Another round of wood finish tests

OK, lets finish up the second group of test subjects. It took a while to get these results versus the others for a few reasons. 1) the cure time on Walrus Oil was 4 whole weeks, which was much longer than the others and 2) I was working with Waterlox to understand which finishes would be best for furniture use so I made sure I was testing the most applicable products.

For details on the testing process, take a look at my original post here.

For the summary PDF for each finish tested, look here.

Walrus Oil Cabin Walls and Floors Finish:

Walrus oil is a zero VOC, buff-in oil that is made with 100% food grade products. It is applied with a white applicator pad or cotton cloth, buffed in, buffed off, and repeated (they recommend two applications).

The appearance was pretty good. I gave it a 4/5 stars in its category. It wasn’t quite as deep as some of the others, and it drew out a little more blotching in the cherry. The cure time (4 weeks) is rough. It’s hard to make a piece of furniture and keep people/objects off of it for that long.

The full report is here, but here’s a photo:

As you can see, there is some evidence of water spotting and wine spotting. Admittedly, it’s very minimal, especially when compared to most of the other “all natural” products. I am not prepared to give it a recommendation in all applications, but I think it would be appropriate in all applications except those where exposure to sustained moisture is possible (such as a table top).

It outperformed my expectations, and it is really quite impressive considering you can basically drink the stuff (don’t do that though).

Waterlox TrueTone Buff-in Tung Oil:

This is a newer product from Waterlox, though the company has been around for over 100 years. They made their name in Tung Oil, and it makes sense that this formula would also be tung oil based.

While it does have some VOCs, it is considered low VOC compliant. It smells quite pleasant, with no hint of any solvents except for maybe a citrus solvent.

Waterlox has a VERY detailed guide for how to apply their product on their website, so I won’t belabor that aspect. I followed the application manual to the book.

I am very pleased with the overall results. The color and appearance were really nice; it had more depth and color than most of the other buff-in products, and a much more attractive sheen I thought. Little to no blotching was visible.

Neither water nor wine left a visible spot on the finish after 8 hours of exposure, though I should not that there was a slight grain raise that could be felt after the water and wine were wiped off. Though technically that indicates some penetration of the finish, the fact that there wasn’t any staining or degradation of the finish lead me to believe that could very easily be repaired with a simple wipe-on of more finish.

I recommend Waterlox TrueTone in all applications.

Waterlox Original Tung Oil Sealer, Low VOC formula:

As I mentioned above, Waterlox has been making their Original Tung Oil Sealer/Finish for well over a decade. This particular formula is their low VOC formulation which uses the same resins but a different solvent to be compliant with states who have VOC restrictions.

Again, the application guide on their website is very thorough. I will say application was very easy, though the sealer smelled terrible. The finish smelled fine.

The finish showed absolutely no sign of staining, grain raising, or finish degradation from the 8 hour test. Honestly, I am not terribly surprised; among the older woodworkers I know, many swear they have been using Waterlox for decades with outstanding results.

I have heard some people say that the Original, non-VOC Compliant formula is even nicer in terms of application, but I cannot speak to that personally.

I recommend Waterlox Original Tung Oil sealer in all furniture applications.

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