Teak Oil vs Tung Oil vs Linseed Oil: Which is the Best Wood Finish?

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Choosing the right type of oil finish can add aesthetic value and protection to your wooden pieces. But it can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with them.

Three of the most popular types of oil wood finish today are teak, tung, and linseed. If you’re unsure which to choose, I’ll guide you through this teak oil vs tung oil vs linseed oil comparison guide.

What is Tung Oil?

Tung oil is known for its compatibility with most types of wood because it is 100% natural. It is extracted from the tung tree’s seeds, a native tree from China. Once the extracted oil is exposed to the air, it hardens and gives the wood a translucent wet look finish.

It is renowned for its ability to withstand heat, moisture, and wear. Tung oil is a popular choice for outdoor applications, such as decks and outdoor furniture.

tung oil

Uses of Tung Oil

Tung oil is suitable for finishing wooden kitchen utensils, such as salad bowls, spoons, forks, and cutting boards. Since tung oil is natural and non-toxic, it’s the best finish for dining tables, ensuring it won’t compromise the safety of your food while offering protection against water and liquid damage.

Moreover, when it comes to woods facing challenging weather conditions such as rain and sunlight, tung oil shines. Its waterproof nature acts as a shield, preventing wood from cracking. It is effective to finish and paint on wood for outdoor furniture and artwork.


Tung oil extends the lifespan of the wood because, aside from being waterproof, it is also acid resistant. It brings great benefits to the wood by protecting it from damage caused by water and other liquids.

applying tung oil to wooden frame

I’ve found tung oil to be incredibly safe for both your health and the food it comes into contact with when used on wooden utensils. It’s reassuring to know that it won’t introduce any harm or unwanted flavors into your kitchen.

Another outstanding characteristic of tung oil is that it will not alter the wood’s original color. Even though it may darken woods with lighter shades and enhance the grain when applied, it will not permanently change the wood color. Once you remove it, the wood will retain its original color.


One drawback I’ve come across when using tung oil as a wood finish is its lengthy drying time. Pure tung oil can take a good two to three hours to dry, which can test your patience, especially when multiple coats are necessary.

person holding tung oil container

Another huge burden is it would need three to five coats applied on the wood to achieve a perfect translucent finish, making the drying process even longer.

Also, you cannot store tung oil for a long time. Tung oil may go bad, so you should use it immediately because if you leave it in storage, it will thicken and harden after some time.

What is Teak Oil?

Unlike tung oil, teak oil is not a natural extract but a formulated oil, usually a combination of pure linseed and tung oil. Therefore, the wood finish depends on the formula that the brands use. However, the goal is to achieve a strong matte finish. 

Teak oil

Uses of Teak Oil

In my experience, teak oil proves most suitable for all hardwoods. Since it gives wood UV protection, it’s great for garden furniture, windows, doors, and fencing. 

It can also be used for indoor flooring because it does not easily chip and stick to the flooring well. Teak oil is also used for artworks and toys because it enhances the color of the wood and protects it from cracking.


When applied correctly, teak oil can deeply penetrate the grains of wood, leaving behind a strong matte finish which works well with dense wood like Oak, Beech, Mahogany, and more.

applying teak oil to wood

Teak oil also stays longer and does not crack or chip easily. This ensures that wood remains shielded for extended periods without the need for frequent reapplication.

Another outstanding advantage of teak oil, among other oil types, is it gives UV protection to the wood. Therefore, the wood is protected from damage caused by the sun.


Since teak oil penetrates the deeper grains of the wood, it tends to alter the original color of the wood. It causes the wood to change its color permanently even when you scrape the oil off it.

Teak oil finish

Also, because the finish of teak oil is strong, it makes the wood resistant to other elements like glue. Thus, I don’t recommend it if you will use glue to attach the wood afterward. 

Another disadvantage of teak oil is it fades easily. Teak oil may go bad and the wood will become dull after a few months, so you will need to reapply it if you need to preserve the shiny finish.

More about teak: 

What is Linseed Oil?

Linseed oil is a natural oil extracted from flax seeds. It is known as a natural finish for wood, even before the discovery of modern preservatives [1]. 

linseed oil

Uses of Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is my go-to primer before applying paint on the wood. It penetrates the deeper grains of the wood and preserves its natural texture longer.

 Linseed oil is suitable for home furniture such as entertainment centers, dressers, nightstands, and other furniture that don’t see heavy use and are less prone to scratches. 


One of the things I love about linseed oil is the gorgeous finish. It provides an exceptionally beautiful finish to wood kitchen tables and other wood products, bringing out the wood’s color and enhancing the natural grains. It makes the wood look natural and more appealing. 

pouring linseed oil

Another notable advantage is how easy it is to apply. With a lint-free rag in hand, you simply pour a bit of it onto the cloth and gently polish it along the direction of the wood grain.

Also Read: Using Linseed Oil on Cedar Wood


The main downside of linseed oil is the long drying process. If you’re using pure linseed oil, be prepared to wait patiently for two to three weeks for it to fully harden and dry. On the other hand, linseed oil mixed with other drying agents may take a minimum of three days to dry.

applying linseed oil to wood

Also, linseed oil is prone to scratches. That’s why I don’t recommend it for frequently used furniture or for flooring. The constant movement of furniture or people walking on it can easily scratch and damage the finish.

Also Read: Beeswax Finish Disadvantages 


Can you finish teak using linseed oil?

Yes, you can finish teak using linseed oil because teak works well with a natural finish like linseed oil, which can enhance its color.

Do you need a sealer with tung oil?

No, you do not need a sealer with tung oil because it is capable of sealing naturally and is waterproof. 

How many teak oil coats should you apply?

You should apply two coats of teak oil to protect the wood and achieve the perfect finish look.

What’s the best method to finish teak wood?

The best method to finish teak wood is to use tung oil because it penetrates the grains and gives a deeper and lustrous finish.


In closing, it’s clear that an oil wood finish can protect wood from damage. It can also enhance the color and appearance of the wood. Choosing the right oil wood finish depends on the type of wood and the purpose of your project. 

By diving into the nuances of teak oil vs tung oil vs linseed oil, I hope you’ve gained the insights you need. Their pros and cons will help you determine which is best for your project.

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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