Advice for using tung oil onj kitchen work surface

pchowlaSeptember 23, 2007

I was hoping for some advice on using tung oil on a kitchen work surface. Specifically I want to fix up the surface - as it is dirty, discoloured and in some places the finish has been gouged.

The wood has had a tung oil finish from the beginning (yes a real 100% tung oil coating not a varnish labelled tung oil). I have been every 6 months or so recoating it. But the surface has a few issues now I and I want some advice before I go forward with just slapping another coat of oil on. So here goes:

  1. the surface has some "spots". It is a kitchen work surface and consequently sitting on it are a few appliances (microwave, blender etc). However the little rubber feet of the blender seems to have somehow marked the surface. I don't know if this is just in the oil finish or somehow marked the surface. And I am not sure how to get rid of these marks. (see the below photo)

  2. The surface also has a few marks - like gouges - from moving appliances around. The last time I reapplied the tung oil I thought they would disappear. They didn't. Anything special I need to do to take care of these?(see the below photo)

  3. Finally, parts of the surface have been covered - yet again thanks to aplpiances - while the front portion has seen more active use. As a result different parts of the surface are now different colours. Some of the more natural tone of the wood while others have the deeper oranger tone of the tung oil. What should I do to resolve this problem? Two photos here:

Thanks in advance for any advice and help!

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If it were me, I would dress the surface with a cabinet scraper and then judge what it looks like after being "skinned". The darkened areas may never be light again. If you could run it through a planer and take off a sixteenth, perhaps.
It's going to depend on what you can live with. A properly prepared cabinet scraper is much better than sandpaper, as the sandpaper will clog very frequently, and not remove as much wood as a scraper can. Of course, sharpening and using the tool is an acquired skill.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Yes I tried some sandpaper already. That didn't get me very far. The oil cured very well originally I guess, because the sand paper just disintegrates (also its cheap sandpaper) doing almost nothing.

I did try on the side of the piece to scape the finish off. I can scrap off a layer with my fingernail - but it is slow and difficult it seems to do that to the whole work surface. Maybe if I had the right tool...

I also just tried some 0000 grade steel wool - which was referenced in a few other posts on tung oil - but that wasn't much help either. It smoothed out the surface a bit - but a few spots on the surface are sticky, meaning that those spots now have sticky grey film from the steel wool fibres which got stuck in the oil.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 9:01AM
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I think it looks lovely!!!! Used, loved well cared for etc.
I would just dress it with more tung oil.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 7:11PM
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"meaning that those spots now have sticky grey film from the steel wool fibres which got stuck in the oil."

Try some paint thinner and steel wool on those spots.
You may be able to remove the uncured finish without damaging the surrounding areas.
Rubber appliance feet are hard on most varnish and resin type finishes, including tung oil. The chemicals used to harden the rubber while leaving it elastic soften the finish.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:12PM
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