All About Natural Wood Finishes

If you love the look of natural wooden furniture and support its sustainable mission, you’ll want to see it maintain its healthy glow over the years.  Your furniture comes delivered already in a coat of natural oil — but what is a natural oil?  And how can you use it to preserve the unique qualities of your new decor?

While other types of wooden furniture may be coated in synthetic varnishes to preserve the wood and prevent it from greying or becoming dull over time, our products are sealed in teak or tung oil.  The difference is that synthetic finishes are liable to chip and wear down, exposing the household and its occupants to potentially hazardous materials, since hazardous materials go into the making of these sealants.  Natural sealants also wear down over time, but, since they are plant-based, exposure to teak or tung oil does not pose a threat to anyone’s health.

Tung oil is derived from nut of the tung tree, pictured right, which is native to southern China, but now is grown elsewhere as well.  It dries to give wood a honey-colored tint with a wetted, glowing look when applied slowly in thin coats.  To touch up furniture with tung oil, simply apply with a thin cloth — being careful not to saturate the wood — allow to dry, and reapply.  Tung is a “drying oil,” meaning that it hardens as it’s exposed to air, so it’s important to allow your furniture to fully soak up the oil before putting it back in its place.

Teak oil, on the other hand, isn’t made from the teak tree.  It’s a combination of natural linseed, rosewood, or tung oils — named as such just because it’s so commonly used on teak wood.  The application process is similar to tung oil.  It can be applied over the surface with a brush or thin rag, and any excess oil can simply be dabbed off with a clean section of cloth.  Oiling teak wood won’t increase its durability — teak is notoriously durable — but it will help promote a golden glow, pictured below right.

Teak oil differs slightly from tung oil because it won’t form a layer on top of the wood, instead soaking into the grain to protect it from becoming dull.  It’s a good choice for both teak wood and eucalyptus, while tung oil can be used on monkey pod and mango woods.  Both options are simple ways to keep your eco-friendly decor looking as lovely as the day it arrived on your doorstep!

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