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Thread: Finish for Birdseye maple - outdoor shower

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Merrimack, NH
    Posts
    23

    Finish for Birdseye maple - outdoor shower

    Hi all

    We are building an outdoor shower on the side of our garage. I have a 9' length of live edge sinker Birdseye maple to which we will attach the copper plumbing. I'm looking for suggestions for a finish - we're in Maine so it will see snow, wind, rain, etc.

    My first inclination was spar varnish. A friend suggested marine epoxy.

    As always - any suggestions are welcome

    Mike
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,417
    Maple has really, really poor weather resistance. I wouldn't use it for the proposed application, but if you are undaunted then I recommend you use an epoxy sealer followed by Epifanes marine varnish or a 2K Poly (automobile) clearcoat.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Merrimack, NH
    Posts
    23
    Thanks John.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Greater Manor Metroplex, TX
    Posts
    259
    What John said.

    It is gorgeous piece of lumber and it will make a gorgeous outdoor shower, but it will take a lot of maintenance and then it may not make it more than a couple of seasons. Being outdoors, exposed and with all of that end grain (because or the bird's eye), it is going to be a sponge. It is going to expand/move which will crack the finish. You should be prepared to redo the finish yearly, if not more often.

  5. #5
    Yep, to all. The scale of birds-eye is too small ,too. Better to use it for something you can ponder close up at leisure. Itís not for
    background duty ,and even a soap bubble can distort or obscure itís beauty.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    737
    If you love it, you should do it. Besides marine epoxy and varnish, I would be inclined to use a heat gun during the epoxy process (with organic solvents filters on a respirator) to thin the epoxy and help it sink into the surface a little more.

  7. #7
    My suggestion would be to use white oak instead and use the birdseye for something inside where it can be better seen, as mentioned above.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,739
    I second Andrew's suggestion.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    737
    I am not confident on what waterproofing and finish process to use on oak in this appication. Given the current price of plywood I too am using wood I never would have considered 60 days ago.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    2,598
    Just tried Epifanes marine varnish on an outdoor deck chair of mine, and it was torture. Could never get rid of bubbles in the finish, and its thickness and need to thin it was a constant pain.

    I switched to System 3 Marine varnish, and it's been a pleasure to use.

    That being said, I wouldn't use that piece of lumber outdoors. It's quite pretty, but will it last? ....
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
    - Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    I am not confident on what waterproofing and finish process to use on oak in this appication. Given the current price of plywood I too am using wood I never would have considered 60 days ago.
    Well, for white oak, in theory you could use no finish as it should hold up to the water and weather on its own. Its industrial uses have been ships, liquid containing barrels, and railroad ties among other things. I'd probably douse it in a few coats of spar or marine varnish though, and preferably on all sides. My main worry and reason for finishing would be splinters, not an ideal thing to have in a shower

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