Pure Tung Oil

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This bottle of pure tung oil has just arrived through the post from tungoil.co.uk. I’m keen to compare the finish of tung oil on spoons with that of linseed oil, grape seed oil or walnut oil. Like these three oils tung oil is a drying oil which polymerises in the presence of oxygen to form a solid but flexible matrix with the wood that has been treated. Like linseed oil the label ‘tung oil’ covers a multitude of sins for products with all sorts of additives to either enhance the penetration of oil into wood or to accelerate the curing of the oil. None of these products with additives can be used on kitchenware or children’s toys, which is why it it is important to search out pure foodsafe tung oil.

The manufacturers have several claims of the benefits of  tung oil over linseed oil, it penetrates the wood more easily, dris more quickly and is more resistant to mould. It will be interesting to test those claims.

The Bestwood brand is pure tung oil extracted from the seeds or nuts of the Chinese Tung tree Aleurites fordii or Vernicia fordii, a member of the spurge family. As it contains no additives it is certified EN71 toy safe.

There is some evidence that tung oil may cause an allergic response from those with nut allergies, so that must be taken into account when using it, especially on any products being sold.

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I intend to treat this apple wood spoon with pure tung oil so do check back and see how I get on. Will tung oil have a better finish than my favourite grape seed oil? For me the most important characteristic is how little colour the finish has and how much the natural finish of the wood can shine through.

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