Sealing the Wood Agains the Water
It seems cleanliness was on woodworkers’ minds as the year ended and the new one began, since much of the feedback we received on last issue’s eZine dealt with the question in our Q&A section regarding finishing a wooden bathtub. – Editor
“I was intrigued by the question about how to waterproof a wooden bathtub. My wife and I came to Canada as immigrants almost 60 years ago. We bought a small, old house consisting of bedroom, living room and kitchen and what in those days was called ‘outdoor plumbing.’ Bathtub? Who would even think of such a fancy thing. But we had grown up with a bathtub, and my first building project was to put running water in the house and add an actual bathroom. Conveniently, at just that time the Golden, British Columbia, ‘Queens Hotel’ was being torn down, so we purchased a used toilet ($5.00) and a wooden bathtub, another $5.00. The tub was built from boards and lined, inside and out, with very thin copper sheeting. Anytime it sprang a leak, which happened occasionally, I got out the soldering iron and did a quick repair job. Believe it or not, we used that tub for more than 20 years. I knew I should have taken a picture of it, but I am sure somewhere on the Internet, there must be a picture of that extremely comfortable and always warm type of tub. But then, who would know how to finish a tub with copper sheeting nowadays?” – Paul Hambruch
“In the latest version of the eZine, there was a question concerning the best way to seal a tub made from a wooden log, and I think the experts missed a very important possibility – pure tung oil. I believe there is a company that actually makes sinks and tubs out of wood and uses tung oil as their finish of choice on both the wet and dry surfaces.” – Frank McEnulty
“I think the best way to waterproof the inside of a wooden bathtub is to make a form-fitting transparent Plexiglas interior sleeve. You can vacuum mold it hot to fit perfectly. This way, you don’t have to worry about wood movement, and water will not come in contact with the wood.” – Haim Loran
“There are special low viscose resins available specifically for sealing wood grain. I used it to seal one of my iroko [Editor’s Note: also known as African teak] window frames that had been subject to water damage. Have no idea how this would stand up to hot water, though.” – Mike Kilpatrick
Metric System: Easy as Counting to 10
Another question in the Q&A section, dealing with fractional measurements, brought forth Rob’s reminiscences of his first encounters with the metric system — and a response from an Australian reader who has some advice to those of us in the U.S. – Editor
“I, like Rob, grew up with the imperial system, but in my last year of high school – 1970 – Australia adopted the metric system and measuring EVERYTHING became a whole lot easier – as easy as counting from 1 to 10, literally!
“If I have one piece of advice for fellow American woodworkers, no matter how old you are, it is – learn the metric system. If you have half a brain – and I am positive the vast majority of you have – it should not take more than five minutes to get the hang of it and you, too, will wonder how you ever lived without it and why it was never introduced in the U.S.A.
“My wife is from Olympia, Washington, and has lived in Australia for 10 years. She is also a keen woodworker and was flabbergasted at how simple the metric system is. It was not long before it became second nature to her.
Consider adding 13″ 5/16th + 9” 7/64ths = 22 27/64ths (I think). The equivalent metric calculation would be: 338.14mm + 231.38mm = 569.52 mm – easy-peasy!!” – Bryon Miatke
This eZine reader wrote in to tell us what he’d done with our Victorian sled plan that he’d downloaded a while back. – Editor
“Some time ago, you had a plan for an old Victorian sled. Well, I finally got around to making one this past spring and donated it to our local food bank. They sold tickets on it and raised $820.00 on their raffle. Thanks for the plans.” – Lew
And another international reader responded to Rob’s comments that he was using our end-of-year snows in Minnesota as an excuse to stay in the shop – and out of the stores. – Editor
“Just a line to let you know that the snow here in Kent, England, has just about cleared, so it’s off to the sales as usual. We make too much of the snow here and, after a sprinkling of the white stuff, the country seems to come to a standstill. Us joiners still have to get about, though, to keep the business going. Thanks for such an interesting site and regards and a happy new year to you and all woodworkers everywhere.” – Dennis Marsh