fbpx

Building sauna benches

There are a few different ways to build sauna benches, and here’s a play by play on my favorite.

Keep in mind:

  1. Hide the knots
  2. Hide your screws
  3. Make your benches about 1/4″ less in length than your actual wall to wall dimensions, so you can get them in place.

Supplies:

  1. 2×4 cedar
  2. 2 3/4″” wood screws

Tools:

  1. table saw
  2. miter saw
  3. drill

 

build frame out of 2x4s
Build your frames: using 2x4s. I like 24″ wide benches: two 2×4’s + five 2×4″s + spacing = 24″”.
Rip a 2×4, giving you a few 2″” x 21″” pieces to support your interior decking.

 

Screw in the cross supports from underneath, 1 1/2″” below the frame.

 

 

Cut and screw in a 2×3″ inside the two framed ends. Test the height against your inside decking so it lays flush to outer frame.

 

Cut your 2×4 decking to length. You don’t have to wear shoes unless OSHA inspector shows up
Lay out all your decking so you can choose the better sides
Set and space your decking, screwing from underneath. Consider a bead of wood glue and 2 3/4″” screws. Don’t get glue on your feet.

In your hot room, screw in 2×4 headers along the back wall and 2 sides  28 1/2″ from the floor (note the location of your studs, screw through your t&g cedar and into the studs behind.. use 3 1/2″ screws).  Set your upper bench on top of your header and secure underneath with a couple screws .

For your lower benches, make a couple sets of legs 12 1/2″ tall.  Set your lower bench on your frame with a couple screws.

Prevent wicking by screwing down spacers under your bench legs.

Your lower benches will sit at 16″ (12 1/2″ + 3 1/2″) and your upper benches at 32″.

 

21 thoughts on “Building sauna benches”

  1. Very observant. The photos on this post show me building sauna benches with 1×4 stock, which is an earlier iteration of my sauna bench building. But I recommend building sauna benches by using 2x4s. They are more sturdy than 1x4s and feel really good on the buttox region. You may have to pick through a pile at Home Depot to find clear boards, but it’s worth it.

    My ebook will walk you through the sauna bench building process (using 2x4s).

  2. Maybe this is blasphemous, but I am really interested in getting a sauna with benches that can fold up and out of the way to allow for stretching and light exercises (at least two of these types of saunas are advertised as “hot yoga” saunas). Any thoughts on these (and if they could accommodate an upper and lower bench design)?
    Your site is great, by the way!

  3. Thanks Maria. Not blasphemous but thank you spell check!. Two thoughts come to mind for you. 1) at Russian banyas, some bench sections are hinged so that the person doing the vihta/vennick treatment can stand in front of the person receiving the treatment lying on the bench above. check: https://www.saunatimes.com/sauna-talk/sauna-talk-bill-trotter-general-manager-chicago-sweatlodge-describes-for-us-the-behind-the-scenes-sweatlodge-experience-between-sauna-rounds/

    2) When i build saunas, i advise that the low bench be built such that it can be on a track, able to slide under the upper bench. This is a great system for cleaning, etc. You can modify this technique for your hot yoga adaptation. https://www.saunatimes.com/building-a-sauna/get-off-your-butt-and-lets-make-some-new-sauna-benches/

    And I know you are careful, Maria, to be suspect of saunas advertised as “hot yoga” saunas. Especially from those websites that are optimized to only move widgets, as well as those websites that falsely call infrared light bulb closets a “sauna.”

    Thanks for finding and enjoying saunatimes.com. Just like with striving for world peace, sharing free relevant information is my reward.

  4. Nice bench!! How do you attach the four 2x4s to make the frame? I understand exposed fasteners is a “no-no”. I was thinking about recessing screwheads and making dowels to cap them, but I am concerned the dowels will not hold up under the heat conditions of a sauna. Thank you in advance for your response.

  5. 2 3/4″ screws from underneath. I love this bench design. It has been refined over many builds, and i’m at the point where I don’t build sauna benches any different. If there is a better sauna bench design, i’d like to know about it.

  6. Glenn,
    Thank you so much for your reply and your valuable insights! You’re correct that I’m wary of “yoga saunas” – which are mostly marketing. But I am inspired to incorporate a couple of features, like the hinged benches I saw in one, though I am struggling with how to attach a hinge so as to avoid any chance of skin-metal contact, and how to adequately support a hinged bench when it is folded down for sitting. I can envision the lower bench which slides on a track back (and perhaps even lifts off the track entirely and can be stored against the back wall, if the track leaves a gap along the back wall). I suppose this is why I did not become an engineer…!

  7. Glenn:

    You said “if there is a better sauna bench design [you would] like to know about it.”

    Go to bouldersauna.com and click on “benches”. It is the same 2×4 build as yours, but it is frameless. It looks like they built it on short pieces of car decking (T&G).

    Anyway, I think it looks nice, too. But, I don’t know if it is “better”; though.

    You also said you make the 2×4 frame by screwing the boards from underneath. I am not sure I understand. Just looking at the two short end pieces on the frame, I can see how you could place one screw at an angle underneath and drill it through the end piece into the long piece of the frame, but I don’t see how you can get two screws in there. Do you drill the second one in from the side of the end piece (i.e., the side that faces the wall???

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!!!

  8. Hello,
    I want built my sauna, i want set some panel horizontal and leave a small space in between each panel.
    is it bad if i use some abachi wood for benches for the wood panel?
    i have an image showing a wall made of horizontal panel, but i wander what is behind , a black film ? there is a 2 cm space in between each horizontal panel.
    i live in spain and look for wood for panels online and its not easy, any keys?

  9. if you leave a small space between each panel, i’m wondering about moisture and all that business. We want to encourage air flow and no trapping.

    Abachi: I have not worked with this species. If it were me, i’d get a piece of it and bring it into an existing sauna and see how well or bad it absorbs the heat. That’s my suggestion.

  10. Hey had a weird puzzle question for you. I am reclaiming an old outdoor sauna and the benches were in 3 pieces that I’m not sure how to put back together. The guy I got the wood from said it was just a single upper and lower setup. I’m assuming two pieces go together and wanted your take.

    http://tinypic.com/r/fcr441/9

  11. Jon: Forgive, but I don’t know what tails or heads to make of that bench configuration on the wall. Maybe get a neighbor or friend over to help the scratching of head/diagnosis. Sorry I couldn’t help. You’ll get there.

  12. pic is the bench pieces on the ground, looks like they are laid on top of other cedar pieces, maybe for a wall? i would assume the piece in the top of the pic goes wit the middle piece, that would give two benches of equal width, an upper and lower bench. maybe those two pieces are used for the bottom bench, with the three-latt piece ‘beneath’ the upper bench and can be removed for easy cleaning in the space behind the lower bench? that three-latt piece may also be a backrest, with the nine-latt piece as a top bench and the six-latt piece as a lower bench but functioning more like a foot rest.

  13. Regarding sauna bench reassemble question and photo, here’s my opinion:
    Wider one is upper bench, narrower one is bottom bench, skinny one is back rest to mount on wall. I’m assuming the photo shows them laying on a wall section, and they are not attached or anything.

  14. yes, Ricardo…. All the stock to make sauna benches is 2×4. The only thing we need to do is rip a couple 2x4s at 2″ to use as underbracing so all is “flush up.” You got it!

  15. Is the type of screws or nails used in a sauna important? Zinc plated acceptable? Or is it only stainless or galvanized?

  16. Screws: I”ve had no problem with standard deck screws. They are plated and rated for outdoor use (high wet/moisture). And these are all hidden as you know.
    Nails: I use standard finish nails in my nail guns. As they recess a fraction of an inch, i’ve never had issues with rusting or bleeding rust marks down the wall.

  17. Thanks Glen. I have really enjoyed your writing style. I have literally laughed out loud at your dry humor. I’m within 8 hours of completion of my 1st sauna and wanted to thank you for your ebook. It was really good and helpful.

Leave a Comment