Teak Oil vs Tung Oil vs Danish Oil – Which To Use?

If you purchase a product through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

If you have wooden furniture that you wish to treat with oil, chances are you’ve heard of three popular oils to choose from. There is Teak oil, Tung oil, and Danish oil.

Tung, Teak and Danish oils are three of the most common wood finishes used. All three oils have benefits that can help preserve the wood. The choice between these oils will depend on the surface, type of wood and the application process.  Tung oil is made from the nuts of Tung trees while Teak and Danish are blends of varnish, linseed oil, and mineral spirits.

If you have furniture made from teak wood it is only natural to assume that Teak oil would be the best choice to treat it, correct? However, it is not as simple as one would think. It is always best to do proper research on a subject matter before making a decision. This is where this article comes in as a guide for this common woodworking question: which oil should I use to treat my wooden furniture?

Now then, let us take a closer look at each of the three popular oils, determine their advantages and disadvantages as well as a quick guideline on how to use each oil properly.

Teak Oil vs Tung Oil vs Danish Oil

Teak Oil

Star brite 085116PW Premium Teak Oil 16 oz
Star Brite Premium Teak Oil (Image: Amazon)

The standard composition of teak oil normally incorporates varnish with mineral spirits and linseed oil. There are occasions wherein teak oil also utilizes a minute amount of Tung oil into its composition. Teak oil is used for both interior and exterior wooden surfaces. It brings out the beauty of wood and also acts as a protective coating due to its UV ray resistance and its ability to prevent water stains.

If you’ll looking to buy Teak Oil, check out Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil.

It is also advisable to coat a fresh layer of teak oil at least once every year to maintain its protective qualities.

Teak Oil Pros:

  • It can be easily applied on wooden surfaces using either a brush or a piece of clean cloth.
  • Good choice for both interior and exterior wooden surfaces.
  • Ideal for treating thick wood.
  • It does not splinter over time.
  • It can protect wooden surfaces from UV rays and prevent water stains from forming.

Teak Oil Cons:

  • It can make gluing together wood difficult.
  • There is a chance that it can affect the wood’s color.
  • It is not an ideal choice for certain types of wood.

How to Apply Teak Oil

  1. As is always the case, it is important to make sure that the surface you will be treated is free of any dust and debris.
  2. Before applying teak oil, you have to make sure to remove any existing finish from the surface. You can use chemical solvents or strippers for this. Sand the surface afterward.
  3. Take a brush or piece of cloth and apply the finish generously over the wooden surface. Let it soak and make sure that you wipe it with parallel strokes.
  4. Leave it for about 30 minutes before applying the second coating. Apply the same strokes. Let the treatment dry for about 15 minutes and wipe the surface using a piece of cloth. Leave it for about 10 hours.

Tung Oil

Hope's 100% Pure Tung Oil, Moisture Resistant Wood Finish for All Fine Woods, Furniture and Antiques,32 Ounce Bottle
Hope’s 100% Pure Tung Oil (Image: Amazon)

Tung oil is derived from the nuts of Tung trees that are native to China. It leaves a coating on the wooden surface akin to a plastic shell. It produces a nice shiny film on the surface with a golden tint. It is one of the most popular finishes for wood as it gives surfaces a natural sheen to them.

This Hope’s 100% Tung Oil is a good choice if you are looking for a quality Tung oil product.

In China, Tung oil is often used for treating wooden boats. You can find two types of Tung oil in the market: polymerized and modified. As Tung oil is a non-toxic finish, it is also ideal for use on surfaces where food will be placed such as kitchen tables and dining tables.

Tung Oil Pros:

  • Tung oil is quite easy to apply when compared to other wood treatment oils.
  • It is non-toxic.
  • It is also quite flexible and will expand and contract along with the wood.
  • As this is widely used to treat wooden boats it is also water-resistant.

Tung Oil Cons:

  • It does not have a good shelf life.
  • Pure Tung oil may have trouble permeating wood surfaces.
  • The drying period is longer.

How to Apply Tung Oil

  1. As always, make sure that the surface is free of any dirt or debris.
  2. Keep in mind that Tung oil cannot be applied over a different kind of finish. It should only be applied to surfaces that were treated with Tung oil as well.
  3. Sand the wooden surface properly before beginning treatment.
  4. Use a lint-free cloth to apply Tung oil. Use only a small amount and make sure to avoid rubbing the oil over the wood too hard.
  5. Leave it for about an hour then wipe the excess oil and let it dry for an additional 24 hours. Take note that Tung oil can usually take for as long as weeks to fully dry.
  6. You can apply additional coating if you find that the oil is still penetrating the surface.

Danish Oil

Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Low VOC, Pint, Natural
Watco Danish Oil Wood Finish (Image: Amazon)

Danish oil is rather similar to teak oil in that it is usually composed of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and varnish. This composition makes it easy to use and is also quite durable. Danish oil can help protect wooden surfaces from heat damage, chemical damage, stains, and scratches. Danish oil is a good choice for untreated wood and will leave it with a shiny finish and this Watco Danish Oil might be a good choice for you to include in your shortlist.

Danish Oil Pros:

Dries quickly.

  • Water, heat, and chemical resistance when properly applied.
  • Compatible with varnish or paint.
  • Does not change the color of the wooden surface over time.
  • It can be used with tints.
  • Easy application and restoration process.

Danish Oil Cons:

  • Not as durable.
  • Needs to be maintained more often than other oil treatments.
  • Not a good choice for surfaces that are used for cutting.
  • Is only applicable on bare wood.

How to Apply Danish Oil

  1. Danish oil is an ideal treatment finish to be used by beginners as it does not require any special methods.
  2. The application is simple as all you need to do is brush or wipe it over the bare wooden surface. Make sure you apply the oil in the direction of the grain.
  3. Leave it to dry for about 10 minutes before applying the second coating until you get a nice and even sheen.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there really isn’t a clear-cut victory as to which treatment oil is the best. It all falls on different factors. If you have a bare wood that you wish to apply a finish but you are not exactly confident in doing so, the Danish oil is great beginner’s choice. Tung oil is also quite easy to apply and is non-toxic which makes it a good option for kitchen and dining tables. Teak oil, on the other hand, is a safe option for treating wood surfaces located in both interior and exterior.