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Ok, I am pretty new to woodworking. I treated some poplar with half tung oil, half citric oil (for thinning the tung oil and facilitating absorption). I waited 24-48 hours and then I applied All Natural Soapstone Sealer and Wood Wax (made from walnut oil and carnauba wax). I didn't know that I needed to wait at least a week before applying wax....

So, I have been advised that I should scrape the wax off, use mineral spirits (the kind with no water added) to get the excess wax off, reapply the tung oil/ citric oil mixture, and wait....

I have been procrastinating. I am noticing that the wood is feeling drier now.

Would it dry and cure if I just left it? Will I be making a big mistake if I just leave it?

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  • Yes. . . . . . . . . . . I so wish I could Answer with just that :-)
    – Graphus
    Dec 14 '20 at 23:36
  • BTW, thinning oil does not aid penetration that you'd notice, except possibly on end grain where it doesn't matter.
    – Graphus
    Dec 14 '20 at 23:37
  • Do you mean, yes I can just leave it and it will eventually dry out?
    – Sarah
    Dec 15 '20 at 2:13
  • Thank you for the quick answer!
    – Sarah
    Dec 15 '20 at 2:14
  • (I'm not sure I am understanding however...)
    – Sarah
    Dec 15 '20 at 2:16
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Tung oil will cure perfectly well under a buffed-out layer of any wax polish. Wax finishes are very thin as normally applied and full of microscopic pinholes, making them extremely permeable, so the oxygen necessary for curing has no difficulty in getting through (just as water can).

And I'll let you in on a dirty secret of wood finishing, nobody who uses wax as the final stage in their finishing regime actually waits for their oil-based finish to cure because nobody is waiting a month or more for the wax to go on :-) So in fact it's perfectly normal to apply wax on top of only partially dried oil finishes.


You didn't ask about this but I wanted to address it:

half citric oil (for thinning the tung oil and facilitating absorption)

For future reference thinning oils with a solvent doesn't do much or anything to aid penetration, except possible on end grain where it doesn't matter because penetration into end grain is already deeper than required.

Note on citrus solvents: while these are, at least in part, genuinely made from citrus peel the product isn't nearly as green or safe as it's made out to be. So personally I don't use that citric solvent anyway for the same reason I don't use genuine turpentine; the toxicity of d-Limonene and turpentine are pretty similar.

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