of boiled linseed oil instead. Much cheaper and less finicky. I have seen both on the same wood, side by side, and could not tell the difference. If you do use the tung oil, be sure to let it cure thoroughly, at least a week.

Then apply a 2-3 coats of brushed on varnish or 4-6 coats of wiped on varnish, sanding in between. Waterlox would be a good choice. Formby's is a brand name, not a specific product. Their "Tung Oil Finish" is simply an alkyd wiping varnish (not tung oil).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:39PM
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sbcichocki

I am not married to the tung oil idea, I just happened to have it on hand. I have the Tung Oil because I am going to use it as a sealer on my concrete countertops. I have never used BLO before. I'll have to pick some up and try it out. Does it keep darkening over the years? And how many coats? Can I put it on with my hand like the tung oil?
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it.
S

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:19PM
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bobismyuncle

If you are going to use BLO, apply it heavy, smear it around and wipe off the excess after 30 minutes. One application is enough. Let it cure for a couple of days, then proceed with your oil-based varnish.

I can't say what it will do to chestnut as it's not a wood I've worked with. I know it significantly (temporarily) darkens walnut and it adds quite a bit of richness to cherry.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:08PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

With BLO, I always dilute with mineral spirits and add "japan dryer" to make it cure faster. IMO Tung oil is probably all-around better than BLO for cabinet work.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:29PM
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sbcichocki

Thanks to everyone for all their advice. We go pick up our wood tomorrow. I am going to try many different sample pieces. I have General Finishes Arm R Seal to try on a piece and see how it turns out(with and without 50/50 tung oil/mineral spirits underneath). It is suppose to be a good finish, like a Waterlox only better. We shall see....
S

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:59PM
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