White Flecks in the Pores Under Tung Oil

      Filling the pores before finishing is a good preventative; tinted wax can be a workable fix. January 18, 2011

I have a tung oil finish on claro walnut that is around 6 months old and is showing some white flecks in the pores that do not go away with reapplication of the tung oil. What is this and how can I get it to go away?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
I often fill the pores on walnut to keep this from happening. Dust gets in the pores, which results in light pores on dark wood. In that case, you can use a tinted wax to fill the pores.

If it isn't dust, maybe it's poorly dried (too thick) tung oil. I would still try the tinted wax, since more oil doesn't fix the issue. I use Liberon Black Bison, though there are other brands.

I like to fill the pores with Rockler's Wunderfil. Louis and Co has a great waterbased filler too, but it smells like an electrical fire (though it's supposed to be non-toxic). Many of the oil based ones have resin in them, which may not work so well under an oil finish.
If this was a tabletop, it could be that oil built up in the pores and couldn't leak out. You may consider blowing compressed air into the pores and wiping off the excess to keep the oil from drying too thick.

From contributor G:
I was thinking it is poorly dried tung oil seepage, but mostly am wondering if a 320 sanding will help get rid of it, or is it only fixable with the wax solution?

From contributor R:
Those white flecks you're seeing might be sap or mineral deposits. You see quite a bit of this on mahogany as well as walnut. Short of removing the tung oil and starting over, a colored wax as suggested above might help mask those areas. Depending on how open the grain still is, it could be the cure. Have you ruled out the possibility that it's glue residue creeping up through the pores?

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article