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Forum topic by MD3 posted 10-30-2020 12:32 PM 244 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MD3's profile


4 posts in 2764 days

10-30-2020 12:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: steam room soft wood teak ipe cedar poplar

Hi all,

Looking at building a bench in a steam room and stumbled on a few challenges:

Wood types
Seems like Red Cedar, Hemlock, and other softwoods are preferred in saunas, but this not the same.
Teak: $35 a board foot? Too spendy
Ipe: Don’t want to use in my shop, plus limited sizes.

Haven’t done anything yet like this that will need to stand up to major swings in heat and moisture, we are in Colorado and winters can be down to 13% humidity.

Marine Varnish?
An exterior Oil?

Any help will be much appreciated! Thanks much!


-- Matt Daley | MD3 |

5 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


3499 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 10-30-2020 01:16 PM

If your absolutely sure teak is out. Then I would looks a cypress. Bald cypress, Alaska yellow cedar and western red cedar. These three are really cypress. Ayc would be my first choice leave it unfinished it’s a very stable wood with high ring count.
Teak is really the king .

Good Luck

-- Aj

View PBWilson1970's profile


142 posts in 311 days

#2 posted 10-30-2020 02:03 PM

Luckily, the wood you choose isn’t going to see a lot of physical wear and tear so a softwood oughta be fine.

You’ve most likely thought about this, but I’d focus on the construction that allows for expansion and contraction the wood will go through as it goes through cycles of use.

It sounds like a cool project! I’ve heard great things about the health benefits of steam and high temperatures.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View JackDuren's profile


1367 posts in 1876 days

#3 posted 10-30-2020 02:14 PM

IPE…... limited sizes? Dnot want to use in your shop?

View MD3's profile


4 posts in 2764 days

#4 posted 10-30-2020 05:52 PM

Nice work!

Does Ipe come dimensional? Like 8/4, 5/4, etc. Talked to a few local lumber sources and they had nada.
How do you like working with it? What do you finish with?

IPE…... limited sizes? Dnot want to use in your shop?

- JackDuren

-- Matt Daley | MD3 |

View LesB's profile


2669 posts in 4360 days

#5 posted 10-30-2020 08:33 PM

For a steam room I would suggest: first, Redwood, then Cedar…western red or Alaska yellow. Cypress if it is available.

The only finish it might need is oil. BLO (boiled linseed) being the primary suggestion. Any top coat you apply will break down in no time with the heat and moisture. If it were mine I would not put a finish on, just let it develop a natural patina. If you want to renew the color you can use a deck brightener….oxalic acid.

-- Les B, Oregon

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