best wood for shower bench


I want to build a simple bench for a custom shower. I priced out Teak and found it to be very expensive and the stock more limited than other species (at that lumber yard at least).
I found African Mahogany and Philippine Mahogany at a reasonable price (1/3 of Teak). Are these woods acceptable substitutes for Teak in a steamy wet environment. What other species can you recommend. What finish do you recommend for Mahogany? Linseed oil or a polyurethane or something else.
Thanks in advance
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Ipe is a much cheaper choice than Teak. Used in the shower however wood is going to be an ongoing maintenance problem. Ipe can be used out doors and will typically last 30-50 years with no protection add. Ipe is used for decking out doors and can be found at most better lumber yards. Ipe is heavy and very hard. You will need carbide blades for cutting. Ipe is a bout 2.5 times harder than Oak.
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On Fri, 18 Nov 2005 20:30:15 GMT, "Leon"

Doesn't ipe tend to splinter? I sure wouldn't want any splinters on a shower bench. BTDT in a cheap sauna.
-- "We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Noooooooo.. It is a little splintery when fresh cut but because it does not splinter easily by it self when exposed to the out doors it makes an excellent deck material for those that like to go bare footed.
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Somebody wrote:

Show the the latest yacht that has any external IPE rather than teak.
IPE might be great stuff, but not for this application.
Even at $15/bdft for teak, probably won't need more than $200 for material.
If that's a problem, you have a bigger problem than cost of material, IMHO.
Lew
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On Sun, 20 Nov 2005 02:23:26 +0000, Lew Hodgett wrote:

I skipped the beginning of this thread, but one experience of mine might be helpful.
When we were fulltime RVers, we bought one of those folding wooden shower aids that carried your towel etc and then opened up to become duckboards so you didn't have to stand on a (possibly dirty) concrete floor.
It was made of redwood. I took one look at it, took it apart, and immersed the pieces in Watco. For more than an hour but can't remember exactly how long, then took it out and wiped it off. That was in 1983 or 4. Obviously, it didn't get daily use for 21 years, but it's never needed refinishing.
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PipeDown wrote:

What else is new, but you don't need that much for a bench

Pure garbage, the only real mahogany is Honduras mahogany and i would not use it for this application.
> Are these woods acceptable substitutes for Teak in a steamy wet

IMHO, NO!

You could use sinker cypress, but you may not consider it low cost either.
Leave either the teak or the cypress natural, they need no finish.
Lew
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Eastern white cedar would be my choice. Splinter resistance is as important as rot resistance. Bullnose all the edges.
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PipeDown wrote:

Consider cedar. Used in boatbuilding for hull planking. Resists rot. Not expensive. Easy to work.
Gregg Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments, Restoration of my 1919 Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat, and Steambending FAQ with photos: http://home.comcast.net/~saville/index.html
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PipeDown wrote:

None of the above...cypress
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wrote:

With my sadly pragmatic hat on, if you're counting the cost then buy it from Ikea. They're selling genuine teak (I've had the microsocope on it), they claim it's sustainable (*) and their price is such that I've bought their outdoor tabletops to break down for raw timber before now.
Ipe or iroko aren't quite as good as teak, but they're pretty good. they also take a nice finsih. Bit hard to work though (but so is teak) and you'll see a lot of tool wear and re-sharpening. Iroko is also a bit prone to twist. If you saw it down, leave it a couple of days before you plane or thickness it.
The fake mahoganies (either continent) are no use for anything. They're kind of brown, but that's as close as they get to being like mahogany. No mahogany is particularly recommended
Personally I'd stick with locally grown (UK) sustainable timbers and I'd use sweet chestnut. This is surprisingly durable either outdoors or in high humidities. It also has the big advantage of not looking like teak!
Resinous softwoods would work too, so long as you use something like larch and take a little care in selecting the boards. Also avoid standing water anywhere near to end grain. This can look a little like the cliched Nordic sauna though.
(*) Teak isn't sustainable (do your own research). There's a major problem at present with illegal teak logging in Cambodia being sneaked out under the label of other countries. Be cautious.
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For my sauna (steamy, hot wet) I used eastern white cedar with no finish for the walls and benches. That was three years ago and it still looks like new. Here in Maine EWS is $1 per board foot. Because the fasteners are apt to corrode, I would use stainless and put them in places that will not be seen. Dave
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I built a couple of small shelves in our large walk-in shower, out of a Redwood 2x10 scrap from an old deck. I planed it down to a 1" thickness, then used my router and a pivot point to cut a half circle. I cut the half circle in half to end up with two 1/4 circle shelves that would fit in the corner.
I put three coats of a Spar Urethane on ALL surfaces of each shelf.
It's a year later and the shelves seem to be holding up well. Our shower is 6'x6' so the shelves don't see much water exposure, other than shampoo bottles and whatnot. There is a black spot under one of the soap dishes, but I can't tell if it's from the sticker on the bottom or if water trapped under the dish has worked it's way down through the finish?
In any case, the redwood shelves seem to be working well...
Anthony
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wrote:

I saw and ad for a steambath that has an accessory wooden seat. The ad states that it's made from "exotic European Iroko". Whatever that is...
Mike O.
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