Purpose Cyclohexanone-formaldehyde resin (CFR) was in situ modified with tannin (T) in the presence of sodium hydroxide. The purpose of this study is to produce eco-friendly tannin-modified cyclohexanone resins (TCFR) with a one-step method that has higher decomposition temperature than CFR. The solubility, molecular weight and thermal properties of the product were investigated. Design/methodology/approach Cyclohexanone, formalin (37 per cent aqueous solution) and tannin were mixed and 20 per cent aqueous NaOH solution was added to produce the resin. Tannin has environmentally friendly bio-based phenolic compounds that the tannin structure has been incorporated into the structure of the cyclohexanone formaldehyde resin during the in situ modification of resin, such as resole resin. Findings The improvement of the properties of the TCFRs produced from condensed tannin. TCFRs were soluble in common organic solvents. The product TCFR has a dark red colour.