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  • woodworks

    i have found myself watching WOODWORKS on DIY. David Marks is an impressive woodworker to watch and i have learned alot from watching him. a few questions i have for you folks, his finish of choice appears to be Tung Oil or a Tung Oil/Polyurethane blend. anyone have any experience with this? how do you like it? pros/cons? is tung oil a good choice for exterior pieces? it does seem to provide a beautiful finish


  • #2

    I have no clue but have been addicted to Wood Works for over a year now. I am amazed by what he can make. I noticed he also uses Dicrhromium??? something. Does anyone know what that is? Has anybody had any experience with that? On one show he fumed?? a piece with some kind of ammonia. Anyone have info on that? As for the tung oil and poly, what ratio would one use?

    BTW, David Marks occasionally teaches classes at a woodworking school south of Indianapolis.



    • #3
      I love tung oil, do not really know about outside.
      I start with tung oil then go to a blend of poly/tung oil if it needs protection fron wear.
      Tung oil give depth to the wood. I made a walnt chest with 1/2" inlay, finished with 5 coats of tung oil. Looks great. I also use tung oil and poly 1/2 and 1/2.


      • #4
        I watch WoodWorks regularly too. He's does beautiful work. I wondered why he used a Tung Oil finish on every project. Someone asked him that question and posted his response on another forum; Marks said that he uses General Finishes Seal-a-Cell and Arm-R-Seal.


        • #5
          Fuming works well to instantly age some woods like cherry. This is very effective but you better be working in a WELL ventilated area as it is very toxic and you could find yourself on the floor unconscious before you know what happened. I like the old fashioned way - waiting until it ages on its own.
          The combination of tung oil and varnish could work outside but you would need to revisit the piece with further treatment annually to keep it looking good.


          • #6
            I enjoy watching woodworks on saturday morning on HGTV.
            Andy B.


            • #7
              As to fuming----your really need industrial strength ammonia, which, as was said, can really put you on your ear-----have read many articles where people have developed finishs, similar in appearance, but much safer.

              I also like his mix of finishes. Sam Moluff (sp), has a similar mix for his furniture. Wood Magizine featured this in an issue or two ago.


              • #8
                I have used tung oil finishes on mahogany pieces. It very easy to apply and gives a lot of depth the finish without affecting the color of the wood. I don't know about exterior applications.


                • #9
                  I wrote Mr Marks an e-mail and asked about the finish. Attached is the reply. I have tried these products and they seem to work very well.

                  Thank your for watching WoodWorks. I'm delighted to know that you like the
                  show. Here is my response to your question about the oil finish. I have
                  tried various methods of mixing linseed oil and tung oil in the past, but
                  since the mid 80's I've been using a product called Seal-A-Cell and
                  Arm-R-Seal made by the General Finishes Company and available through mail
                  order as well as from Wood Craft Supply. This finish comes in two cans as a
                  sealer and topcoat. The information I have is that the sealer (which is
                  clear but also available in different colored stains) is a blend of linseed
                  oil, tung oil, and dryers. The topcoat I use is called Arm-R-Seal made by
                  the same company, and is a blend of tung oil, urethane, dryers, etc. The
                  Arm-R-Seal is available in gloss, semi gloss, and satin. A high quality
                  finish starts with good surface preparation. This means thoroughly sanding
                  the surface with 220 grit sandpaper or higher. I usually sand to 320 grit
                  to bring out the clarity of the grain. Because of the time limitations of
                  the show, we generally don't demonstrate much sanding. After removing the
                  dust (I use compressed air, if you don't have compressed air, a vacuum
                  cleaner and tack rags work well), I apply the first coat of sealer liberally
                  to the surface allowing it to soak in for a few minutes and then use some
                  soft rags and buff off all of the excess. This is important otherwise you
                  will have resins that get sticky and leave an uneven surface. I let this
                  coat dry overnight preferably at 70 degrees or warmer. A cold and damp
                  environment can cause a finish to lack clarity and delay drying time. The
                  next day I thoroughly buff the entire surface (including the backs and
                  bottoms of furniture which I finish to balance the piece and maintain
                  equilibrium with 4 OT (0000) steel wool. This is the finest grade and I
                  find that it really smoothes the surface. After removing the steel wool
                  dust, I apply the first coat of Arm-R-Seal gloss. As a rule I always build
                  the finish with coats of gloss whether it is oil, lacquer, urethane, etc.
                  Then, if I want a semi gloss or satin sheen, I'll use that for the last 1 or
                  2 coats. Keep in mind that the Arm-R-Seal dries faster so I usually just
                  work smaller areas up to 12 square inches and overlap the finish. Again, I
                  brush it on, let it soak in for a minute and rub the surface dry with a
                  clear cloth. Let it dry and repeat the process. I find that a total
                  (including the sealer coat) of 4 or 5 coats usually creates a nice smooth
                  finish that protects the wood while bringing out the beauty and depth of the
                  grain patterns.

                  As you know, it is difficult to get new shows on the air. If you would
                  like to help keep WoodWorks on DIY, I would appreciate it if you could let
                  the network know. You can send your remarks to If
                  they hear from fans like you, it will help us keep the show on the air.

                  Thank you again for your interest and support. I look forward to hearing
                  from you in the future if you have questions or suggestions. I wish you all
                  the best in your woodworking endeavors.


                  David J. Marks


                  • #10
                    I noticed he also uses Dicrhromium??? something

                    Grrrrrr...... Please tell me it wasn't Potassium Dichromate, also known as Dichromic Acid, Dipotassium Salt, or Dipotassium Dichromate?

                    I occasionally teach a class in wood coloring. I'm very prejudiced against chemical coloring, for several reasons.

                    One major is toxicity. And Potassium Dichromate, is about as toxic as you can buy without a license. A material safety data sheet for the chemical:

                    <quote - fair use>
                    J.T. Baker SAF-T-DATA(tm) Ratings (Provided here for your convenience)
                    Health Rating: 4 - Extreme (Cancer Causing)
                    Flammability Rating: 0 - None
                    Reactivity Rating: 3 - Severe (Oxidizer)
                    Contact Rating: 3 - Severe (Life)
                    Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES
                    Storage Color Code: Yellow (Reactive)
                    <end quote>

                    Beauty, huh? People occasionally recommend this stuff, no mention of the little things like "known carcinogen", "contact may kill", etc.

                    Sorry, I'm moving into a rant. Listed my prejudice earlier. There is one use for this stuff that isn't easily duplicated by reasonably safe products, that is coloring mahogany that has a holly inlay, without coloring the holly. And, there are ways to work around that one too...

                    (daveferg, compared to this lovely, industrial ammonia is Kool-Aid, huh?)


                    • #11
                      Like the saying goes, If it doesn't have a skull and crossbones on the label, it won't work.

                      It is nice to know that the finish that he keeps in his clear glass jar is something we all can go out and buy. I've used GF finishes on some outdoor stuff and seem to like it so far, although I'm trying out some stuff called Penofin.

                      I'll have to send an e-mail to the addy listed so I don't have to sit through another cooking or gardening show.