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Which wood for wooden shelf in showercorner

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  • #552544
    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    I’ve got this metal shelf in the corner of my shower. It rusts VERY fast. Couple of weeks and first rusted spots have shown up in the metal shelves.

    I thought I could make wooden shelves for it, but what kind of wood I should use there? The shelf will get wet EVERY DAY, but it will have time to dry daily too.

    Here is a pic of what I have in mind:

    Shower corner shelf

    Teak (like in that pic) is out of question. I’d like to use some local woods (I live in Finland, northern woods would ideal). What could handle getting wet daily. It doesn’t have to last forever, I can always make a new shelf when needed, but if it would last for a few years, that would be enough.


Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #552546
    P McCP McC


    Hello Jukka,

    Stayed at a lakeside resort in Norway, thirty years ago, and recall that the shower was lined with wood. At the time, I thought it was some kind of cedar. It did not appear to be varnished, but was finished with something. Wax? Thinned shellac? An oil finish? And I have no idea how it was maintained.

    You could try a northern white cedar and finish with shellac and see how it holds up.

    P McC

    David BDavid B


    Why is teak out of the question (just b/c it’s not local)? What kind of wood do they use to make sauna’s in Scandinavia(Isn’t that a big thing around there)?

    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    Thanks for the answers.

    I prefer not to use exotic woods for a couple of reasons:

    1. Ethical reasons/ecological reasons: possible abuse of woods local residents/ecosystem
    2. Exotic wood tends to behave erratically when taken out of its natural climate.

    I’ll look into that northern cedar. Although I don’t know about its availability here.

    I might just go for local pine and make new shelves every once in a while…

    harry wheelerharry wheeler


    You might try looking for red alder or aspen. Either of those I think are pretty good for wet environments. As far as a finish goes, I would suggest a marine grade spar varnish.


    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    Thanks Harry,

    Red alder is probably hard to come by here, but some type of aspen should be available. It is actually used quite often in Finnish saunas.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen. Reason: typo fix: had -> hard
    Sven-Olof JanssonSven-Olof Jansson


    There’s of course always the possibility of using some form of coating: polyurethane varnish on birch perhaps? Birch is in my experience a delight to work with – as long as planing is not against grain. Varnishing also mitigates the greying that usually occurs with wood that is repeatedly exposed to water.

    Alternatively, north Finnish knot-free heartwood pine – the richer in resin the better – has been the traditional wood for moisture exposed items like window frames (particularly after there was death penalty associated if caught cutting down an oak).

    Then, there is larch. It’s not very different from pine, but might not be domestic.

    I dream of one day having some of the primeval birch and pine from Far Karelia, but I suppose by now IKEA is finished with its abomination of turning those virgin forests into chip boards.

    (Well oiled beech – particularly American – is a very good alternative.)


    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Cambridge, MA

    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    Thanks Sven-Olof,

    Now that you mentioned larch, I do remember reading about it handling moist conditions pretty well. I definetly have to look into it. At least heat treated larch is readily available around here.


    ps. I just noticed the reply-button on desktop version here. It seems to be missing on mobile interface…

    Larry GeibLarry Geib


    You have black locust?

    Robinia Pseudoacacia. It is native the Appalachians and Ozarks in the USA, but it was introduced to Europe where it is considered an invasive species, so you might find it inexpensively.

    In tidewater areas it was grown for ship masts.


    Absolutely rot proof, hard as iron but turns well and can be worked with sharp tools (you will do a lot of sharpening)

    It has a nice orangish-brown color. Farmers plant it for fence posts. A post will outlive the guy who put it in the ground.
    More recently, it is being sold for decks and such.

    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    [quote quote=552580]You have black locust?

    That sounds like a good choice for bathroom, but from what i gathered Finland has too short summer and too cold winter for black locust. It usually may survive, but grows as bushes instead of trees, with a few known exceptions in southern Finland.

    Good suggestion though 🙂

    harry wheelerharry wheeler


    I made a mallet out of black locust, but it came from a neighbors tree so i didn’t have to look for it. Cypress is another rot-proof wood but I doubt you’ll find that either. Aspen may be the easiest for you to source and it should fare pretty well.


    Jukka HuuskonenJukka Huuskonen


    [quote quote=552587]…Cypress is another rot-proof wood but I doubt you’ll find that either…[/quote]

    Yes, cypress is hard to find here, as far as I know…

    [quote quote=552587]…Aspen may be the easiest for you to source and it should fare pretty well…[/quote]

    Aspen is readily available as heat-treated aspen. I hope that works. I’ll probably try that or maybe larch.

    Oh well, I gotta finish my workbench first though…




    larch, western red cedar or red alder would be ideal.



    As a test for something similar I have had a stick of white oak on the shelf in my shower for about three months now and it still looks a good as new. Might be worth a look if you can find a local source. I think mine is American white oak but I would think any native European one should do. ( I think red oak is not so good but not sure of the difference ) If it’s good enough for ships it should work in your bathroom 🙂

    Keith WaltonKeith Walton


    Wow I feel privelaged to have so much timber available. I made bathroom shelves from cypress and it is perfect

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