CUSTOM WOODEN BATHTUBS: THE NO-NONSENSE FINISH
Bath-in-Wood tubs are finished in a sixteen-coat process. We start with ultra low viscosity epoxy that encapsulates the wood fibers in a tough, waterproof shield. Then, combining antique French polishing techniques with 21st century chemistry, we apply thin layers of Marine quality Polyurethane Gel, hand rubbed with fine cotton pads to create a rich, deep-sealed, satin matte finish that is slip resistant and hard wearing for Long Life Protection. This means that maintenance is exactly the same as for any other tub, normal cleaning with a non-abrasive detergent.
We have been asked to supply tubs which are not sealed in this way, especially when built of Teak because it is very resistant to decay and can be maintained with oils, as for example in garden furniture. There are some practical problems with this approach to bathtubs. Most wood, even when very smooth, is still textured and becomes more so as it goes through wet and dry cycles. The texture traps tiny flakes of skin, hair and other human detritus and if the wood is oiled it can attract even more adhesions, while at the same time creating a slight residue on the surface of hot water. Your tub should be sealed to make it as pure and hygienic as it is beautiful.
Japanese Cypress (Hinoki), is much used for tubs in Japan where its scent, released by hot water is appreciated, but you cannot seal Hinoki without cutting off the scent. Hinoki is also a softwood which means that it will shrink if allowed to dry out, causing tubs to leak. Published pictures of Hinoki tubs in use, clearly show large areas of black staining because they are not sealed.