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Hardwoods in bathrooms

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El Barto

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I have a potential client who wants an oak table for their bathroom sinks to sit on. Not only that but they want it to be 6" thick and for the grain to be nice and uniform and straight. I have warned them of the risks posed here and also sought the helpful advice of Custard but I thought I'd see what experiences you guys have of using oak or other hardwoods in a bathroom.

These don't seem like the kind of people who would find splits and checks appealing or charming, nor do they particularly seem interested in how the table is made, so I'm wondering whether using a more bathroom suitable material and then veneering it might be best for them.

I don't think this is a job I'll be taking on but it did get me to thinking.
 

Dhenry

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We’ve got a varnished, tall oak unit in our single bathroom and that is standing the test of time perfectly although I wish I could say the same for the hinges which are slowly beginning to rust.

David
 

Torx

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I made birch ply cabinet carcasses for my sink unit 7 years ago, still haven’t got round to making any doors. Kids splash shower water over it every day, it’s literally connected to the bath. Had several coats of Liberon floor oil and nothing since, still in perfect condition. Worktop is done in Welsh slate, easier to work than oak if you ask me! Oak towel shelves in the same room, light coat of Briwax now and again as they fade (poor choice of finish, should think of something else), still fine. Humidity in this room is ridiculous, I’m just about to upgrade the fan.
 

DBT85

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I have a couple of bits of oak worktop that act as tops in bathrooms. One is just a cupboard top and one is under a basin.

Mine are just costed in the same osmo I used in the kitchen.
 

El Barto

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Thanks for the replies guys. Interesting that you haven't experienced any issues.

I did consider that a well kiln dried piece of oak that is regularly treated and looked after might be ok but it does seem a risk - I don't want to be called out there repeatedly if/when it starts to crack or split!
 

DBT85

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I'll be honest the osmo on my worktop in the kitchen is doing sterling work. 3 coats when I installed it all 4 years ago and not touched it since. Even around the sink.

No worry about steel pans or hot stuff or anything.

Oddly, something in the oven cleaner we use causes it to go black. That only happened once. Just sanded it back and refinished.
 

Jonathan S

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Few years back I made something similar, also needed to be straight grain oak.
I was reluctant to use solid oak and ended up using oak faced marine ply.
6 inch solid oak could be quite heavy, maybe weight is not a factor for you, I generally work on my own so weight is a issue.

Sent from my SM-J530F using Tapatalk
 

El Barto

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Jonathan S":3lizhcjg said:
Few years back I made something similar, also needed to be straight grain oak.
I was reluctant to use solid oak and ended up using oak faced marine ply.
6 inch solid oak could be quite heavy, maybe weight is not a factor for you, I generally work on my own so weight is a issue.

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Weight is definitely a factor! Didn't know about oak faced ply, will take a look, thanks.
 

Sgian Dubh

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El Barto":d3yuhqga said:
... they want it to be 6" thick and for the grain to be nice and uniform and straight.
Presumably one of the risks you pointed out are that a 6" thick oak top is almost certainly going to split as it dries out. Likely because oak this thick is extremely rarely kiln dried (basically never), therefore only air dried, and there's a significant amount of drying and shrinkage that is to be expected after installation in a habitable building. Splits or fissures on the top surface, and elsewhere for that matter, would be a place where dirt would build up and could harbour harmful germs, bacteria and the like.

I guess you could make something up that provides a semblance of a genuine single 6" thick lump using thinner boards for the top surface (say 18 - ~45 mm), a wide (deep)enough edging at the front, and filling in the ends with short pieces of oak laminated together and glued to the underside of the top piece. Slainte.
 

El Barto

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Sgian Dubh":1hax2dbs said:
El Barto":1hax2dbs said:
... they want it to be 6" thick and for the grain to be nice and uniform and straight.
Presumably one of the risks you pointed out are that a 6" thick oak top is almost certainly going to split as it dries out. Likely because oak this thick is extremely rarely kiln dried (basically never), therefore only air dried, and there's a significant amount of drying and shrinkage that is to be expected after installation in a habitable building. Splits or fissures on the top surface, and elsewhere for that matter, would be a place where dirt would build up and could harbour harmful germs, bacteria and the like.

I guess you could make something up that provides a semblance of a genuine single 6" thick lump using thinner boards for the top surface (say 18 - ~45 mm), a wide (deep)enough edging at the front, and filling in the ends with short pieces of oak laminated together and glued to the underside of the top piece. Slainte.
Yes exactly. I've suggested to them that they try and have something made that replicates a 6" slab.
 
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