major tung oil problem

whymarkJuly 13, 2014

I've stripped a 150 yr old railway station bench and have put ~75 coats of pure tung oil on it. The last coat never dried. The seat dried and the back rail dried but the spindles supporting the back rail and the legs have never dried and are very sticky to the touch. I have tried heating with hot air (industrial hot air gun) and scraping and also tried scrubbing with a solvent. Nothing is working. I've been using tung oil for 20+ years with fantastic results but, this one has me stumped. Much obliged for any help on this one.

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Did i read that correctly? 75 coats of oil? Why in the world would you use that many coats?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 5:45PM
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LOL...actually it was more like 100!!....the first 10 or so were cut with a thinner to help it penetrate deeply into the wood....then I just kept on going trying to get the oil built up enough to provide that nice satin sheen of a finished project....the wood is cypress and soaks the oil up like a kleenex....I was ready to put some coats of Poly on to get the sheen when I applied the final coat of tung oil.....which never dried and brings me to this guess is that the oil had already started to polymerize in the can and the polymerization process was halted do I strip it off???

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Thing about tung oil, if you want the wood to have more sheen, you only can sand the wood to a finer grit, like 400 (and finish with synthetic steel wool) because the oil will only be as shiny as the wood, since by itself it dries matte finish.
I would start scrubbing it with lacquer thinner and try to get the sticky bit off, then proceed with your flat poly or whatever.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:23AM
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Roger that Casey, I went through several packs of 400 grit sandpaper and 5-aught steel well getting this puppy ready for finishing. I'm using a highly refined aliphatic solvent with no headway on removing the sticky residue. Am looking for a more aromatic solvent like Methyl Ethyl Ketone. I'd really like to find something that will act as a catalyst and get the polymerization to complete and......I'm also searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!...with equal luck on both.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:36AM
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So the next-to-last coat dried, but not the last? How long did you wait between coats?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Get a gallon of Kutzit stripper and be done with it!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:15PM
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It was several weeks between the second to last and the last coats..I was getting tired of the project. Will try the Kutzit stripper and, hopefully, be done with it!...thanks to all

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:50PM
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