PURE TUNG OIL ADVANTAGES: 

  • Contains zero VOCs

  • All-natural oil pressed from tung tree seeds

  • Naturally polymerizing finish

  • Cures by oxidation-not evaporation

  • Does not form a glossy finish no matter the number of coats (creates a matte finish)

  • Forms a semi-hard, flexible, waterproof finish

  • Resists abrasion and acids

  • Does not blister and peel when properly applied

  • Does not mold or turn rancid in storage like linseed oil can

  • Cured finish will not bleed or mildew like linseed oil finish can

  • Long shelf life-will last for years if properly sealed

  • Does not darken with time like linseed oil

  • FDA approved for food contact

PROPERTIES AND CHARACTERISTICS:  A pure tung oil finish offers an alkali resistant, waterproof protective barrier. It will not darken with age as other finishes will. It resists marring, penetrates well, is elastic and unlikely to check. Tung oil builds quickly, consolidates the wood surface and builds a transparent matte finish. The cured finish will not mildew or bleed like linseed oil, which makes it an excellent candidate for outdoor finishes. It should be kept in an airtight container with minimum air space. Pure tung oil contains no thinners or driers, has a light nutty odor and creates an all-natural, organic finish that is environmentally and food safe.

FINISHING YOUR HIVE:  All surfaces to be finished should be sanded with 150-grit sandpaper and dusted to remove all loose particles (you can wipe the sanded surfaces with a damp cloth or blow them off with compressed air). For better penetration of the first application, tung oil can be thinned with an equal amount of citrus solvent. Click here and review the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for citrus solvent before you use it. This extra penetration of the finish is beneficial because it makes the finish thicker and hardens the wood, which will help to reduce any damage you may in the future while separating boxes with a hive tool. If you do use it, the thinned oil can be applied quickly by setting up the hive (install the quilt box upside-down to keep from getting the canvas wet with over-spray) and using an inexpensive spray bottle to evenly apply the mixture to all surfaces, nooks and crannies.

All exterior surfaces can be finished (including the landing board), as well as the top and bottom edges of hive bodies, floors etc.. DO NOT apply finish to the inside of the hive or to any part of the quilt box. The first coat should be a liberal one, but don’t apply so much that puddles are created anywhere. If not using a citrus solvent/oil mixture as described above, simply apply the oil to individual hive components with a natural bristle or sponge brush. Allow this first application to be absorbed by the wood for an hour before buffing the surface with a clean cotton cloth (something with low lint, like an old T-shirt). Frequently check for any seepage of oil during the next 2 hours, and buff off any of that you see. Wait at least 24 hours before applying another coat. Pure tung oil (unthinned) should be used for all coats after the first one, and any standing oil should be wiped away within 30 minutes. Ideally, apply 4 coats, allowing at least 24 hours in between applications. Pure tung oil requires 7 to 10 days for a minimum cure and 15 to 30 days for a full cure.

Caution: If you use citrus solvent, good ventilation must be maintained until the solvent vapors have adequately evaporated. Any and all rags that are wet with citrus solvent and tung oil must be hung outside to dry before being disposed of.

TEMPERATURE:  Pure tung oil should remain above freezing during and after application for a period of 10 to 15 days. If freezing temperatures do occur, it’s possible for the fat in the oil to separate and deposit on the wood surface. The warmer the temperature, the faster the oil will cure, but direct sunlight baking a surface after a fresh application can quickly polymerize the oil and result in a dry, rubbery, frosted appearance and/or a distinctly more glossy finish than the surrounding area, so avoid exposing oiled surfaces to sunlight until the final coats have cured for at least 24 hours.

STORING MATERIAL:  Pure tung oil should be stored in moderate temperatures. Do not freeze and do not store in hot places like attics. Don’t store citrus solvent or a mixture of tung oil and citrus solvent in anything other than the original, white citrus solvent container. These are treated to hold the solvent for optimum storage.