Slate Etch with Tung Oil

I wanted to make a slate coaster as a Valentine’s gift for my daughter, but I don’t have any mineral oil. Sooo…I do have Tung Oil (100% pure, avoid those thinned with flammable stuff) and so I gave it a try. The result looks great to me and the Tung Oil should cure and harden. Hmmm.

Apply the Tung Oil lightly and let it sit at least overnight.
Engraved at 900 speed, 30 power, Vary Power, 270 LPI.

I’ll let it sit and cure now without messing with the image.

You can see the colors of the original logo here.


Oh, that’s an interesting idea… and I have plenty of tung oil! please report back once it is all cured!


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I used to work in a foundry and we made a lot of thick slate bases for sculptures.
We would cut and grind them fairly smooth but not polished and then put a coat of plain artist’s linseed oil on them. It dries nice and hard and leaves the slate looking very black.

Perhaps that would be yet another option.


Thanks, I had wondered, because I have some but haven’t tried it yet.

I’ll let you all know how it looks when cured. I gave that one to my daughter last night. I coated more this morning, so will give an update after these cure in about 24 hours.


How’d it turn out?

@evansd2 Tung Oil will be how I do it until I see something better.

  1. It does give me a nice darker tone than unfinished slate. It also is flat black and not shiny or oily.

  1. It took days to fully cure and it seemed to ooze a bit in the process, so I had to wipe it a time or two. This means that you have to prepare them in advance. You don’t want to use them while curing. The one I did the first night lost some of the crisp lines probably due to Tung Oil oozing into the etch a little.

This is how it looks after letting it cure a few days and then etching.

I haven’t used mineral oil yet, so I don’t know if you have to wait for it to fully sink in. Also, does it have an oily residue at all?


Ah man, great result. Thanks for the update!

As for mineral oil, no residue that I’ve seen. I wipe it on as lightly as I can, wait about 5 mins, then wipe it down. Worked pretty well, but I don’t think I get the same contrast as you do. It’s always so hard to tell with photos. I went with mineral oil based on recommendations here, and it’s so easily sourced (any pharmacy has it), I just went for it.

That sounds easier than Tung Oil, but I do like the TO effect. Mineral oil is much cheaper though.

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I haven’t tried @jkopel’s linseed oil idea yet.