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Tung Oil vs. Linseed Oil: Know the Difference

If you’re a professional carpenter, a carpentry enthusiast, or just a homeowner with a passion for owning wooden furniture, you’re undoubtedly conscious about wood preservation and treatment.

Various kinds of oils can help you meet this objective. Among them, the two most common options in the present market are tung oil and linseed oil.

That’s why the “tung oil vs. linseed oil” debate is natural. Well, in this article, we will be discussing the differences between tung oil and linseed oil to help you determine which one is the best for your purpose. Keep reading to know more.

What Is Tung Oil?

Also known as China wood oil, tung oil is the byproduct of crushing a tung tree's nuts. Tung oil solidifies when you keep it out in the open air for a long time.

The coating you can make from using tung oil will give off a clear and wet look; it is an excellent option for wood finishes and gives an added layer of protection to the wood.

Originating in the southern regions of China, tung oil dates back to as far as 500BC. It mostly constitutes of acid. The main functions of it include wood finishing and protecting oil-paper umbrellas.

What Is Linseed Oil?

Linseed oil is a pale yellow oil that you can get after drying flax plants' ripe seeds. You can either crush the seeds to get the oil or get it through the solvent extraction process. Linseed oil can polymerize into taking a solid shape, and you can mix them with other oils because of this quality.

You can also mix it with a variety of resins and solvents to create various textures and forms. Linseed oil is also a valuable dietary supplement.

It is popularly eaten alongside potatoes or quark in various parts of Europe. It is an omega-3 fatty acid and is a delicacy due to improving the flavor of food. It is also famous for its use as a paint binder; a wood finishes a glazing putty and sizes oil gilding.

Differences between Tung Oil and Linseed Oil

Here are the factors that will help you differentiate tung oil from linseed oil.

Impact on Furniture

You will have to mix tung oil with water before you can apply it to furniture. It will not solidify and dry out on the table if you don't do so. Be sure to use it evenly as overuse may lead to the film of the furniture to wrinkle.

On the other hand, linseed oil is relatively easier to apply to furniture. However, it takes a substantially longer time to dry out than tung oil.

Tung oil penetrates deep into the wood's fibers and makes it more challenging by sealing it properly. Linseed oil, on the other hand, protects the furniture differently. Although it penetrates the wood, it is more focused on preserving the wood than sealing it.

Efficiency after Application

Linseed oil is more visually appealing than tung oil. Whereas tung oil gives off a rustic and transparent finish, linseed oil has a richer and eye-catching finish. However, tung oil provides greater resistance to water. It helps to lock the moisture more efficiently than linseed oil.

And linseed oil has a greater effectivity in the application. All you will have to do is apply once, and it’ll be a while before you need to do it again. On the other hand, tung oil needs a regular application to preserve the furniture properly.


Tung oil does not have as many purposes as linseed oil does. Linseed oil is an excellent option for cooking. It has many health benefits too. And it can also be useful as substitutes for many artificial substitutes and is an environment-friendly alternative again.

Moreover, tung oil is minimal in terms of use. It is only applicable to adding finishes to furniture and protecting umbrellas.


Tung oil and linseed oil are both widely available in markets. They are also very affordable and have similar price points. However, when it comes to adding finishes to furniture, tung oil is undisputedly the better choice. It is simply the best natural product for this purpose. However, linseed oil has many more uses than tung oil.

Therefore, if you know what your need is, you’ll easily know where you stand in the “tung oil vs. linseed oil” debate!

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