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
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.
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"
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.
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.
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
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
Consider cedar. Used in boatbuilding for hull planking. Resists rot. Not
expensive. Easy to work.
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments,
Restoration of my 1919 Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat, and
Steambending FAQ with photos:
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
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.
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
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...
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