Went to the sawmill today and converted my mesquite logs into rectangular solids. $90 for all four. That’s $22.50 a table (so far! A retiree’s time is worth nothing.) Next I need to sand them down, fill in cavities with polyester resin, apply numerous coats of tung oil, and finish with paste wax, buffed up. (This per the advice of my neighbor, J, who has made two beautiful mesquite tables, thereby making him my expert.) Then I will have a blacksmith produce bases for two of them, which will be used lengthwise as bedside tables. The other two will be used upright as side tables for my chaise lounges.
My mother had always used Watco oil on my grandmother’s solid maple dining set, but J showed me a burned spot on his workbench where a rag he had used to apply Watco oil had spontaneously ignited. Watco is a petroleum product. Tung oil is natural.
The tung tree is valued for tung oil, which is derived from the seeds of the tree. Tung oil, also called China wood oil or nut oil, has traditionally been used in lamps in China. In modern times, it is used as an ingredient in paint, varnish, and caulk. It is also used as a wood finish for furniture and other wooden objects. After processing to remove gums in the oil, it can also be used as a motor oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernicia_fordii