Author Topic: Sapele - to Tung or not to Tung ?  (Read 533 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve1

  • Posts: 246
Sapele - to Tung or not to Tung ?
« on: November 27, 2022, 08:41 AM »
I have not worked with Sapele before, but will be doing a couple of bookcases in a while.
I have been experimenting with a few finishes.

What I have concluded is that I will be topping it with water based poly, and prefer the look/feel with a grain filler.  Also, I like the color of super-blond shellac on it better than garnet shellac.

I have also tried to first put down a few coats of tung oil.   
Maybe I am mistaken, but I feel I should be seeing a deeper, richer color with the tung oil first, then shellac (then grain filler, then poly).
But really, I can't see a difference if I omit the tung oil.   Both look real good, really glisten, change colors as I change my viewing angle, but I don't see a difference.

Maybe I need larger sample pieces, or there is a problem with my procedure, but is this consistent with what others have found ?   See photo of samples below.   The upper piece has tung oil base.

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 861
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: Sapele - to Tung or not to Tung ?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2022, 10:53 AM »
I have not worked with Sapele before, but will be doing a couple of bookcases in a while.
I have been experimenting with a few finishes.

What I have concluded is that I will be topping it with water based poly, and prefer the look/feel with a grain filler.  Also, I like the color of super-blond shellac on it better than garnet shellac.

I have also tried to first put down a few coats of tung oil.   
Maybe I am mistaken, but I feel I should be seeing a deeper, richer color with the tung oil first, then shellac (then grain filler, then poly).
But really, I can't see a difference if I omit the tung oil.   Both look real good, really glisten, change colors as I change my viewing angle, but I don't see a difference.

Maybe I need larger sample pieces, or there is a problem with my procedure, but is this consistent with what others have found ?   See photo of samples below.   The upper piece has tung oil base.
(Attachment Link)

In terms of getting a deeper color, I'm running a sample of Saicos Premium UV on Sapele to see how it holds up to the weather. The board has two applications of the Saicos UV, and after ~9 months both the indoor and outdoor samples are a deep red color.

I believe the Saicos is derived from the Thistle plant, so in concept it should be similar to other plant-derived oils like Tung oil or Linseed oil. It did take about 2-3 months for that deep red color to develop. For the Saicos, I wouldn't top it with anything, instead preferring to just apply another coat every year, but that's just me.... 
CT-MIDI, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF-1010, OF-1400, MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x4), MFT/Kapex (x3), KA 65 Conturo, endless Systainers

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 4255
Re: Sapele - to Tung or not to Tung ?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2022, 11:32 AM »
Not much help on Tung, because I've never used it on Sapele, but I use a lot of Sapele. I always get great results without using shellac, grain filler, etc.:

Just a few coats of (thinned) boiled linseed oil plus a few protective coats of polyurethane or Arm-R-Seal (I prefer semi-gloss or matt):





The tone turns more golden and gets richer and richer over time. If you want to slow it down, place the piece away from direct sunlight.