Can You Apply Tung Oil on Pine Furniture? + Best Finishes for Pine

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You may have already seen that it is a great option to apply tung oil on pine wood. However, you may still wonder if it provides waterproofing and a natural-looking finish that enhances the wood’s beauty.

Thus, our woodworkers explored whether tung oil is suitable for pine furniture and discussed other best finishes for this type of wood.

Tung Oil Application on Pine Wood: Is it Recommended?

Tung oil is a protective and glossy coating that works on most types of wood. Using this oil treatment will help you create a beautiful and durable hand-rubbed finish on the wood’s surfaces.

We recommend tung oil as a great finish for pine wood as it not only benefits as a protective layer but also creates a dark, rich color that highlights its natural beauty and gives it a fresh, moist appearance.

In practical terms, applying tung oil is less laborious because it dries faster compared to other oils. Moreover, tung oil is a popular option for various pinewood projects as it is also an environmentally friendly finish.

tung oil on pine wood finishes

Furthermore, applying a layer of tung to pinewood surfaces prevents them from cracking and provides additional safeguarding against moisture. The following are pine woodworks where tung oil can be applied, allowing them to be used outdoors and indoors:

Tung Oil Over Pine: Advantages

Applying Tung Oil Over Pinewood: Detailed Guide

Supplies You’ll Need

Step #1: Prep Your Pine Wood Surface

advantages of tung oil on pine wood

Initially, it is crucial to inspect if there are any pre-existing coatings or deposits on the surface of the pine wood. This is because applying tung oil underneath previous finishes yields better results compared to applying it on top.

If the pinewood is untreated and in its raw state, it’s important to use a tack cloth to clean the entire surface. This will effectively remove any potential presence of dust, oil, and other unwanted substances that may be present on the wood’s surface.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the wood, proceed to sand the whole surface using sandpapers from 120, 150, to 220 grits in that order. To conclude, utilize a damp rag to remove the sawdust on the pine wood’s surface.

Step #2: Thin Your Tung Oil

Pine wood surfaces tend to have extremely narrow and less porous openings, making thinned tung oil a more suitable option than pure tung oil for effective results.

The consistency of pure Tung oil is similar to that of honey. It can be used as is or thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits. However, our wood specialist recommends a 1:1 ratio. 

tung oil thinned

To create a diluted solution of tung oil, start by pouring a sufficient amount of the oil into a glass jar. Then, add an equal quantity of mineral spirit to the oil, ensuring the proportions are balanced. Proceed to thoroughly mix the two components together until they are well blended.

We recommend the following when thinning tung oil to avoid issues in applying it to your pine wood.

Step #3: Apply the First Oil Coat

To your ready thinned tung oil, soak the paintbrush or foam brush and apply the first layer evenly over the entire pine wood surface with consistent pressure, making sure not to leave any areas untouched.

In addition, apply the oil following the wood grain’s direction to avoid any uneven marks or streaks.

applying the first coat

Step #4: Leave it to Dry and Do Light Sanding

We suggest allowing your first coat to dry for approximately six hours prior to applying the second coat. Typically, fiber cells of the pine are considerably dry and adequately saturated after forty-five minutes of applying the first layer.

Letting the first coat of tung oil dry completely both on the surface and internally is crucial before applying another coat. That’s why our team recommends letting it dry for 6 hours.

To conclude, after six hours of drying, start sanding the whole surface to eliminate any dust particles using the finishing pad.

Step #5: Apply More Coats (As Needed)

Prior to applying your second layer of tung oil on the pine wood, wet sand the surface utilizing sandpaper (220 grit) to make the pores smoother and improve the wood’s inherent contrast.

Apply five to eight layers of tung oil using the same method until you achieve your desired outcome. However, you will be able to see a significant improvement after the fifth coat.

The following are recommendations and tips from our team, who conducted a study regarding the application of tung oil in pine wood.

applying more coats as needed

Step #6: Let Tung Oil Dry and Cure

Apply each coat of tung oil [1] in the same manner. However, we recommend waiting six hours for tung oil to dry between coats.

Once you have applied the last layer of tung oil, our team also recommends allowing the pine wood to properly cure for a period of 14 days. The curing process allows the pine wood to achieve a sleek and glossy appearance.

To prevent damage to the pinewood treated with tung oil, avoid exposing it directly to sunlight for a long period of time. Also, wipe away any excess tung oil that surfaces during the first ten days of the curing process.

Let Tung Oil Dry and Cure

How Many Coats of Tung Oil to Apply on Pine

If the surface is already stained or made of dense wood, applying at least four coats of tung oil will be enough to ensure durability and sufficient coverage. In contrast, if the surface is new or porous, you can apply up to seven coats of tung oil.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that it is important to dilute tung oil with either mineral spirits or turpentine prior to applying it to the pine wood.

Also, ensure that the pinewood is completely dried and has fully absorbed the tung oil before proceeding to the application of the next coat.

Is It Advisable to Use Tung Oil on Outdoor Pinewood Furniture?

There are many options available for selecting the most suitable oils for wooden outdoor furniture, depending on the local climate, level of exposure to the elements, and desired appearance.

As per our wood experts, pine woodwork and outdoor furniture can be treated with tung oil, as it allows the wood to be waterproof and protected from external elements that can damage the wood.

tung oil on furniture

Moreover, tung oil produces a warm and natural finish that is highly resistant to heat. In addition, tung oil cures through oxidation instead of evaporation, making it an ideal option for outdoor pinewood furniture.

See Also: How to Treat Pine Wood for Outdoor Use

Can You Apply Tung Oil on Stained Pine?

You can use tung oil on stained pine because it is a durable and water-resistant finish that works well on porous wood like pine.

In addition, you can apply tung oil either over oil-based or water-based stains. Just ensure that the stain is completely dry before applying tung oil.

Nonetheless, tung oil cannot be used directly over varnished surfaces, as the varnish needs to be removed first.

Tung Oil vs Danish Oil on Pine

Tung Oil and Danish Oil are two types of wood oils that have a wide range of uses and are both considered excellent. However, a specific oil may be more appropriate for a particular purpose, or you may opt for an oil based on its visual qualities.

durability of danish oil

Pine can achieve a glossy, natural appearance with the use of tung oil. In addition, the application of tung oil creates a protective coat that helps prevent cracking and protects against water penetration.

On the other hand, to maintain your pine wood furniture durable, you can utilize Danish oil, which aids in reducing surface imperfections, preventing staining of the pine, and enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grain.

What Oil is Best on Pine Wood?

If you are seeking a suitable finish for your pine wood project, we recommend Danish oil as the best choice. Applying Danish oil finish to wood such as pine is a great choice for both outdoor and indoor furniture.

Due to its resistance to water, food, and alcohol, it is a perfect low-gloss coating for outdoor wood furniture. In addition, Danish oil on pine can highlight the grain and inherent color of the wood while providing a protective layer.

Watco 242220 Danish Oil Wood Finish

Furthermore, it only requires minimal effort when applying the oil and dries quickly, resulting in a smooth and natural finish. It is also low maintenance, and you can reapply it when necessary to refresh the pine wood’s appearance.

Nonetheless, it is essential to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, test the product in a small and concealed spot before applying it to the entire surface, and periodically reapply the oil to maintain the finish over time.


Do you sand between tung oil coats?

Yes, you can sand between tung oil coats this is to eliminate any flaws or blemishes. However, we suggest using abrasive pads to eliminate any dust particles and blemishes.

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Indeed, using tung oil on pine wood furniture as a finish is a great choice since it offers both waterproofing and protective benefits. However, other finishes, such as polyurethane, varnish, and wax, also work well.

The best finish for your pine furniture ultimately depends on your preferences and the specific requirements of the piece you are finishing.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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