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Cedar bath hob

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Cedar bath hob

    Hi there,

    We're rennovating our bathroom, and I have fallen for pics of wooden bath hobs I've seen online (i.e. a wooden platform surrounding the bath, instead of the usual tiles, like the pic here).

    I'll be getting someone to help with the build, but I am thinking this could be done with tongue & groove cedar planks and stained with tung oil. Looking for a light wood effect.

    Wondering if this is the best approach, and any 'watch-outs' I should know!

    Many thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails woodenhob.jpg  

  2. #2
    3K Club Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    Let's see, if timber was such a great product when exposed to water the waterproofing standards would have a special section just for this and I suspect there would be lot more timber boats around today.

    Sadly water and timber are not a good mix, but don't give up yet, there some treatments that have been around for a long time that not only work but actually improved over the years.

    Bottom line is that if you want timber in a bathroom you need to consider the following.
    1. The floor will a waste outlet to drain any water that falls outside the shower.
    2. The timber floor needs to be held clear of what may be a wet sub drain (the waste under the floor) so you need to support on something other than timber. Synthetic wood to the rescue, complete with drainage slots cut into the underside to allow drainage and still a top side you can screw into.
    3. The timber floor must also be protected, just adding an oil will not cut it long term because you only have access to the top and possibly the sides if you leave a gap.
    The good news, Some very old plywood boats are about because the ply was treated with an Epoxy resin, thinned to start with until after a few coats it would not soak in, then non thinned Epoxy resin was applied. Only one problem, Epoxy is not UV stable, yes I know some new ones claim to be, but a safer alternative is the newer Hi UV stable varnish now available; this has been used with good results on sea going timber, so your bathroom should be a doddle.
    The only draw back being you will have ensure the varnish is in good condition for the rest of whatever.

    This is all doable and will look fantastic for a long time, but will take a lot more looking after than tiles.

    Good luck.
    Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

  3. #3
    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Kilmore, near Melbourne, Australia


    The idea has real merit and is something I have been thinking about and researching for some time. You can't really use cedar (western red, anyway) on the project because while it has excellent water resistance, it is far too soft. even a scrape of one's fingernail across the surface marks it.

    No amount of any kind of finish will really make it harder and anyway, if you can find a finish that makes the material fully waterproof, it doesn't matter what timber you use because in theory water will never be able to get to it.

    Western Red Cedar is used in hot tubs, and even decking in the US .... so is Douglas Fir (what we call Oregon) but it is not the same material - older trees, different method of cutting etc. But the bottom line is that it will mark a LOT. Oldsaltoz is right on the money - applying the principles of boatbuilding will I believe, eradicate all your worries for the following reasons:

    1. How much actual water will get on the timber?
    2. How great will the "cilmate" conditions vary in your bathroom?
    3. How many times will you actually have a bath?

    So, provided you use a timber that is hard and stable enough you will enjoy a great result PROVIDED all material is totally sealed with the right gear AND you (or someone else) apply the right design coefficient to the entire project. Otherwise you could end up with a bunch of planks with a bath cut into them, rather than a thing of real beauty that lasts longer than some "fashion statement" Fixing the planks from underneath would enhance the overall look too .... or perhaps using copper clouts (or bronze etc.) if you wanted a decorative, more handmade look. The quality of the joinery will be extremely important. Mitres will have to be super-precise and biscuit-joined or similar to try and prevent them from opening up.

    Finally and personally; I recommend you consider undermounting the bath ... I just think the bath is the thing that lets the whole room down in the image you supplied. It looks like a lump of plastic has been stuck on top of some excellent craftsmanship.

    BTW there are people who make entire baths (and kitchen/vanity sinks) from Teak. Quality of finish and robustness of material is key - anyway, a great project .... love it!

    ... sorry for the rant
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)

    ....catchy phrase here

  4. #4
    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    Epoxy, epoxy, epoxy and then two-pac poly to protect against UV.

    Boatbuilders use a novel sprinkle with sugar technique to create a non-slip surface that might also be useful.
    DIY electrical wiring to AS/NZS3000 - details here - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

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