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I want to make some wooden soap dishes for Christmas gifts. My main question is: How do you finish them?
I would probably be using pine or is there a better wood to use? I'm also thinking of using door trim. What do you guys who make soap dishes use to finish the wood so wet soap can be constantly put on the wood?
Thanks so much.
well, i used marine grade poylurethane on the wood trim in my tub. it seems to be holding up pretty fair.
My DH makes them for me out of old fir flooring.

We have a shop here that you take old reusable house parts to and you can buy stuff at very good prices. I've been getting the fir flooring for about .30 a foot. he planes them down and cuts off the tongue and groove. then cuts in the grooves and gives it a bit of a curve where the soap sits.

I don't finish them with anything. leave them natural. I tell people when it gets soap build up, wash it off and if it gets scuzzy, go at it with a bit of steel wool and it will be fine.

another option if you want a natural finish is teak oil. you can get it at a hardware store.

I really like the look, you can see some old nail holes.
Funny you should post this, I just started having my work neighbor make these.

I use any ole wood, pine should be fine. The ones I buy off the internet are pine. I finished these with Watco stain - the same stain we used on all the furniture DH built in his youth smile.gif and instead of polyurethane (which would be good) I sprayed clear acrylic on them - the same stuff people use to waterproof labels. Don't know how it will hold up yet
We use cedar for our soap dishes. It's quite a bit more expensive then pine, but cedar is often used for outdoor furniture because it weathers so well.

If you want to seal them, I think the very best thing to use is mineral oil. It soaks into the wood, and prevents water from getting into the grain and swelling the wood. Plus it leaves them with a nice natural finish (and it's cheap). This tip comes from my dad, who makes those wooden salad bowls and cutting boards. He treats them all with mineral oil (because who wants to eat off of polyeurathane). biggrin.gif
Those are really nice and I like the text underneath your gift baskets a lot. Sounds so friendly and human. Should get you a lot of trusty customers hopefully.
After the Rain
Watcha talkin' about Olivia ?????? 8)
The soap dishes at the gift basket section at :-)
After the Rain
OK laugh.gif

and I agree

Where would one find unscented pure mineral oil? I have some for a cutting board, but I've been searching around for a new bottle, and all I can find is the baby powder scented ones. The bottel I currently have cost $5 for 8 oz at soem gourmet kitchen store. TIA.
What about a good old recipe for wood, like 60 % Olive boiled with 40 %beeswax? Good for floors, furnitures, dishes.... and no prob to get it.
I use cedarwood, Rebecca said, it's a bit more pricey but they don't have to be sealed and hold up great in the shower, by the sink, etc. I've also used cypress (for the same reasons I use cedar) and that works well, too......but it's much easier to get cedar here locally. They are great for gift sets and such, but folks end up wanting to buy just the dishes, too!
oh, olive wood and oak is great too, when it comes to that, not to speak of ebony or cocobolo, BUT they are all very hard to work on. Fir does have advantages when it comes to tools or a decent workbench to strip the wood onto. (wish I had one)
Any pharmacy should carry it or be able to order it for you, and for a LOT less then the expensive kitchen shops. The unscented stuff is used as a laxative, so it should be found in that section (although I've also seen it stocked near the witch hazel and rubbing alcohol, so you may need to ask). biggrin.gif
Thanks Olivia!
I went and looked at it again, been so long since I looked at my own site... and one of the dishes in the baskets yo ucan see a nail hole. We are big on recycling in Oregon.
The woodworker guy in the cube next to me at work (who might be making dishes for me) just turned me on to another source that I haven't checked out yet. He said we had a building supply in the next town that has all sorts of wood molding, and that they have wide versions. All I'd have to do is cut it to length and sand, wouldn't even have to groove it at all....
I went and got some molding at Lowes and just chopped it into 4" lengths:

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This is the side with the humps, and the other side has the grooves. I used mineral oil on them, but I haven't actually used any of them myself, so I don't know how well that holds up. Very easy to make!
Well, heck, I couldn't find anything like that at our Lowe's, all they had was the 1.5 inch wide stuff....hmmm, guess I'll go back there at lunch and take another look.
OK, took another look, finally found it - thanks Linda! Didn't realize they were 7' long, was looking in the wrong place. So I can get 3 per foot, that's 21, so they come out to be .70 each smile.gif A nice local alternative if I don't want the fancier cut ones...
so, how do you cut the grooves on the top? I just can't figure that out... great idea!
Judi - the molding at Lowes or Home Depot already comes with those groves in it, all you do is cut to length. HTH
I make mine out of poplar -- it is denser than pine and doesn't have knots or funky grains. It holds up very well to water / soap, I don't put any kind of finish on them. Just wash clean with a small brush when they get soapy.

The way I make mine is to buy lengths of poplar strips, 1X4 (not actual size, you know). I then set my table saw blade height to cut 1/2 way through the wood and cut 4 or 5 grooves lengthwise on one side (what will become the top), spaced evenly across. Then I cut the long length into short pieces (3" long) and cut 2 grooves crosswise on the "bottom" of each dish... The grooves intersect those on the bottom and create drainage holes.
This is interesting. Thanks everybody. I guess I thought all wood had to have a finish or it would rot. I will play around with some molding scraps that I got from a friend.
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