Waterproofing Antique wood

Questions From Our VisitorsCategory: FinishingWaterproofing Antique wood
Martha Mayden asked 5 months ago

I bought a mid 18th century Mennonite Trencher (used for making bread dough). It is 5 feet long, 2 feet wide and about a foot deep. It has the original hand made wood base as well! So I’m going to make it into a sink for my new bathroom. (I know a shame to cut a whole in it for the drain! But who do you know that makes bread by hand and enough to feed an army? At least it will be used and cherished in its repurposed use). Soooo, the question is… what will be the best way to waterproof it? It has many years of oils from bread dough permeating it so nothing latex would work. I don’t want anything shiny as I want to keep the original look as much as possible. Would a linseed oil be enough protection when used as a sink? What are your thoughts? Thank you!

1 Answers
William Stewart Staff answered 3 months ago

Hello Martha

An interesting problem. I’m not a great fan of linseed oil when used near water, as it can harbor mildew and can stain from water. Danish oil or Tung oils are great, but you’ll need to reapply them frequently, and I’ve never tried them in a sink – only on a benchtop around a sink. To be honest, I’d go for a matte polyurethane, as it is the only thing that will give you the degree of protection you need. Water-based is clear and dries quickly, while oil-based takes longer to dry and can yellow slightly, but it offers a durable solution. It depends on how much repeat work you want to endure (oil finish) versus durability and ease of maintenance (polyurethane).

My last suggestion is one of the new sealers that uses nano-technology to seal wood for exterior use. Users swear by them while you get about a year’s effectiveness before needing to reapply. Here’s one that I’ve heard great things about.