Furnishing a Sauna Suite #2: Building the Cedar Sauna Benches

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 12-09-2020 09:57 PM 720 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Overall Plan Part 2 of Furnishing a Sauna Suite series Part 3: Sand and Oil the Sauna Benches »

Support Cleats

The sauna can hold four people, so the benches need to be strong enough to support their weight. The author suggested building support boards in the framing to anchor the bench support cleats.

I measured and sketched their exact locations before closing up the walls. Here are the support cleats for the left side.

...and the right side. These are fastened with #10×3 1/2” GRK deck screws. Notice the upper vent. The lower vent is located under the sauna stove. These vents create an air flow to bring fresh air into the sauna.

Upper Bench

The upper bench is 20” deep. It’s mounted 18” above the lower bench. 2×4 cross pieces hold the the 2×4 seating surface at the correct spacing. I used GRK #9×2 1/2” screws to fasten them.

I didn’t pay the “ransom” for clear cedar. We’ll see if I regret that eventually, but I bought all the wood for the interior walls (I cut the tongue and grooves myself on a router table) and the benches for only $1,000.

The front of the bench is strengthened by a 2×4 installed vertically. I recessed holes to hold the face board in place to the first board with the same screws. The back ends of the cross pieces rest on a cleat that is fastened to studs in the back wall during final installation.

Lower Bench

The lower bench is of similar construction, only two inches narrower. It’s mounted 18” above the duckboard floor.

The lower bench receives a board laid on edge to strengthen it at the front and the back since it’s not fastened to a wall at the back.

Checking the Fit

I fit the benches with about 3/16” of play in order to install them without marring the interior walls.

We tried out the sauna two nights in a row. We took the benches out today since it’s time to sand them and apply two coats of paraffin oil to provide a bit of sweat and water protection.

Sand and oil the sauna benches.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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