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A cool corbel (triangle support) design to support your sauna bench

light steam graphic

Guest post series continues.  Enter Russ, with a triangle support system to hold up our sauna benches…

  1. Construct your bench, using 2” x 4” cross braces aligned with wall studs. You will need to offset these by ½” from the bottom edge of bench’s perimeter.
  2. Make a 16” x 16” sandwich of ¾” cut-offs from a plywood sheet which provides the core of your sauna door. Glue and screw three thicknesses together, for an overall width of 2.25”.

The corbels support the cross braces, and their overhangs. The horizontal arm of the corbel should be at least 2/3 the width of a bench, and preferably ¾. It’s like a cantilever!

corbels with studs in place
  1. Bisect the square on the diagonal, and cut corbels, leaving 2” tails. Use the Selkirk decorator rim as your guide.
  2. Shape the corbels, rounding edges and recessing screws, as this will be in the hot room.
  3. Predrill, and drill two ½ inch holes in the vertical leg of each corbel. The holes should be at least 1.5” deep. Distance between holes should be at least 4”.
  4. Cut 1.5” sleeves from .5” outer diameter aluminum tubing, and at least 3/8” inner diameter. Drive into holes in corbels. These function as sockets, and guard against wear and tear on corbels.
  5. Insert bolt end of 3/8” hanger bolt into sleeve. Place into position on back ledger, and mark holes with screw end on cedar over stud.
  6. Predrill and drill 3/16” holes through cedar and into stud, two for each corbel.
  7. Attach nut to bolt end of hanger bolt; use wrench to embed screw end through cedar and into stud.
  8. Repeat for each stud. Position each corbel on its two studs.
  9. Secure to wall and stud with one 6” screw on lower leg, and another with 6” screw into back ledger. These merely keep the corbels in position; the load they carry is on the studs.

    corbel engineered to carry the load

The result is strong support for the upper bench, with minimal sacrificing of brace support between benches. In other words, a novice will still be able to recline on the lower bench, while a veteran reclines on the upper bench.

finished product
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