We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This woodworker has done a lot of research and testing. Wrote a book on 19th century finishes although it appears to be out of stock...Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint - Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes
What's tricky about tung oil? We use it all the time. Our den ceiling is pine 1x6's that we tung-oiled ourselves ten years ago before hiring workmen to install it--still looks great. Ditto for our salvaged (ca. 1910) wooden interior doors, which we stripped with Formsby's refinishing liquid and then tung-oiled. Good for furniture, too. It just takes a bit of light buffing with a soft cloth after the last coat, no problem.
The finish used needs to be appropriate to the thing to be finished. Tung oil, while appropriate to Danish Modern furniture or perhaps wainscoting or some sort of paneling , is useless for anything else.
For some of the items mentioned in the post and comments:
Piano--lacquer, preferably nitro-cellulose.
Gunstocks--Linseed oil or, oil varnish, good oil varnish can only be had from violin maker suppliers these days , or make it yourself.
Antique furniture, formal, pre 1830- down to Queen Ann, or in those styles- French Polish. ( or French Polish anything you would like very shiny)
Antique Furniture, informal- Shellac and wax.
Antique furniture, primitive--wax
The old rule for linseed oil on gun stocks is: 1 coat per hour for a day. one coat per day for a week, one coat a week for a month, one coat a month for a year.
This will produce a very high gloss, incredibly durable finish that looks like many coats of hand rubbed varnish but will stand up to weather and abrasion. Well worth the time invested.
The article on wax is excellent only I would recommend beeswax instead of the commercial products mentioned.Beeswax is inexpensive, easy to prepare, can be used as a finish, cleaner or polish, depending on the ratio of wax to solvent and produces a magnificent shine.
i'm a believer in pure Tung oil . have restored a number of old softwood floors and such over the years, been impressed with the oils results
if oil needs thinned, there's a natural citrus solvent, that i find a cut above
realmilkpaint .com is informative . i have no association with these people, other then have used, would recommend a read if this is your thing