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Oak finish for damp places

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Dr Al

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Dursley, Gloucestershire
I'm just going through the last stages (three coats done, two more to go) of applying @MikeG.'s oil/varnish/white spirit mix on my side table. So far I've been really impressed with that finish, partly for the look of the wood, but mostly for how easy it is to apply (daub it on without worrying about brush strokes or the right finish, leave it 10 minutes, wipe it off). I detest painting so it has been a pleasant surprise being a somewhat less nasty job!

The next things I'm likely to make are going to be in much damper locations so I was wondering what might make a good finish for them. Would it be as simple as using the same mix but with exterior varnish or do I need something more robust?
  • One will be a replacement towel rail for the bathroom, so it's going to have wet towels hanging on it and will be in a fairly humid environment.
  • The other will be a bird house, so it'll be outside and the finish also needs to be non-toxic to the residents.
The plan is to make both out of oak (because I have oak and anything else would need me to buy the wood). What finish(es) would be good for these applications?
 
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