Furnishing a Sauna Suite #8: Processing Rough Lumber

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 01-24-2021 02:01 AM 470 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: End Back Rests Part 8 of Furnishing a Sauna Suite series Part 9: Routing Leg Mortises »

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We finished tiling the shower and installing the shower door recently. It’s back to furnishing the sauna suite! Wow, tiling took a lot longer than I thought it would, but we did make it more complicated by including two double-opening niches!

The Shower/Changing Room

I’m focusing my efforts on completing the benches and table in the shower/changing room before proceeding to the the vanity base in the toilet room.

View looking in from the entry. The closet and the shower are to the left. The tape on the floor shows the approximate dimensions of the benches. The back wall bench is 78” long and 21” deep. The side wall bench is 63” long and 21” deep. Each bench will have a back rest above it that runs the full length of the wall. The back rest will be of similar design to the one I installed in the hot room of the sauna suite.

View of shower and closet from near corner of the room.

An ash table will replace the camping table. The fan will rest on a low shelf below the table. I’ll display one of my Dad’s turnings on the top of the table.

View of bench area from inside the shower.

Processing Rough Lumber

I had a total of over 120 board feet of rough ash available for this project. It’s a mixture of black ash and white ash. The black ash has a wonderful, rich, red hue to it, while the white ash is more blonde and slightly yellow. That’s not ideal, but I think I can lay out the boards to make it work.

My process for preparing rough lumber is to:
1. Examine the board to determine if there is a significant twist in it.
2. If there is, cut the board closer to final size.
3. True one face on the jointer.
3. Plane the opposite face.
4. True on edge on the jointer.
5. Rip the other edge on the table saw.
6. Square one end on the chop saw.
7. Cut to final length.

Thankfully the wood was quite straight and I was able to plane both faces without having to true a face on the jointer. This saved me a lot of work. That’s about 120 gallons of planer chips in the foreground!

The stack on the table saw includes all the wood for the tops and frames for both benches, minus the legs. I have a couple of nice 8/4 pieces that will easily produce 16 legs for the project as well as the back rest forms.

The 1 1/2”pieces in the foreground are the back rest slats.


Continue to cut parts for the benches and the table. Begin cutting mortise and tenon joints.

-- Mark, Minnesota

2 comments so far

View azwoodworker's profile


15 posts in 2787 days

#1 posted 02-01-2021 11:00 AM

Nice shower. On your steps to planning after you rip your second edge. Do you use the planner much for planning the second edge side for width if you are doing multiple of the same size? I follow similar steps and looking at using the planner for the final width for better accuracy.

View DustyMark's profile


483 posts in 3075 days

#2 posted 02-02-2021 08:33 PM

Thanks. No. Once I establish a good edge, I simply rip the other edge on the table saw. I’ve got a pretty good table saw fence that produces an accurate cut.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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