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Thread: questions about using Orange Oil

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Springville, AL

    questions about using Orange Oil

    Anybody with any experience using orange oil as a finish on turnings?

    If so, was it used pure or diluted with something and if so what?

    Where did you purchase it?


  2. #2
    Orange oil is not a finish.

    There may be some things marketed as orange oil finish - which implies there is some varnish in there.

    But PURE orange oil will volatalize away and won't provide any protection. In fact, the main constituent of natural orange oil, d-Limonene is the same molecule used as a solvent in orange 'cleaners', and it functions very similarly to mineral spirits in terms of volatility. That is to say, it is more of a solvent than a finish. In fact, it is more aggressive than mineral spirits in most situations. So, ironically, it can eat and attack some finishes, not protect a turning.

    Why are you thinking about orange oil?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Springville, AL
    I should have asked if anyone uses a finish with orange oil in it.

    I saw a bowl that was finished with a some product that orange oil as a component and can't find the name of the turner or the name of the product.

    Thought it might job someones memory.

  4. #4
    It can be used as a sub for mineral spirits in a diy danish oil mix. I do 1:1:1 blo or tung oil, solvent, varnish or oil based poly. I normally use mineral spirits if orange oil was cheaper i would consider using that instead.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Valdosta, Georgia
    you may be referring to Howard's Feed and Wax which some turners use and has an orange oil component. I am not a finish expert but Prashun is dead on with his info on orange oil.

  6. #6
    I recently tried Real Milk Paint Co tung oil with citrus solvent 50/50 blend. Thus far the pieces are fine. They do smell very strong of citrus during application and curing. They claim the citrus solvent helps the tung oil penetrate the wood better.
    Last edited by Daniel Warren; 02-09-2020 at 8:37 PM. Reason: Correction

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    sykesville, maryland
    I use orange glow to remove wax and wipe down wood surfaces in the shop. It's good for that and general cleaning (like mineral spirits). I wax all my machines when not in use and just leave the film on there. When I'm about to use the machine, I spritz a little orange glow to remove the wax film. Film just wipes right off and surface is slick and ready to go.

    I don't think it's an effective wood finish component, other than the smell, which is only temporary anyway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I use it to dilute tung oil to make it easier to apply. It's volatile, so there's little to nothing left after it evaporates. It can be used as a substitute for paint thinner/mineral spirits in most applications.

  9. #9
    We buy tons of orange oil for use in fragrances. I can tell you that I would never use orange oil as a solvent or substitute for mineral spirits. It's not a pure material; it's a distilled product that has about 3-5% other molecules besides Limonene (which is what makes it acceptable as a solvent). Those other ingredients can include water, less volatile molecules and even wax.

    You just risk having a softer finish with it. It's fine with tung oil, which is not intended to build up to a film. But it's not really a substitute for MS for any kind of oil based film finish.

    *If* anyone wishes to use a citrus-based solvent, it's best to seek out pure limonene or at least 'orange terpenes' which is more pure than orange oil, and coincidentally cheaper.

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