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Question

My benchtop has osmo oil and around the sink and in areas of high use, the finish is coming away. We have reapplied the oil, we have sanded and reapplied the oil and lastly throughly cleaned (with osmo cleaner), sanded and reapplied. Although the oil appears to be absorbed, almost immediately, it returns to the previous state. Any ideas?

Woodsolutions Answer +

It’s not possible for us to have a detailed understanding of all the finishes on the market. We don’t carry out our own tests and we are not familiar with Osmo Polyx. If you are not satisfied with its performance perhaps it’s something to take up with the supplier. Osmo Polyx appears to be an oil-based finish. As a general rule we don’t recommend oils or waxes for areas where contact with water is likely. In our opinion the most satisfactory treatment for timber benchtops adjacent to sinks is polyurethane, applied to all surfaces including the edges of cutouts and the underside of the bench, ie. a complete envelope. Polyurethane forms a barrier against water and liquid spills, can be wiped clean easily, and is resistant to heat. However, if you intend to switch to polyurethane, note that any residual wax or oil may interfere with its curing, so all traces of the previous coating must be removed.

Question

I am constructing a "dry" sauna, heated by infrared lamps and considering using blackbutt as the lining timber.
Could blackbutt be appropriate? My requirements are that any timber used cannot have been treated with any chemicals, as these could possibly leach out in the heated environment. Framing timbers would be of untreated pine.

Given that the temperature range within an infrared sauna is generally only between 40 and 60 deg. Celsius with no direct moisture exposure other than human perspiration, would not the blackbutt be stable under those conditions?

My preference for blackbutt lining is purely aesthetic.

Woodsolutions Answer +

In view of the heat generated in a sauna, only the most dimensionally stable timbers are recommended. The usual choice is western red cedar since it doesn’t need preservative treatment and doesn’t exude resin when exposed to heat. Most importantly it has very little tendency to shrink or swell with changes in moisture content. We feel blackbutt is unlikely to show the same dimensional stability, although an excellent timber in other respects.

If the temperature ranges from 40° to 60°C in the sauna, the timber will dry out – some moisture would actually help! While the sauna is in use the timber will lose moisture to a level below normal ‘equilibrium’. Then when the sauna is turned off, the timber will regain moisture from the air to again come to equilibrium with its surroundings. This losing and gaining of moisture is what causes swelling and shrinkage, hence the need for a particularly dimensionally stable timber in saunas.

Having said that, you are welcome to try blackbutt if you prefer it aesthetically, it’s just not our best recommendation. Of course the extent of swelling and shrinkage will depend on how long the sauna is in use, and for how long the higher end of the temperature range is maintained.

 

Question

I've embarked on DIY refinishing pine 14cm tongue & groove floors. After having a few broken boards replaced I notice a board splitting from each end.
Can it be repaired, and how, or should it be replaced?

Woodsolutions Answer +

The NSW Heritage Office has a comprehensive data sheet on repairing timber floors, and replacing boards where necessary. You can find it here: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/heritagebranch/heritage/maintenance54tonguegroove.pdf.

 

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