How Long Does It Take Tung Oil to Cure?

Image of oiled wood. How Long Does It Take Tung Oil to Cure?Tung oil originates from South America and China. It is an extract from tung-tree nuts and delivers a natural drying oil for coating wood finishings. Also, the oil gives a wet and transparent finish that enhances the wood’s color. But to get maximum value from the formula, it would be best to allow it to cure well after application. Thus, let’s answer the question How Long Does It Take Tung Oil to Cure?

It takes tung oil close to three to four days to cure well. However, the finish only needs a day to dry in between coats. Therefore, it would be best to assess how many coats you want to apply and how soon you’d want to resume using the coated surface. This way, you’ll allocate enough time for the curing process.

Also, please note that tung oil is not a fast-drying formula. So, kindly read through this article to get more tips on how to use the formula.

How to Apply Tung Oil

The first step is always to prepare the wood surface by removing any wax finishes. Fortunately, we have products like Wax and Polish Remover that make the process much easier.

The next step is to apply the tung oil as it is ready for use. However, you can dilute the first and second coats with up to 50 percent white spirit. Also, feel free to use a lint-free cotton cloth or brush for better results.

Allow the oil to soak into the wood for about 20 to 30 minutes and wipe off the excess using a clean, lint-free cloth. On top of that, leave the final coat for 24 hours and wipe the surface to aid air drying.

Please consider a minimum of our coats. However, it would be best to have more layers for external or porous surfaces. Also, use Ultra Fine Steel Wool to rub gently between coats. Then, leave the project for a few days.

Additionally, oil finishes expose the wood’s natural colors. Thus, a wet surface will often be an indication of the final color. It would also be best to test the formula on a spare surface or inconspicuous area for compatibility and color.

It is not enough to apply the oil and leave it at that without further maintenance strategy. Hence, please apply the formula once or twice a year, depending on weather exposure and usage.

Lastly, it would be prudent to store the formula in temperatures above 5 degrees celsius. In addition, always replace the lid. Otherwise, the formula will deteriorate and not deliver the intended finish.

How Can You Make Tung Oil Dry Faster?

Tung oil drivers an excellent resilience against water and other forms of moisture. However, you’ll notice that the oil may still be sticky after a few days. Therefore, it would be best to find a way to fasten the drying process.

Check out the following techniques to avoid waiting for ages before using the oil finish.

  • Use a Wood Restorer to Revive the Oil Finish

This technique is perfect for unevenly curd or dried finishes. You can also compare it to the paint thinner strategy. In addition, all you need to do is to apply the wood restorer to the inconsistent finish.

It would be best to use fine steel wood to rub the wood restorer into the oily surface. The restorer seeps into the tung oil and mixes away the uneven tacky appearance. Therefore, you end up with an increased glow. Also, the steel wool helps to remove all the tackiness, and the finish dries well.

  • Peel Off the Tung Oil With Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits come in handy where the surface is still tacky and shows no signs of getting dry. Therefore, Moisten a clean cotton cloth with the solution and wipe the surface gently to remove inconsistencies.

Also, continue to work the whole wood expanse and ensure the mineral spirit thins the tung oil. Then, get a clean cloth and clean the excess formula from the wood’s surface.

  • Use Paint Thinner to Peel Off the Tung Oil

Paint thinner is ideal for uneven surfaces with solid dry, and gummy areas. It helps you to turn a disastrous-looking finish into an appealing surface. So you can either use turpentine or xylene paint thinner.

The thinners weaken the tung oil and detach its bond with the wood surface. Also, it would be best to get fine steel wool to scrape off the oil. Then, reapply a new coat to the surface and marvel at the new finish.

  • Use Diluted Tung Oil

Get the tung oil and dilute it with mineral spirits in a one-to-one ratio. Then, pour the same quantity into a container and stir the solution. Keep stirring until you get a perfect mixture. 

Remember to use a clean rag to clean the wood’s surface. This way, you’ll eliminate dust and grime that may compromise the outcome. Also, ensure that you dilute the oil well and apply it evenly on the surface.

In addition, apply the oil little by little until you get full coverage. Insist on wiping off the excess oil and getting a thin coat. This way, the finish takes a shorter duration, like 20 minutes, to dry.

That said, use a ball of fine steel wool to buff and polish the surface. Then, adopt circular movements to add a glow to the finish. You can also increase the surface’s shine by leaving it for an hour and repeating the last procedure.

On top of that, ensure that the formula penetrates the surface after polishing it. Then, allow it to dry overnight. Also, it would be best to check out various factors that affect drying time. This way, you’ll know what to assess as you consider making the surface dry faster.

These aspects include:

  • Weather. Weather conditions are an important factor in assessing the oil’s drying time. The surfacer dries way faster during warm and dry weather and much slower in cold and humid conditions.
  • Application. It would be best to mind your application technique as it also influences the oil’s drying time. For instance, please avoid applying excess formula and wipe off any excess on the surface.
  • Drying Time. Allow the wood enough time to dry in-between coats. This way, you’ll deliver a dry finish instead of a tacky one. In addition, always check the weather forecast to the most suitable period to oil the wood. Otherwise, you may risk working on a rainy or super sunny day.

You may be wondering which of the above fast drying techniques is the best. Well, it depends on the nature of your desired finish. For example, paint thinner is not a perfect choice to preserve the lumber beneath the finish. Otherwise, you may ultimately destroy the wood.

Fortunately, products like wood restorers, mineral spirits, and paint thinners are easy to use. They are also ideal for both professionals and amateurs. However, please use high-quality products when you consider mineral spirits. 

How Many Coats of Tung Oil Should I Do?

It would be best to have at least five tung oil coats on your surface. Also, remember to allocate the project sufficient drying and curing time. For example, the finish needs about two to three days to harden.

Interestingly, varnish/oil mixtures and wiping varnishes are faster-drying. They are also more practical options, but these terms rarely appear on product labels.

How Do You Use 100% Tung Oil?

Tung oil is a bit too easy to use. All you need to adhere to are a few steps and are sure of a perfect outcome. These instructions are as follows.

  • Clean the Surface

The proper tung oil application technique begins with cleaning and preparing the surface. Therefore, please assess the surface and remove oil, dirt, grease, dust, and other contaminants.

Please sand or strip the surface to remove any existing finish or coating. Then, follow up the process by cleaning with trisodium phosphate and sanding the surface with 150-grit sandpaper. You can also vacuum the surface to remove hidden dust.

  • Thin the Oil

A thinner makes the tung oil easy to apply and faster to dry. It also improves the formula’s penetration capacity. However, it would be best to avoid thinning the oil when using it on concrete, weathered wood, highly absorbent surfaces, old and unfinished wood floors.

Mix the oil with equal proportions of mineral spirits, citrus solvent, or odorless mineral spirits before application. Also, it is okay to use pre-thinned options, like Dark Half and Half & Half.

  • Apply a Generous First Coat

Please use a sponge brush, a natural bristle brush, or a soft and lint-free rag to apply the oil generously to the surface. Also, remember that unlike varnish, which settles on the wood’s surface, tung oil saturates the wood cells thoroughly.

  • Do the Subsequent Coats

Apply a second coat to the surface after the first coat settles into the wood. Then, continue with this process, waiting at least 40 minutes between coats if necessary. This way, over 80% of the wood’s surface remains glossy for a minimum of 40 minutes.

Also, functional surfaces that experience human traffic and more frequent handling need a minimum of five coats, and decorative items are okay with two to four coats. Thus, it would be best to consider the purpose of the surface before oiling.

  • Wipe Off Unabsorbed Oil From the Surface

The wood may not absorb any more tung oil after you’ve done multiple coats. Hence, please use a clean cloth to wipe it. Also, mop oil puddles on the surface with the trugs to keep the oil from curing.

Here, the surface is at its saturation point. But the tung oil settles inside the wood grain overnight through the nest day. In addition, it would be best to add one or two more oil coats to get the best finish.

Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions after the waiting period. And wipe off excess oil from the surface. Also, hang oil-soaked rags separately outdoors as it is prudent to dry them before disposing of.

  • Allow the Oil Cure For Up to 30 Days

The oil usually needs seven to ten days to begin curing and about 15 to 30 days to cure fully. Also, please avoid putting the oiled object in direct sunlight for long durations. Otherwise, the finish may fade quickly.

You can walk on the oiled floors with clean shoes. You can put old rags on dirty shoes if you have to walk across the surface. In addition, it would be best to avoid placing heavy equipment or objects on the floor.

The oil naturally waterproofs, seals, and protects the surface from damage. Therefore, you do not need additional protection products or sealers on top of the oil finish.

  • Clean the Surface

Fortunately, tung oil is easy to clean. Use hot water and ordinary standard soap for wooden objects and floors.

  • Reapply the Oil Often to Revive the Wood and Add More Protection

It would be best to adopt a few maintenance strategies for surfaces that experience more human traffic. This way, you can easily revive their wood and reinforce protection from elements.

Blend two parts of a thinner to one part of tung oil and wipe down the surface. Then, allow it to dry as recommended.

Please note that tung oil has been a popular product for thousands of years. Also, it has a protective and waterproofing nature makes it an ideal formula for multiple wood projects. But it would be prudent always to wipe off excess for better results.

On top of that, pure tung oil is still gaining momentum because it is food-safe, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. Thus, you can use the product for kitchenware, cutting boards, butcher blocks, countertops, and even toys.

Lastly, applying tung oil is effective and simple. It is easy to remember and delivers a perfect finish without much activity. All you need to do is prepare the surface well before application and apply enough oil.

Can I Put Polyurethane Over Tung Oil?

It is okay to put a coat or two of polyurethane for more durability. Therefore, feel free to add a polyurethane finish over your dried tung oil. Also, please wait for about 15 to 30 days before you proceed.

It would be best to consider various aspects as you decide on the drying time. They include the nature of application, humidity, temperature, and air circulation of the curing atmosphere.

Remember that homeowners prefer different wood preservation strategies. Some prefer staining and painting, while others go for oiling any day, anytime. However, it would be best to determine the desired finish before you make a decision.

For example, please consider oiling your surface or having a polyurethane coat to enhance the wood’s natural tone. Fortunately, the layer also protects the wood from getting brittle or failing. Thus, you’ll enjoy soft and beautiful wood for a long duration.

Here are some of the steps to follow when adding polyurethane over tung oil.

  • Put on a mask, rubber gloves, and protective wear when applying the formula. Also, dip your paintbrush into a paint stripper and apply a thick coat on the wood. 
  • Allow the paint stripper to settle on the wood and let it soften the finish for about 15 to 20 years.
  • Remove the original finish with a paint scraper. Also, please hold the tool away from you and pull it towards your body. This way, you can pull off the finish in long strips.
  • Blend one tablespoon of dishwashing soap with some warm water. Then, soak a sponge into the mixture, wring out most of the water, and wipe the wood. This way, you can remove chemical residue.
  • Fix fine-grit sandpaper to a palm sander and sand the surface. Also, please remove the remaining finish and stain traces.
  • Squirt two tablespoons of tung oil onto a rag and wipe it into the bare wood. Then, wipe off the excess oil and continue applying the oil until you get the desired finish. Also, let the oil soak into the wood until it is not glossy.
  • Soak a fine-grit scrub sponge into the polyurethane finish and rub it onto the wood. Continue until you cover the whole surface with a light layer.
  • Let the polyurethane finish dry overnight and apply two to three polyurethane coats. Also, please allow each coat a day to dry before adding the next one.

How Do I Get a High Gloss Finish With Tung Oil?

You can get a high gloss finish with tung oil by using more coats. Also, please check out the manufacturer’s instructions because they explain the safest way to achieve various product outcomes.

It would be best to thin the last couple of coats with mineral spirits. Also, you can wax the tung oil finish with some polish. This way, you can emphasize and insist on a glossy sheen. So, the more you rub the polish, the better the sheen.

Can I Apply Tung Oil Over Stain?

It is possible to apply tung oil over the stain. However, please ensure that the stain dries well before adding the finish. In addition, always wipe or brush a generous oil amount to get a durable finish.

Apply the tung oil in the grain direction and let it settle on the surface for about five to ten minutes. Also, buff the finish evenly and gently with a clean and lint-free cloth.

On top of that, remember that any oil base will work perfectly for your work. But a tung oil finish delivers an amber color that enhances or changes the stain’s color. Therefore, test the results before going ahead with the project.

What Is the Difference Between Tung Oil and Danish Oil?

The primary difference between tung oil and danish oil lies in how they function. Also, although both products are wood refinishing oils, tung oil is an essential ingredient in making danish oil.

It would be better to check the products first and see what to expect.

  • Danish Oil

This oil is a blend of various compounds such as linseed oil and tung oil. Interestingly, there is no fixed formula for manufacturing it. Thus, the materials and processes vary according to the manufacturer.

Danish oil works well on bare surfaces. It is also best to apply it in the wood grain’s direction. This way, the formula soaks into the wood easily and dries much faster. In addition, you can use the oil for basic beginner projects as its application is easy.

This product protects your woodworking projects from scratches and damages caused by heat, chemicals, and stains. Therefore, you will enjoy a beautiful satiny finish for a long duration.

In addition, danish oil does not yellow with age. Hence, it is easy to deliver and maintain your original finish hue. The oil also allows you to mix various tints to deliver your desired color shade.

You can use the oil as a primer or sealer as it is water-resistant and soaks well into the wood. More so, it penetrates the wood grain faster than tung oil. Therefore, it is perfect for hardwoods like oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, and ironwood.

Danish oil only needs a few hours to dry because of other components in the mixture. Also, you are good to go with fewer coats. Therefore, the project will soon be complete as long as you work in ideal weather conditions.

Unfortunately, the formula is not ideal for kitchen bowls or other kitchenware. It is very hard to determine the specific chemical compounds in the oil. Therefore, please avoid using it in materials that act as food storage.

Users report that danish oil needs maintenance more often than any other type of oil treatment product. In addition, it does not last long compared to tung oil. Therefore, you may incur a few recurring maintenance costs.

Worse still, the oil hardens when it comes into the air, especially if it has polymerized linseed oil. Therefore, there is a high chance for spontaneous combustion due to exothermic combustion.

So, please be careful and soak the rag used for application in water before discarding it.

  • Tung Oil

Tung oil has been in the market for centuries. Also, this oil was first common among the Chinese in building ships. Thus, you will find some people still referring to it as China wood oil.

The formula is all-natural and organic, meaning it does not contain toxic elements. You will get it from nuts, and thus it is food safe and environmentally friendly. So, it works well for most kitchen projects.

Tung oil delivers the best waterproof coating among most oil treatments. The wood surface will be safe from absorbing water once the finish cures. However, it would be best to adopt the best application method for the best outcome.

Additionally, the oil delivers a beautiful golden color that gives the wood a sophisticated look. More so, it leaves a transparent finish. Therefore, you will still keep the wood grain visible. 

Although tung oil hardens to give a hard and solid surface, the finish remains elastic. Therefore, wood expansion and contraction do not affect the coating. Furthermore, it keeps the surface from cracking and increases the wood’s lifespan.

The product polymerizes after curing and leaves behind a strong coating. Ultimately, the wood becomes immune to acidic components, scratches, and dents. However, you need to be patient with the project as tung oil soaks slowly into the wood.

Fortunately, you can thin the oil with thinner or mineral spirits. This way, you will enjoy reduced waiting time and complete the project within a short duration. Also, please sand the wood before application to fasten the oil penetration process.

Tung oil needs about six or more coats to deliver a perfect finish unlike, danish oil. Therefore, you’ll need more oil when covering a larger surface. In addition, it would be best to wait for at least 24 hours between each coat.

100% natural tung oil is not easy to store. Please store it away from too much heat and light. But this requirement only applies to pure tung oil; otherwise, you do not have to worry about thinned oil.


Drying and are usually two different things. For instance, drying is a process where the finish is free from water due to evaporation. On the other hand, curing is a gradual chemical process that turns the liquid into a solid resin. Therefore, drying is a short-term process, while curing is long-term. So, we can now answer the question:

How Long Does It Take Tung Oil to Cure?

Tung oil needs about three to four days to cure. But you only need one day to dry in between coats. So, it is usually prudent to determine how many coats you need for the work. Then, determine the most reasonable duration for the project.

Please remember that the curing process takes longer. It is not possible to rush or alter it. But aspects such as low heat levels, high humidity, and poor ventilation can slow down the process.