Jump to content

- - - - -

Tung Oil Or Bees Wax

Tung oil work table work table surfaces work table finish beeswax

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Chadelhardt



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:35 PM

My work table tops are on there last leg so I thought it might be a good time to get rid of the canvas. I have 1/3 in plywood sanded smooth and was trying to come up with a surface treatment that might keep the clay from sticking. My idea was to try tung oil. A guy at the hardware store thought bees wax might do a better job for repelling the clay but did not know anyone who tried it. 


I have done a few searches and haven't found anyone who tried either of these. Just wondering if anyone here had tried either of these and how it worked out?




#2 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,119 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:57 PM

Bees wax and mineral oil is great for butcher blocks-I suggest that over tung oil

Mark Cortright

#3 neilestrick


    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,904 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:29 PM

I use boiled linseed oil on my MDF studio table tops.

Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC

[email protected]

#4 RonSa


    Still learning

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 359 posts
  • LocationNortheast Pa

Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:43 PM

There's tung oil and there's tung oil.


Real tung oil takes months to cure and was used by the Chinese for centuries to waterproof their boats (junks).


Then there is 'tung oil finish' that is commonly seen on the shelf of many big box hardware stores. Sadly this stuff usually contains less than 5% tung oil. It looks pretty, dries fast but it is not a durable finish. Save your money.


There is an outstanding product that I've been using for close to 2 decades that will seal and waterproof any wood and is extremely durable. Its called Waterlox Finish and Sealer (red can). Downside is if you don't know how to store it properly it will gel in a few days once you open the can (let me know if you want to learn how to store it).




In your case I would suggest you purchase a good spar vanish (the better ones cost a bit more). This type of finish is commonly used for outdoor furniture and boats (Marine Spar Varnish). Its easy to apply and won't gel for a good while if the lid is properly closed. You could even squirt some inert gas into the can before closing the lid and the finish may last a couple of years. Spar varnish should hold up to the abrasive qualities of clay.


IMO bees wax and mineral oil is the worst possible finish to use (I'm biting my tongue before I say more)


#5 yappystudent


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 42 posts
  • LocationIdaho

Posted 16 March 2017 - 05:07 PM

I use a worktable that came with 1" masonite top. I don't use anything on it, not even canvas, and it seems to work really great with the clay, although I do worry about it wearing unevenly over time. The light dusting of clay left behind after I sponge it clean seems to be just enough to keep the clay from sticking with the next work session, unless it's a really sloppy wet slab I've pounded into it. I can usually still lift slabs and flip them over pretty easily after rolling without any wax or fabric. I love it. My suggestion is buy a slab of this stuff to cover your worktable.

BTW masonite if you're not familiar is a sort of pressboard made from finely ground wood and resin, and that's just what it looks like. Some ppl think it's acrylic countertop material, it's not.

I never make mistakes, but I often successfully determine what doesn't work.

#6 bciskepottery


    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • 2,679 posts
  • LocationNorthern Virginia

Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:41 PM

My plywood wedging table tops are unfinished.  Sponged down at end of day.  I also use unfinished plywood for ware boards. 

#7 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,119 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 16 March 2017 - 08:11 PM

I too haver untreated wood tops in a few places. No treatment needed. Clay does not stick

Mark Cortright

#8 oldlady


    single firing an electric kiln to cone 6

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,310 posts
  • Locationharpers ferry west va and pinellas park fl

Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:50 PM

vote #3 for no treatment.  plain plywood.  but, if you have access to a piece of housewrap, TYVEK is one brand name, cover it and you will be happy.  it washes off with a damp/wet sponge and clay does not stick.  don't cut on it with a needle tool, though.

"putting you down does not raise me up."

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users