soap dish finish

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Forum topic by Ub1chris posted 06-27-2018 08:14 PM 780 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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133 posts in 1988 days

06-27-2018 08:14 PM

My daughter has a booth selling her soaps at a local craft fair, and wanted me to whip up a bunch of soap dishes. I’m about 100 pieces in and not sure which finish to use. Half of them are made of cedar and the rest are white oak. She got the idea I should use mineral oil for a finish but I’m not sure. Maybe BLO, or tung? I’m not sure. What do you guys think?


9 replies so far

View JADobson's profile


1448 posts in 2719 days

#1 posted 06-27-2018 08:38 PM

Something waterproof. So none of those ones, maybe epoxy. Marine spar varnish.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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13019 posts in 2988 days

#2 posted 06-27-2018 09:04 PM

It’s going to be wet all the time, in a high humidity environment, and have to withstand abrasive cleaners; so you’ll need something tough and waterproof. Epoxy is used on bar tops and they take a lot of abuse.

-- Rick M,

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5605 posts in 2959 days

#3 posted 06-27-2018 09:06 PM

A soap dish is going to get saturated with water and any film finish will peel, crack, get water spots, etc.. I’d just oil them or use Danish oil, something that can be easily renewed without have to strip the old finish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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133 posts in 1988 days

#4 posted 06-27-2018 11:19 PM

I’m with you Bondo. Was definitely planning for some type of oil finish. Spar varnish is overkill I say for a 3 dollar piece I’d wood. Ease of application is also important since I got a lot to do in short time.

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2507 posts in 2598 days

#5 posted 06-28-2018 12:26 PM

I think I would just go with mineral oil – quick and easy. Lot of time & $ to do a proper film finish. Have her tell buyers to put baby oil on them if the dry out.

View Tony1212's profile


375 posts in 2343 days

#6 posted 06-28-2018 01:42 PM

Is she selling the soap dishes too, or just used to display the soap she is trying to sell?

If it’s only display, then whatever looks the best or is easiest to use on a bunch of dish shaped wood.

Mineral oil is pretty good. It’s pretty much the “go to” finish on cutting boards that will be used in the kitchen. You could just put a lot of mineral oil in a small pan and throw the soap dishes in as you finish each one to soak up as much oil as possible.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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John Smith

2135 posts in 771 days

#7 posted 06-28-2018 02:01 PM

Chris – I have an Aunt that is a Thrift Store-aholic …...
one of the items in her bathroom is a wooden soap dish like you are talking about.
she found a turned teak wooden goblet and her husband cut the top off with the B/S
and she glued a small ceramic dish that fits perfectly on top – it looks as though it was
intentionally made that way. that way, the soap is not actually touching the wood.

you could turn the bases yourself to fit any cup saucer you have on hand.
you can find small dishes for 25 cents ea. at Thrift Stores and flea markets.
here is a crude example of my Aunt’s soap dish.

you just have to make the base wide so it is not easily tipped over.
a plastic dish will lessen the chance of breakage “when” it is tipped over.
your “Custom Handcrafted” soap dishes could be sold separately, if so inclined
or – just used to display the products in her booth.
using different styles of turnings and assorted dishes will give the customer
a more diversified choice. also, offer just the turned base if a customer has their own dish.
all kinds of marketing ploys can be used, limited only to your imagination.


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1227 days

#8 posted 06-28-2018 03:18 PM

Thanks for your post. I was wondering what project I could do this weekend. Turn a base and glue in a dish. Why didn’t I think of that?

-- Sawdust Maker

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John Smith

2135 posts in 771 days

#9 posted 06-28-2018 04:36 PM

YVW Shaver – now, the next question will be: “What can I use to Glue a Dish to Wood”.
I would use a silicone or construction adhesive product that is water resistant. (not epoxy).
I have an Asian supermarket near me that carries all sorts of Asian tableware at very reasonable prices.
like Japanese or Chinese themes of plants, fish, flowers, dragons, etc.
plastic that looks like Ming Dynasty porcelain at very cheap prices. (restaurant grade).
all kinds of good ideas – just use your imagination.


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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