How to Remove Tung Oil Finish

Tung oil comes from the oil pressed from nuts of a tung tree. As a varnish, it is natural and nontoxic and penetrates into wood to give it a water-resilient finish. The only problem with tung oil is that once it is applied it can be difficult to remove. If you have worked with tung oil and now want to remove it from a piece of wood, be prepared to spend some time getting a clean result.

Before Oil Is Cured

Step 1

Wipe undiluted turpentine over the surface of the wood using a clean rag. Cover floors with a dropcloth to protect them from turpentine spills and drips.

Step 2

Sand the wood's surface with #0000 steel wool. The tung oil will ball up and stick to the steel wool. Have a lot of steel wool pads available, and replace them often.

Step 3

Wipe off the tung oil with a clean rag. Have plenty of rags ready, and replace them often. Repeat sanding with the steel wool and wiping with a rag until all tung oil is removed.

After Oil Is Cured

Step 1

Sand the wood's surface with a light-grain sandpaper.

Step 2

Wipe the surface of the wood using a clean rag. Wipe down the wood often to remove dust created while sanding away the tung oil.

Step 3

Sand down to the wood. Alternate sanding and wiping with a clean rag. You will have to sand all the way down to the wood to remove all of the tung oil.