Pure Tung Oil


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.


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.


3 thoughts on “Pure Tung Oil

  1. Hi David, I’ve just been doing some research about oils to finish a few simple carvings I’ve done, (just only the newest beginner here). Lovely to see your work and lovely to have some pointers about spoons. A neighbour of mine here in OXON, who is keen on wood projects using his mill, gave me a seasoned piece of maple last summer. That must be a joke wood for wood carvers. Wow, was it ever hard to carve! And that as a second project after green linden, just about put me off for life…lol. Happily, I have a very stubborn Canadian mentality. Off now to see some more of your projects. 😀

    1. Hi Veronica

      The joy of carving freshly harvested greenwood! I will sometimes rewet wood which has dried out to make it easier to carve, but it does take some time to resaturate those fibres and it is ‘green’ in a different way to true greenwood, but still easier to carve. Enjoy your carving.

      Best wishes


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