Step 25: Appendix: Non-toxic Waterproof Wood Finishing

Tung oil is a traditional way to waterproof wood. It's oil extracted from tung nuts that cures when exposed to air. You spread it on the surface and allow it to soak in, and then wipe off the excess. It will still be damp, but if you leave it in a warm place for a few days it will cure and partially seal the wood. You repeat this process two or more times. More instructions, and the oil itself, are available from the Real Milk Paint Company. Note that most instructions are for using it for fine wood finishing. For just trying to make something waterproof, you can be less careful and put on thicker coats. Note that it cures faster if you leave it in a warm spot--I use the top of a radiator in the winter.

If you go with tung oil, note that there are lots of "tung oil finishes" that contain little or no tung oil, and use the name simply to mean it is a wipe-on finish, which may include many toxic ingredients. So be sure you are buying the real thing.

For an added layer of protection, you can add a few coats of shellac, which is a bug secretion applied like a paint by dissolving it in alcohol. Normal shellac doesn't do well in water--it turns white. But de-waxed shellac does much better in water. You can buy flakes of de-waxed shellac and dissolve them in denatured alcohol that you can buy at your local hardware store. Shellac.net sells a wide variety of shellac flakes and has further information about shellac. Unlike many other finishes, shellac sticks well on top of tung oil, at least if the tung oil is fully cured first (which might take a week or two).

I doubt the tung-oil/shellac combination is as waterproof as a good marine varnish, but it's kept my shower pedal looking good through daily showers for at least six months now.
<p>I know this is old, but I am all about having a toasty shower that keeps my walls from dripping . I am already looking into plexiglass for the top! Thank you!</p>
I finally made my shower booth cover and it works great! I used a piece of heavy duty clear flexible acetate type plastic that I found in a dumpster. (Motto: "The dumpster will provide") I taped it in place by taping it to the tiles and enclosure frame. My wife was skeptical at first but now she is hooked on the low energy, steamy warm comfort. It really does keep the bathroom drier. Water does not condense on the cover and drip like I worried it would. Thanks for the good idea.
<p>Six years later and he shower cover is still working great and providing comfort and keeping warm steamy air where it belongs. It also allows us to save energy and water by making it comfy to turn off the water while soaping up.</p>
<p>I enclosed my shower stall with a piece of acrylic and two quick clamps. Not only is the shower warmer, the rest of the bathroom stays dry during showers. </p>
i love the idea of a enclosed shower could you tile it if you want to
Have you run into any mold issues by enclosing the shower? Or do you just make sure the door is open when you're done? Great 'able, planning to do this in my new house i'm currently buying!
I do exactly what you say--I make sure to leave the door open. I think that's key.
Complete tweaked-out HotShower kit ready for easy installation at www.energev.com
Great Article. I use Low Flow shower heads all through my house. I have a lot of ideas on my site as well. Take a look.<br><br>http://www.electricity-saving-ideas.com<br>
Great idea and handy 'ible. Thank you. I'm hoping to adapt this to my bath.
Just what I needed for another project. Got all the steps. Only one thing missing: can you upload the mouse? Great job
Same great concept: instructions for the installation of the EnergyShower showercocoon at http://www.wikihow.com/Install-an-Energyshower-Shower-Cocoon
Some older houses may make banging sounds when the water is shut off quickly. This can easily happen form a valve like this even in homes with modern plumbing. This banging noise can break pipes and cause leaks in the plumbing in the house. This can be stopped inexpensively by putting in an air chamber before the valve (on the side where the water comes from). The noise is also refereed to as water hammer hammer.
If you want a finished product that fully encloses the shower, and utilizes the same great concept, you can buy it for $59.95 at <a href="http://www.energyshower.com" rel="nofollow">www.energyshower.com</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;Quick to put up, good looking, and can be installed and removed without damaging the walls.
What a great product!!! &nbsp;I'm so glad to see that!!! &nbsp;Thanks for pointing it out.
oh my goodness. ive been so embarassed to bring my friends from college to visit my parents house because the bathroom is so moldy from everyone taking steamy hot showers (even with the fan on) We've tried everything to fix the problem and nothing works. Im totally going to install this for fathers day!!!! Thanks for the idea!!!
It is not allowed by the water utility company to let hot water flow back in the cold water line; so your problem ( should ) not exist. Most old fashioned showers with 2 separated valves for hot and cold have non return valves build in. But instead of breaking up walls etc, why not install a thermostatic shower valve, that mixes your water to the right temp ( and volume too)? And spills also less water while one waits for the cold water to get up to temp in your old fashioned setup?
In buildings, at least the ones I've worked on, there are lots of things that "should not exist" that do! In my installation, I did not have to break into any walls to install the check (non-return) valve. The pipe was accessible in the basement. However, I would have had to break up the walls to install a thermostatic shower valve. So for me, what I did made sense. In buildings, every installation is different, so it won't be the same for everyone. I don't understand what you say about spilling less water. Don't you need to wait the same amount of time and dump the same water in either case?
I think Bruno might be referring to the fact that the thermostatic shower valves actually don't release water to the showerhead itself until it's @ the set temperature. Instead, they feed the hot back to the HWS until it's up to temp. That's my understanding anyway... could well be I'm wrong! ;-)
A fully enclosed shower is such a simple yet brilliant idea! Houses should be built like that. I will probably risk my parents calling me a hippy and go ahead and do this :D
Its not trying to make my shower flow Less its trying to get my shower to flow More, a WHOLE lot more.
another great showerhead is the Aquahelix. It uses about .5 gallons or 2 litres of water with good pressure. I find it cleans fine, although it is actually a little strong. They will take the head back if you don't like it. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.aquahelix.net/?gclid=CJPMgIuT25gCFQsMGgod3D0_bQ">http://www.aquahelix.net/?gclid=CJPMgIuT25gCFQsMGgod3D0_bQ</a><br/>
My wife and I installed an Oxygenics low flow shower head in our shower. We are pleased with it the hot water lasts longer because we are using less water to take a shower. We got our's here: www.energyefficienttechnologies.net
Thanks for the great ideas. I personally use a normal 2.5 GPM shower head but I installed a ball valve just before the shower head that allows me to turn the flow down to almost 0.9 GPM without any heat loss from dispersion. That way, I have a low flow shower head that doesn't disperse the flow.
I am very surprised by your dislike of the standard low flow heads. I have a product I bought at Walmart (I don't normally shop there but it was 1 in the AM when I bought this) called the great head. It is a simple little metal 4 dollar shower head with a shut off valve. I love it. My water heater is about done for and this has helped me conserve enough water that the heat lasts longer. I use it to take Navy style showers. I agree with what you say about it wasting heat through dispersion of water droplets, but im still surprised. I think for the most part many people would still benefit from such an inexpensive and miserly device.
I like it! I've done something like this, but I was in the situation of limited space for a water heater. Just try to use a 2.5 gallon heater and get a 12 minute shower out of it! That'll put you right into the extreme conservation mindset. In my case, I run about 0.7 gallons per minute. If I install a heat-exchanger, maybe I will get another 10 minutes? I had wanted a tankless heater, but those are too expensive and too big. My shower curtain is the kind that hangs on a track from the ceiling, kind've like what a hospital curtain hangs off of. I really want to put a skylight in the stall, with a way to open it after a shower so that natural heat rise will exhaust the warm moist air.
Another $$$ saving idea-check the HI-LO settings on your boiler. In my old house 140-120 degrees Fahrenheit was sufficient; in my current house 160-140 is required.
how about a voice activated water control.
Wow, I might actually try something like this. I'm already doing some stuff to <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ecojoes.com/top-three-ways-to-save-water-in-the-bathroom/">save on water</a>, but this would be good to keep the rest of the bathroom dry and let me shower in luxury.<br/>
Another trick that would go well with this is to run your cold water line coaxially with your drain line so that your waste water preheats your incoming water.
Yes--thanks for mentioning that. I'd been meaning to add a note. With the enclosure and the low-aeration showerhead, the drain water temperature is closer to what is coming out of the showerhead. There are commercial drain heat exchangers available at least four places: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://gfxtechnology.com/">one</a>, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.gfxstar.ca/englishindex.html">two</a>, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.renewability.com/">three</a>, and <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.retherm.com/">four</a>. A few of those may be different distributors of the same thing.<br/><br/>Perhaps we can get to a point where your body heat actually creates a net gain in the tank temperature each time you take a shower!<br/>
One more source: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.watercycles.ca/">Watercycle</a>.<br/>
You could also duct your existing exhaust fan to the top of the enclosure, and then turn it on when you get out leaving the shower slightly cracked to pull the majority of the moist air from the stall. This would help prevent raising the humidity and causing the A/C to work harder.
Ducting the exhaust to the top is a good idea. A lower-tech approach that I use sometimes is to run the cold water for 30 seconds or so before I open the door, to chill the air and condense a bunch of the moisture out. When I have time and am concerned about humidity (I don't have A/C), I sometimes also squeegee the walls so that water on them goes down the drain instead of evaporating into my house. But that's not really necessary--the shower dries quickly anyway, without a noticeable effect on the overall house humidity.
Really great idea about enclosing the shower! When I was young my parents had an almost-completely-enclosed shower, that was great for keeping the warmth in. My current apartment has one of those combination bath-showers, which has a HUGE frontal area for cold air to get in. I think I'll do this.
Great Instructable! Now I'm motivated to enclose my shower and enjoy the steamy comfort while keeping the bathroom dry. Done along with the other instructables about a little solar water preheat, turning the water heater down to "pilot" and insulating it, I'd be showering at half the gas use or less. Sometimes the combination of solutions is even more workable together than each is separately.

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