Tung Oil vs Hemp Oil

With so many top coat finishing products out there, choosing one can be difficult! Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about using Tung Oil or Hemp Oil, and can’t decide on which one to choose!


Old wood freshly coated with Hemp OIl and Tung Oil

Unlike a Varnish or Water based poly coating, Tung Oil and Hemp Oil are breathable. Now what does that mean exactly? Because these oils are from natural pressed seeds with no additives or solvents, they do not leave a plastic coating or film like conventional top coats, like a poly urethane or varnish. These oils adjust to the expansion and contraction of wood from temperature and humidity, and are able to release any moisture trapped within. Typical paints and finishes that contain synthetics do not offer this flexibility, and the surface of them will break as the moisture within the wood is trying to escape. They also do not scratch like conventional plastic coatings.

What surfaces and projects can you use these Natural Oils on?

Deck After Oil Drying

Tung OIl, and the Flower Bed in Hemp OIl.

Kitchen cabinets/islands
Doors & windows
Woodwork, walls & ceilings
Food surfaces
Exterior Surfaces

To see a video on the application of  Hemp OIl on a garden Box

How natural oils work

-Conserve initial color of wood

-Water Resistant

-Alcohol resistant

-Matte to satin matte finish

-Ideal for food surface

-Interior and exterior use

The oil saturates the wood, seals it from moisture from within. At least 2 coats is recommended, however the more coats, the more protection. You will want to re coat every few years as the wood starts to look dull and dry. Re coating is simple and easy, as you will not have to sand, or removing any peeling/flaking paint, just add oil, like a conditioner!

The wonders of Hemp Oil

Did you know that the Hemp plant can be used to manufacture over 250,000 different products? It is the strongest natural fiber, grown without the use of pesticides, and actually cleans the earth as it is growing. The hemp seeds can be used for many different products from hand creams, to food products, to our favourite wood finishing oil, Hemp Oil.

Why should you choose Hemp Oil?

Easy to use and maintain. Low carbon footprint, better for our local economy as it produced in North America and grown without the use of pesticides.

Food Grade versus non food grade?

Essentially the Hemp Oil we use for furniture is derived from the same pressed hemp seeds used for your food grade edible oils. The only difference is the level of amino acids, which affect the drying time. Our hemp oil is refined so that it dries quicker, naturally, without the use of any solvents through an accelerated oxidation process.

Cutting Boards coated in Hemp Oil. Photo from: Atelier Du Cote Bois


How to Apply Hemp Oil

You can apply hemp oil with a brush, or a rag. You do not have to worry about brush strokes, so you can apply it very liberally and wipe away the excess after 12 hours.


The wood will darken once you apply the oil. The top half here has oil, the bottom half is bare old wood. The older the wood, the darker the transformation.

Let the wood tell you if it needs more. You will typically see the oil soak in and the wood going dry, as it is drying, feel free to apply more. There is no harm in over applying Hemp Oil, just make sure you wipe away the excess after 12 hours.

What exactly is Tung Oil?

Tung Oil is a natural wood finishing oil that originates in either China, or South America. Excellent for interior and exterior wood finishing. Highly resistant to water and abrasion, Tung Oil is the most durable of all the natural oils. Tung Oil gives a matte finish which does not yellow over time. The lustre (sheen) can increase with extra coats and burnishing.

Pure or Polymerized- What’s the difference?

Pure Tung Oil contains no thinners or driers in it, making it food safe and eco-friendly. Polymerized Tung Oil which is more commonly found in your local hardware or wood working shop, has thinners or driers in it. Typically these can be quite toxic, rather than pure Tung Oil. Our Tung Oil is 100% Pure Unpolymerized. We also recommend you use our Odorless Solvent to cut your Tung Oil with if you should so choose.

Our Odorless Solvent is the safest on the market, It is 99.7% monomer free ( this is what causes the headaches).


Wood coated in Tung OIl, the wheels coated in Hemp OIl. Thank you to Rose at Studio 23 https://www.facebook.com/rose.studio23

What’s the difference between Tung Oil and Hemp Oil?
Unpolymerized Tung Oil is easy to use, not as easy as Hemp Oil, however there are pros and cons to every product that is out there. Whilst Hemp Oil is easier to apply due to its naturally thin consistency making it spread super fast, it takes longer to dry, therefore it will not go sticky or tacky if a project is left for a few hours. It is easily brushed or wiped on or off, and the drying time sensitivity of the Tung Oil, Hemp Oil is better for the beginner finisher. You can watch a video on the differences between Hemp Oil vs. Tung Oil on our You Tube Channel for more great tips!

Hemp Oil VS Tung Oil

When should you use a Tung Oil vs Hemp Oil?

When you have a finish that you want to have extra durability in water resistancy and have it last for many years (10+ years), Especially an exterior job, then go with Tung Oil, however if you don’t mind re coating every few years, then use Hemp Oil.

Here is a video on Milk Paint Deck Makeover with Tung Oil and Hemp Oil

Pure Tung Oil for non food surfaces
For non-food contact use, always thin with 50% odourless solvent for the first coat as it will help the oil penetrate more, and dry faster. Subsequent coats can be full strength, but must be wiped down after 15 minutes. Always allow ample drying time (48 hours+).

Applying Tung Oil

After the surface has been prepped by removing any debris, or unwanted previous poly coating, you may proceed to apply the Tung Oil finish. Apply the Tung oil generously with a brush, cloth. Let the wood soak in the Tung Oil for approximately five to ten minutes. Remove the excess Tung Oil before it dries on the surface with a buffing rag. If you leave the Tung Oil on for too long and it dries it may go sticky and tacky.

How many coats should I apply?

Apply three or four coats of Tung Oil for best water resistance. Let each coat dry for at least 24 hours before adding the next coat.

Maintaining a Tung oil finish

Look at the surface to determine if it is in need of re-coating, if it looks dry, add more.

If you have any further questions or would like to purchase either of these beautiful products please email us or visit a retailer near you!

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint : http://www.missmustardseedsmilkpaint.com/retailers/

Homestead House Paint Co. :http://www.homesteadhouse.ca/retailers.html

Thank you!


President, Homestead House Paint Co.

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