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LSommer

Raw Tung Oil finish seeping issue

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PLEASE: IF responding to this post, do NOT tell me why Tung Oil is bad, and other finished are better, or to sand everything off and use Poly or Varnish instead. I have used Tung Oil MANY times with great success, and this is my first problem. I am mid-way through this project, and am only interested in replies from those with experience with Tung Oil that address what I should do NOW to fix it.
 
I'm finishing a table with Acacia/Rubberwood butcher block type top and it seems that the large pores of the Acacia are giving me trouble.
 
I followed the usual steps I always do: flooding with 50/50 Tung/Citrus Solvent for the first application, 75/25 for the 2nd, and about 85/15 or 90/10 for the third.
 
The second and third coats I also wet-sanded the oil in using 0000 Steel Wool and then wiped the sludge away thoroughly.
 
Between each coat, I wiped all excess oil off and waited for at least 4 days in between each. It took much longer to dry than I've ever experienced. But I know each coat was DRY (not of course CURED) -- because between each, I sanded lightly with either 220 sandpaper or the Steel Wool, and the dust was a fine white powder - no gummy residue, indicating it was dry enough to add another coat.
 
(I live in FL, but I have the table inside where it is normally air-conditioned to 76 degrees, so the humidity is NOT high. To aid in the drying I turned the AC down to 72 so the air would be even drier.)
 
After each coat, I noticed that the oil was continually seeping out of the pores, so I was wiping it off about every 15-20 minutes for the first 8-12 hours, and then several times a day for the next 2-3 days. Again, I've never experienced this before, and I'm sure it has to do with the large pores of the Acacia.
 
Still, the first 2 coats went on fine and were completely dry before applying the next coat.
 
On the third application, I kept wiping and buffing as usual, and all was fine until the third morning when I checked it, oil had seeped out overnight and DRIED, so now there are dozens of tiny spots that are glossier than the rest of the table. They're not white -- just glossier than the rest of the table -- and you can only see them if you look at the table close to eye level in certain light, but the table is not as smooth where the dried oil is. 
 
In an attempt to fix, I tried sanding with 0000 Steel Wool and then wiping down with pure Citrus Solvent - and then it was like a dam broke, and oil was seeping out of the pores all over! I was able to wipe that away, but the previously dried spots are still there - the steel wool and Citrus Solvent didn't touch them. Also, the Citrus Solvent seemed to dry out the rest of the table and make it duller.
 
On a small section of the table, I tried using a 3M white Final Finishing Pad (which is like a Scotchbrite "scrubby") and a bit of Tung to see if that would break up the dried spots, but that did nothing.
 
My plan was to do 1-2 more final coats, this time of 100% pure Tung - no Citrus Solvent. However, I don't want to do that until I know the best way to proceed.
 
Should I wait for several weeks to make sure the oil IN the pores is fully cured, and then sand and do a coat of pure Tung Oil, wet-sanding in various steps from medium to fine, to try to get rid of the spots?
 
Or, if I wait for it to thoroughly dry, and sand, and then just apply the pure Tung, will the Tung eventually build up so the rest of the table is as glossy as the spots, so it won't be noticed? 
 
Or, if I wait for several weeks and apply Polymerized Tung -- which has a glossier finish -  will that bring the rest of the table to the level of gloss of the pores, making it uniform? I've never used Polymerized Tung before.
 
I really do not want to sand everything off and start over.
 
Any advice would be appreciated!
 
Many thanks,
Edited by LSommer
typo

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your best bet is to keep applying until the pores are sealed.  Good luck. 

I tried both raw tung and polymerized on sapele sample boards.  after a few weeks I gave up.  I did find a single wash coat of shellac before the oil helped partially seal the pores and significantly reduced the weeping.  

Also, pure tung sucks as a finish for this exact reason :)

 

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1 hour ago, Tmize said:

Could it be the moisture content of the table be high an the water is pushing the oil out because they don't mix

I doubt it.  His experience is typical of raw oils on open pored woods. 

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You're experiencing what flooding an open pore material yields.  Early on I flooded a red oak piece and it "weeped" for almost 2 weeks.  The recommended fix (and good solution) given to me back then was to move on to something else and just keep coming back to the weeper and wiping it down every time you think about it.  Eventually the weeping stopped and I was able to top coat it.  Adding additional finishing steps before the weeping is done is like trying to move forward before the finish is cured. Patience and effort will yield your best result.

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On July 16, 2017 at 11:47 AM, gee-dub said:

You're experiencing what flooding an open pore material yields.  Early on I flooded a red oak piece and it "weeped" for almost 2 weeks.  The recommended fix (and good solution) given to me back then was to move on to something else and just keep coming back to the weeper and wiping it down every time you think about it.  Eventually the weeping stopped and I was able to top coat it.  Adding additional finishing steps before the weeping is done is like trying to move forward before the finish is cured. Patience and effort will yield your best result.

Makes sense. I was following the instructions from Real Milk Paint to flood the wood, then wipe off, which always worked in the past - but clearly does not with this deep-pored wood. So, I sanded everything off. The oil spots kept rising back up - but less and less each time I sand and wipe with solvent. Now, they're almost all gone. Hopefully this means the pores are drying out.  The few that do appear now can't be wiped off - they just spread into the sanded wood surrounding them and aren't shiny. 

Since the pores are obviously really deep, I'm wondering if I should perhaps just apply a very thin coat of 50/50 Tung Oil/solvent (wipe on with a rag) instead of flooding the surface until it stops absorbing? 

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On July 15, 2017 at 6:03 PM, Mike. said:

your best bet is to keep applying until the pores are sealed.  Good luck. 

I tried both raw tung and polymerized on sapele sample boards.  after a few weeks I gave up.  I did find a single wash coat of shellac before the oil helped partially seal the pores and significantly reduced the weeping.  

Also, pure tung sucks as a finish for this exact reason :)

 

Thanks. Never had this problem before with pure Tung but those weren't deep-pored wood...

 

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38 minutes ago, LSommer said:

Since the pores are obviously really deep, I'm wondering if I should perhaps just apply a very thin coat of 50/50 Tung Oil/solvent (wipe on with a rag) instead of flooding the surface until it stops absorbing? 

I understand from the getgo that we shouldn't denounce Tung oil, but if you had a bad experience "this one time" with it on this wood, why would you keep using it? 

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2 hours ago, K Cooper said:

I understand from the getgo that we shouldn't denounce Tung oil, but if you had a bad experience "this one time" with it on this wood, why would you keep using it? 

Good question. Because I suspect that I applied it too quickly / didn't wait long enough and possibly the technique (flooding as opposed to wiping on thin applications) was wrong for this deep-pored wood. In the past I used the flooding method, but that was not on wood with deep pores. The other thing I did differently here was wet-sanding each application with 0000 steel wool. Have read posts from people who had the same problems using Watco and even varnishes and stains on deep-pored wood. Hence why I was looking for advice. If you have any suggestions for better solutions than Tung for this situation I am open to them.

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This weeping issue you are describing is happening with me on my maple counter top.  I'm also using Real Milk Paint 50/50 tung oil citrus sovent and have used it for years with great success.  For some reason this time it is weeping and the curing on top.  I've used 0000 steel wool to remove the cured tung oil, but then the weeping starts again and I'm back to square one.  Can you give some guidance on what worked for you?  

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@Ruthi123, the original poster hasn't visited since August of 2017, so you probably won't get an answer. I can offer that oil finish can often soak deep into the wood and slowly weep  back out. The only treatment I'm aware of is to keep removing tge seepage until it stops. If the smell doesn't bother you, keep the piece in a warm room of the house, as cold seems to slow the curing process to some degree.

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On 11/11/2019 at 10:01 PM, wtnhighlander said:

@Ruthi123, the original poster hasn't visited since August of 2017, so you probably won't get an answer. I can offer that oil finish can often soak deep into the wood and slowly weep  back out. The only treatment I'm aware of is to keep removing tge seepage until it stops. If the smell doesn't bother you, keep the piece in a warm room of the house, as cold seems to slow the curing process to some degree.

Thanks!  It's my counter, so 70 degrees is the best I can do with heat (especially since we are experiencing the extreme cold now!)  I'm using #0000 steel wool every day to polish/remove the dull cured tung oil.  The weeping is slowing so I'm hoping this will end soon.  Unfortunately, I feel like the finish is blotchy now.  Once the weeping is completely finished how would you recommend dealing with the blotchiness?  A complete repolish with #0000?  

 

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Is there a stain under the tung oil, or just the oil? 'Blotch', as most of us know it, results from swirling grain as it crosses the surface plane of the wood, exposing the porous end grain fibers. The end grain absorbs more stain or oil, producing darker spots. If there is no stain, just oil, and it wasn't blotchy after initial application, I'd say the removal of excess oil is uneven. Once the weeping subsides, go over the entire surface with steel wool or very fine sandpaper to even it out. For future reference, sanding the bare wood to high grits, 600+, 'burnishes' those end grain fibers, closing them up so that less stain / finish is absorbed, making blotch much less prominent.

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