Why Tung Oil finish?

Why we use Tung Oil finish

All Solid Custom Heirlooms furniture is finished with Tung Oil, a natural penetrating finish oil that comes from the fruit of the Tung Tree. Tung Oil provides a matte moisture-resistant finish on wood surfaces. Unlike shellac, varnish or polyurethane, it remains flexible when fully cured and isn’t prone to cracking caused by seasonal changes.

walnut wood with Tung Oil finish
American Walnut finished with Tung Oil
    • Tung Oil creates a beautiful, smooth wood surface that brings out the natural color and grain of our American hardwoods
    • Tung Oil penetrates the wood to provide long term protection
    • Tung Oil finish can be easily repaired over time
    • Tung Oil does not darken or yellow over time
    • Tung Oil is low VOC and environmentally friendly

What is Tung Oil?

According to the Real Milk Paint Company, Tung Oil comes from the cold pressing of the seeds or nuts of the Tung tree, which mainly grows in the mountainous regions of China away from industrialization and pollution. Climate, soil, and air quality are essential for high-quality oil. Real Milk Paint Tung Oil is 100% Pure Chinese Tung, which is also known as China wood oil and is an all-natural finish manufactured by pressing the Tung nut. Chinese Tung is available in 3 grades, we only use the best available, Grade 1 yellow. This high quality offers superior color, faster drying, and a long-term elastic finish. Elasticity is an important factor as it must continue to flex with the expansion and contraction of the substrate on which it is applied.

why tung oil finish?
American Cherry headboard finished with Tung Oil

The best Tung Oil

10 drawer double dresser
Walnut dresser with Tung Oil finish

All Solid Custom Heirlooms furniture features pure Tung Oil from the Real Milk Paint Company. For proper application, we thin the pure oil with either Real Milk Paint Odorless Mineral Spirits  or Real Milk Paint Natural Citrus Solvent. The solvent temporarily makes the oil more liquid and allows it to penetrate deeply into our dense American hardwood. Both solvents evaporate over time and are very low in odor. We offer both options to so that the customer can chose what is best for them. Contact us to discuss in more detail.

We think Tung Oil is the perfect finish for our platform beds.

Tung Oil vs. Polyurethane

What is better, Polyurethane or Tung Oil? Poly and Tung Oil are two very different types of finishes, each providing its own benefits.

Polyurethane is a plastic product and does not penetrate the grain of the wood when applied. Polyurethane sits on top of the finished wood surface and dries very hard. Polyurethane is most often used for a gloss finish but is also offered in semi-gloss and matte finishes. Because it is so hard, Polyurethane is excellent for high traffic surfaces such as hardwood flooring, desks and tabletops. However, if damaged Polyurethane is difficult and time intensive to repair.


why tung oil finsh?
Walnut platfomr bed with Tung Oil finish

Polyurethane is a petroleum based plastic product and can produce strong fumes during application and curing and continue to off-gas over time. Tung Oil is made from the nut of the Tung Tree and is known to be low VOC and has little to no off gas over time.

Tung Oil is a natural product that penetrates the pores and grain of the wood and stays elastic over time. Tung Oil creates a smooth, matte finish that brings out the natural grain and color of hardwood. Tung Oil is easy to repair if scratches or other accidents happen.

Tung Oil vs. Danish Oil

What is Danish Oil? Danish Oil is not pure oil, rather it is a trade name for a blended formulation of ingredients that could include, but are not limited to, Tung Oil, Linseed Oil, various drying agents and thinners, and in many cases resins or varnish. Because it is not a pure oil, every manufacturer has a different formulation of ingredients in their Danish oil which can contribute to the final finished look. Depending on what is in the formula, Danish Oil may be higher in VOCs than pure Tung or Linseed Oil. Consumers are encouraged to read the labels carefully to understand the formulation in question.

Pure Tung Oil is a natural product that penetrates the pores and grain of the wood and stays elastic over time. Tung Oil creates a smooth, matte finish that brings out the natural grain and color of hardwood. Tung Oil is easy to repair if scratches or other accidents happen.

Tung oil vs. Linseed Oil

According to Real Milk Paint, Tung and Linseed oil are both popular for a number of reasons, including that they’re both environmentally friendly (raw linseed oil, aka flaxseed oil, anyway), plant-based finishes and contain no VOCs. Tung oil offers a number of advantages over Linseed oil, including a food-safe, water-resistant finish that’s not prone to mold and a beautiful matte amber color that doesn’t darken over time.

Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is a different product from pure Linseed Oil.  Boiled Linseed Oil is is a trade name for a mixture of Linseed Oil and other solvents, agents and resins often including metal compounds. BLO is also prone to yellowing with age and can go rancid or even lead to mildew.

At Solid Custom Heirlooms we only offer Tung Oil because we believe it to be the best looking, most durable and natural finish available.

What is the best finish over Tung Oil?

Tung Oil naturally seals and protects wood and dries to a matte finish. No additional finish is required.

If you would like to add a higher gloss finish to your furniture, A high quality furniture wax can be applied to the oiled surface. Application of the wax is generally accomplished with a clean cloth to apply and another cloth to buff. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

There are many good furniture waxes available. Some can produce a high gloss and others satin and others a matte finish. In choosing the wax be sure to look for one that produces the amount of gloss that you want. Here are links to some of the many options available:

SC Johnson Paste Wax

Minwax Paste Finishing Wax

Briwax Natural Wax

Real Milk Paint Wax offers a variety of options

Can Tung Oil be used on Pine?

Tung Oil can be used on any wood. All types of Pine and other softwoods take the oil well and will have a deeper color and smoother finish when the application is complete. Pine is very porous and will accept a surprising amount of oil!

Does Tung Oil waterproof wood?

Tung Oil is an effective waterproof coating for wood surfaces, protecting wood from water drops and splashes. Because oil penetrates the surface, it also can help prevent cracks from forming in the wood over time. If you plan to use Tung Oil on wood in an outdoor environment, make sure to look for a product that is designed for this purpose as they often include extra additives specifically designed to protect from water and UV damage.

Finishing Up!

We think Tung Oil is the perfect finish for our solid hardwood beds, dressers and nightstands. If you would like to order a sample of our wood finished with Tung Oil, please head over to our wood samples page where you can order 2 wood samples, each finished on both sides with a different stain – or left natural.



wood samples