Furnishing a Sauna Suite #14: Back Rests

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 03-06-2021 05:30 PM 323 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Attaching Bench Slats Part 14 of Furnishing a Sauna Suite series Part 15: Bench Back Rest Slats »


The back rests for the shower/changing room are similar to those in the sauna. These are made of ash.

I used the same template to make the braces. The final thickness of the brace is 1 1/4”. That’s enough to keep each brace from racking on the wall.

Stud spacing didn’t work to my favor, so I used screw-in drywall anchors to hold the braces to the wall.

The braces are ready to receive the slats. I pre-finished all the pieces and plan to shoot two 15-gauge finish nails at each joint. I’m not messing with glue with the number of joints involved. Cleaning all those would be cruel and unusual punishment!


One of my slats was a few inches too short and I was out of long wood. I chose to scarf a piece in to make it longer. This is a boat building technique that involves an 8 to 1 feather joint. I cut the feather joints on my band saw and cleaned them up with a smoothing plane. I then used my bench as a clamping surface. This is a super strong joint.

Here’s the final joint after two coats of varnish. It would be even less noticeable if I had color-matched the wood better. However, this is good enough for a back rest.

I’m varnishing 14 slats in a batch and applying the finish to the entire piece. The slats cure with the back side down so any smudges are not seen.


Nail the slats to the braces.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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