Welcome to the world of wood finishing! Tung oil and lacquer are two popular choices for protecting and enhancing the beauty of wood surfaces. Tung oil, made from the nut of the tung tree, is known for its natural, eco-friendly properties and ability to penetrate deeply into the wood.

It provides a warm, protective finish that highlights the grain patterns of the wood. Lacquer, on the other hand, is a synthetic resin that dries quickly and forms a durable, hard surface.

In this blog, we will discuss why it is recommended to lacquer over tung oil to achieve the best results for your wood finishing project. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional woodworker, we hope this information will be useful and informative for you.


Advantages of Lacquering Over Tung Oil

Strong Protective Surface

Lacquer creates a durable and hard surface that provides a long-lasting barrier against scratches, spills, and other forms of damage. This protective layer is essential for preventing premature aging of the wood and maintaining its appearance over time.

Improved Durability

Unlike tung oil, lacquer is highly resistant to fading, yellowing, and chipping. This makes it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas, such as kitchen table tops, or pieces of furniture that will be subject to frequent use.

Ease of Use and Repair

Lacquer can be easily applied and repaired, making it a convenient choice for DIY projects. If the surface becomes scratched or damaged, a simple touch-up will restore its appearance.

Retention of Wood-like Appearance

Lacquer is designed to enhance the natural beauty of wood, rather than covering it up. It allows the wood’s grain and texture to show through, giving it a warm, natural look that is often lost with other types of finishes.

Quicker Application Process

Unlike tung oil, which requires multiple coats and extended drying times, lacquer can be applied in a single, thin layer. This makes it a quick and convenient option for those who want a high-quality finish without spending a lot of time and effort.

How to Lacquer Over Tung Oil

Preparation of the Surface

Before applying lacquer over tung oil, it is important to prepare the surface properly. This includes cleaning the surface of any dirt, dust or debris, sanding it to create a smooth surface, and removing any excess tung oil.

Application of Tung Oil

Tung oil should be applied in multiple thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. This will ensure that the tung oil has penetrated into the wood properly, creating a strong base for the lacquer.

Waiting Period for Tung Oil to Dry

The waiting period for the tung oil to dry can vary depending on factors such as temperature and humidity. Typically, it is recommended to wait at least 24 hours between each coat of tung oil, and 48 hours after the final coat before proceeding with lacquering.

Preparation for Lacquering

Before applying lacquer, the surface should be sanded again to create a smooth surface and to remove any raised fibers. Dust or debris should also be removed from the surface to ensure proper adhesion of the lacquer.

Application of Lacquer

Lacquer should be applied in thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Typically, two to three coats of lacquer are sufficient for most projects. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, as different types of lacquer may have different requirements.

Considerations When Lacquering Over Tung Oil

Compatibility of Products

Before starting the lacquering process, it is important to ensure that the tung oil used and the lacquer being applied are compatible.

This is important because some tung oils contain ingredients that may react with certain lacquers, leading to yellowing or other issues. It’s best to use tung oil and lacquer that are specifically designed to be used together.

Type of Lacquer to Use

There are different types of lacquer available in the market, each with its own unique properties. It is important to select the right type of lacquer for the job. For instance, a clear lacquer is ideal for preserving the natural color of wood, while pigmented lacquer can be used to change the color of the wood.

Drying and Curing Time

Lacquer dries and cures much faster than tung oil. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying and curing time to ensure a proper finish. Over-applying lacquer or applying it too thickly can lead to runs, drips, and other issues.

Cost of Materials

Lacquer is typically more expensive than tung oil, so it is important to factor in the cost of materials when deciding whether to lacquer over tung oil. Additionally, some lacquers require specialized equipment, such as sprayers or applicators, which can also add to the cost of the project.

Comparison of Tung Oil and Lacquered Finish

CharacteristicTung OilLacquered Finish
Ease of UseSimpleSimple with improved results
Wood-like AppearanceMaintainedMaintained
Application TimeLongerQuicker
CostAffordableSlightly higher
Comparison of Tung Oil and Lacquered Finish

This table compares the characteristics of a Tung Oil finish and a Lacquered finish for wood surfaces. It highlights the advantages of each option in terms of protection, durability, ease of use, appearance, application time, repairability, and cost.


What is the difference between tung oil and lacquer?

Tung oil is a natural, non-toxic oil that is commonly used as a wood finish. It provides a subtle sheen and is known for its ability to penetrate deep into the wood grain. Lacquer, on the other hand, is a synthetic protective coating that forms a hard, durable surface on top of the wood.

Is it necessary to lacquer over tung oil?

Lacquering over tung oil is not necessary, but it can provide additional protection and durability to the wood surface. If you want a stronger, longer-lasting finish, lacquering over tung oil can be a good option.

What are the drawbacks of lacquering over tung oil?

One of the main drawbacks of lacquering over tung oil is that it can change the natural appearance of the wood. Lacquer can also be more difficult to repair if it becomes damaged, as it forms a hard, non-porous surface. Additionally, the application of lacquer can be more time-consuming and requires specialized tools and techniques.

Can lacquer be used over any type of tung oil?

It is important to ensure that the tung oil and lacquer products you use are compatible. Some tung oils can react with certain types of lacquer, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before using the products together.

Can tung oil be used over lacquer?

Tung oil can be applied over lacquer, but it may not penetrate the surface as well as it would on a bare wood surface. Additionally, the sheen and color of the tung oil may be affected by the lacquer underneath. If you want to use tung oil over lacquer, it is important to remove any wax or silicone products that may have been used on the lacquered surface, as these can prevent the tung oil from penetrating properly.


Lacquering over Tung oil offers numerous benefits for woodworkers, including a strong and durable protective surface, ease of use and repair, and a quicker application process.

When lacquering over Tung oil, it is important to consider the compatibility of products, the type of lacquer to use, and the drying and curing time, as well as the cost of materials.

By following the proper steps and considering these factors, woodworkers can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish for their woodworking projects. In summary, lacquering over Tung oil is an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the appearance and durability of their wooden surfaces.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *