Wooden vanity top in bathroom.

We are in the midst of a bathroom remodel at my house and one of the material options we are considering for the vanity top is wood.(We are thinking about Wenge.) If we decide to go this route does anybody have any thoughts on it as far as the finish? I don't want it to look plastic but I want it to hold up the the environment well. Any thoughts on the appropriateness of Wenge to this application are welcome as well.
Jeff Bennett
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Jeff,
    Made a wooden sink pedestal for our bathroom about 15 years back. Oak plywood, with a relatively small wooden top surface surrounding the sink. Finished with polyurethane, kept thin to minimize the plastic look. Multiple coats, wet sanded between each coat.
    I'd rate the durability as moderate. I've refinished the top once. The poly will stand up to transient moisture (typical splashing around the sink, left to evaporate on its own) but not prolonged moisture. The refinish was needed after the wife got in the habit of leaving a washcloth sitting on the top under cosmetic bottles. The damp at the bottom eventually began to raise the grain of the plywood.
    For looks and general satisfaction, I'm happy with it. The refinish was a matter of a few days, most of that drying time. I'd choose wood again.
    There are just two adults in the house. Kids and dents/scratches would be an entirely different matter.
                            Lou
--


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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (Jeff Bennett) wrote in

I did a similar thing a year ago, in cherry. Used an undermount sink, looks quite nice. Not at all plastic-y.
The cherry was lightly fumed before the finish was added, to bring out color (about 4 to 6 hours worth w/ blueprint ammonia).
Concerned too about water effects, I asked here and on the web, found little help. Most help was the canoe sites. I did several test blocks with different finishes, what I settled on is the following:
- Used a System Three epoxy, after initial sanding, to encapsulate the wood. This was like thin honey, and penetrated into the wood noticably. I used the "System Three Clear Coat" kit from Woodcraft, part# looks like 144501. Says it's for "constant immersion".
I applied a very thin coat, almost like a varnish coat. I could have made it thicker, but didn't (after the test pieces) because:
- The epoxy surface was slightly irregular, so careful sanding was needed once dry to establish a smooth, regular surface. Used a hard rubber hand-sanding block with wet sanding. Got a very good surface and then:
- Applied a second thin coat (repeat: thin) of epoxy, mainly to seal any flaws after sanding. IIRC, this was re-sanded, with 220 grit, in part to make smooth and part to prepare for next:
- Applied several coats of thinned spar varnish over the epoxy; I used Minwax spar, would have used a System Three product had it been available. (Dilted 25% with mineral spirits, I'd rather apply several thin coats.) (Oh, I used semigloss, YMMV.)
Spar adhered well to the epoxy, and provides UV protection for the epoxy. And can be repaired if needed.
- Sink mounted underneath with a generous bead of clear silicone, smoothed and shaped to be invisible from above. Goes to the rim of the wood, no seam for water to be trapped in.
We have trained ourselves to wipe water off the surface after use, but sometimes it has stood for a half day or so. No problems whatsoever.
I figure it will be straightforward to repair the spar varnish layer should it become damaged. Maybe in some extreme case you might need to sand into the epoxy/wood and reapply epoxy, but seems unlikely.
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Any chance you could e-mail me a picture of how it turned out?
JB
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (Jeff Bennett) wrote in wrote in message >

Hard to get the overall wood appearance in a simple camera.
Can't do it right now, but I will try on Sunday (the 12th) to post to alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking . If I don't do it by Sunday afternoon, will retry on 1st thing Monday AM.
Sorry for the delay.
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