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Authentic Sauna Blog

A New Zealander transplant to Westchester, New York builds a sauna in his garage

Guest post series continues.  Please welcome Ken from Westchester, NY who builds his own sauna:

Hi Glenn,
I bought your Ebook earlier in the year and used that as the main source of info to construct my own home sauna. I was thinking about posting about the experience i had with photos but wasn’t sure how to do that and more to the point if it would be wanted as I’m sure you have many builders of saunas in the same situation.
I’d appreciate your reply but i would like to say that the project worked out very well even though it took longer and cost more than I anticipated but was totally worth the effort.Regards,Ken

What got you compelled to build your own sauna?

I had only been in a sauna a few times and that dated back to New Zealand around 40 years ago (I came to live here permanently in 1986 and became a citizen a week before 9/11). I enjoyed the sauna experience and because I like carpentry projects.  I started looking into building my own early this year.
Sauna framing with Ken.

How did you find saunatimes and give us a few examples where the DIY ebook helped you out?

I spent a lot of time on the web and came across Sauna Times searching under the usual key words. The really important pieces in the EBook that helped  were that it was OK to use knotty cedar, to use the bubble foil vapor barrier and the design of the sauna door.

Foil bubble wrap with Ken: sauna building hot tip #4.
I am also pleased that the ebook advised me to make the top bench wider than most plans advise.  My sauna is 5 X 6 and the top bench is 22in wide.
Generously wide upper sauna bench. “If there’s a better design for a sauna bench, i’d like to know about it.”

What 1-2 challenges were biggest for your sauna build?

Finding a source for the Western Red Cedar T & G took a lot of research and hours on the computer. I live in Northern Westchester NY and the source for the cedar turned out to be almost on my backdoor. Dain’s & Sons in Peekskill (maybe 6 miles away) had perfect kiln dried cedar for the paneling and 2 X 4 for the benches and at a lower price and for $30 delivery. I found the finishing parts like hanging the door and building the window plus the trimming a pain. Mainly because it was near to being finished and was time consuming.

What aspect to your sauna are you most proud of?

My career has been working with fine wine in New York city and I wanted to have some aspect of that in my sauna. As you will see from the photos the exterior is decorated with case ends of a lot of great wines plus the painted side is the color of wine. The main thing though is that the interior looks like a sauna and smells of the beautiful cedar and it works like a dream.
Sides of wine crates: a nod to Ken’s favorite wineries.

Any regrets or do overs?

The only do over is that I should have made it 6ft 6in wide. I am 6ft 2 inches and for economy I thought 6ft would be a good compromise. I forgot to take into account the 1 1/2 in of the paneling which means that i always need to fold my knees to lay down.

Ken’s garage sauna ready for action.

If  you could have a mobile sauna anywhere in the world, where would you bring it and go sauna?

On a vineyard in Central Otago,  New Zealand.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those interested in building their own sauna in a garage, check out a sauna in the garage that doesn’t cut any corners by clicking here.

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