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Waterlox is No longer Tung Oil, Even If It’s Made with Tung Oil

A can of Waterlox.

We need to have a commonplace language or we will be able to’t keep up a correspondence. As I’ve written earlier than, producers of completing merchandise, particularly the ones concentrated on amateurs and small-shop execs, are infamous for his or her mislabeling (to make use of a pleasing phrase). Even though the issue of bewilderment in completing starts with the producers, woodworking magazines and people who train or write about completing will have to no longer be let off the hook. They will have to be held accountable if they’re contributing to the confusion.

Lately, I got here throughout a video on Youtube of a furnishings restorer repairing a Danish Hans Wegner chair from the 1960s. The restore was once a particularly tricky one and I assumed the restorer did a just right task. However close to the top of the video he applies a end to the hands of the chair and identifies it as tung oil. However the image at minute 11:47 presentations obviously that he’s the usage of Waterlox. And Waterlox is varnish, particularly a phenolic resin/tung oil varnish.

Maximum varnishes are made with alkyd resins and soybean oil, so Waterlox is other. Nevertheless it makes not more sense to name it tung oil as it’s made with tung oil than it might be to name bread “yeast” as it’s made with yeast or an plane “wings” as it has wings.

This can be a puddle of Waterlox, dried exhausting on glass.


This can be a puddle of tung oil, dried cushy and wrinkled on glass.

No longer being correct in the usage of language, even if it’s the producer this is accountable for the misidentification, can, and regularly does, lead others to make use of a end that doesn’t produce the similar effects. I’ve two ideas about this.

First, a few years in the past I used to be repairing a Danish teak chair and I had to make a brand new phase. I made it from teak, and as it was once “commonplace wisdom” that this sort of furnishings was once completed with “teak oil” I dutifully used teak oil. (I wrote about teak oil within the Feb., 2015 factor of Standard Woodworking, #216, and I extremely suggest you learn this text to know the way producers have completely at a loss for words this end.) Nevertheless it didn’t glance proper. It was once a lot too flat and too darkish. In fact, this was once since the Danes didn’t use teak oil. They used catalyzed lacquer.

2d, Waterlox has lengthy been regarded as tung oil. It is because the landlord of the corporate has informed other folks from a minimum of as way back as 1982 that Waterlox was once tung oil. He informed me the similar within the a number of conversations I had with him. However on two separate calls to the corporate I controlled to speak to the technicians who made the end and each technicians (known as “chemists”) showed what I had already decided, that Waterlox was once certainly varnish.

The irony of the video was once that the restorer was once in truth the usage of a end (one that might dry exhausting, so it may well be constructed into a movie with thickness) that was once nearer to what had in truth been used at the chair at the beginning!

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