search  current discussion  categories  safety - health 

tung oil (translation time again!)

updated fri 24 oct 97


Russel Fouts on wed 1 oct 97

Kurt, (or anyone for that matter)

>> I have used Tung oil as a post firing application. It does a good job
of sealing and successive coats would produce a watertight cntainer;
however, the smell lingers and it probably would taste peculiar. Do NOT
use a tung oil varnish, this will give you a gloss look and if youonly want
to seal the pot just plain old tung oil is best. Furniture refinishers use
tung oil and Warren MacKenzie told of seeing Japanes
potters dip raku pots into tung oil after firing (this was some years ago).

I remember Tung Oil from when I lived in the states but have not been able
to find it in Belgium. Does anyone know what the product might be called in
French or Dutch. I try to explain that it's from a "chinese tree called the
Tung tree" (at least that's what it used to say in the "blurb" on the back
of the can) but I just get blank stares. Even my favorite "drogueries" (a
word which is mistakenly translated into hardware store by "Robert and
Collins") are stumped and I'm tired of looking at belgian tonsils. ;-)

I suspect that "Tung" is a marketing device and that it's really another
kind of oil (probably cheaper under the original name).

Teak oil works well on my terra-sigilatta(ed) ware but the turpentine they
use as a solvent makes me dizzy and probably isn't doing me any good.

I keep going back to simple olive oil and bee's wax, liquid and paste,
which have less turpentine. But I'm always looking for alternatives.


Russel Fouts
"Mes Potes et Mes Pots"
Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 223 02 75

Partly sunny with the light and colors of Northern Renaisance paintings.

David.Porter@Snoopy.UCIS.Dal.Ca on sat 4 oct 97

I get my Tung oil from Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa,
They sell 100% Tung oil and have the folllowing information in the
'Also known as China wood oil, it is a non-toxic, hard-drying oil that
forms an elastic film resistant to abrasion and moisture. Produces a
transparent but mattte finish. It is a good general-purpose finish and
is approved for food-contact items.'
They also carry polymerised tung oil which contains metallic driers and
is thinned with mineral spirits, which accounts for the smell, and is
not for food-contact.Also gives a high-luster finish.
This from my wood turning background. I am a novice potter, having only
taken one introductory course in Raku. Yet I was immediately captivated
by clay. With only four years to go to retirement I am already working
towards having my own or a shared studio by that time. I have been
lurking here in Clayart for a while and have learned a lot ...great