5 Tips for Applying Tung Oil to Your Butcher Block

There are several reasons people love tung oil for a wide array of projects. One of the most common reasons is because it’s durable, flexible, food safe and productive finish that won’t go rancid, darken or support mold growth. On a more practical note, tung oil also dries much faster than other types of oils, which makes it much faster to apply. Due to all the benefits listed here, there’s no question that it would make a great coating for your butcher block. Remember, purchasing a quality brand of tung oil, such as what’s offered by Real Milk Paint, can help you achieve the best possible results. Here you can learn more about applying tung oil to your butcher block and a few tips that will ensure you achieve the desired results. If you are looking for a a butcher block that contains a food safe wood finish, this article is very informative!


  1. Carefully Clean Your Butcher Block

If you want to ensure the tung oil is applied properly, you need to begin with a surface that’s properly prepared and completely clean. Before getting started (especially if you have used the butcher block before) make sure there aren’t any contaminants on the surface, such as oil, grease, or old food particles.

Keep in mind, tung oil is only able to be placed over a bare surface or another tung oil coating. Once you have cleaned your butcher block well, consider cleaning it with trisodium phosphate.

  1. Prepare Your Tung Oil

Now that you have your butcher block prepared, it’s time to get the actual oil ready for application. At this point, you need to thin the oil significantly. The only time that you don’t need to thin out the oil is if you are applying it to concrete or weathered wood, or some other type of significantly absorbent surface.

  1. Apply the Initial Layer

You can use a lint-free, soft rag, sponge brush or natural bristle brush to apply the first layer of tung oil. Be sure to apply the oil liberally to the surface.

Unlike typical varnish, which is something that sits on top of the wood, the purpose of tung oil is to saturate all the wood cells. After you have applied the initial coat, you need to give the oil time to absorb into your butcher block.

  1. Apply Your Additional Coats

After the initial coat of oil has absorbed into your block, you can apply a second coat of the tung oil. Keep doing this until approximately 80 percent of the entire surface remains glossy for a minimum of 40 minutes.

Because a butcher block is considered a “functional surface” that is going to be used regularly, it will likely need a minimum of three to five coats.

  1. Wait to Apply More

If you have reached a point where your butcher block is unable to absorb more of the oil, then wipe it down with a clean rag. If you notice any oil puddles make sure to wipe them up.

You will then need to wait about 24-hours for the oil to completely soak into the butcher block surface. In some cases, it may take up to 48 hours. After you have waited a sufficient amount of time, apply a few more coats.

Tung oil is a smart investment and it provides many benefits. If you want to protect your butcher block and ensure it remains mold free, then you should consider this oil application.

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