Below is a guest post from sauna builder and saunatimes reader Jim. Enter Jim:
I have had a place adjoining the location of my spa designated for a sauna for several years. My new year’s resolution was to finally build it this year. I became a fan of saunas as a kid. My dad built one at our house, which we used often. When I was in high school we moved, but he built another sauna at the new house. This past Fall he died very suddenly of pancreatic cancer. So, my new sauna is a salute to my dad. And, because of that, I did not want to compromise on any aspect of the project.
Deciding the floor plan and door location for the sauna took me some time before coming to the obvious conclusions. Getting quality clear redwood for the project was a challenge. My local lumber yard had to custom order the clear redwood ship lap I used on the outside of the sauna. When it arrived, several pieces were not suitable for use. Then, I had to wait a few weeks for more to be made and shipped. I had similar problems with the clear redwood T&G I used on the inside. I wanted to build an attractive walkway around the sauna, but couldn’t decide how to go about it. I was able to salvage enough of the redwood plank crating material the siding boards were shipped on to make what turned out to be a really nice looking plank walkway around the front and side of the sauna.
I was having a hard time deciding how to go about building the door of my sauna. I found the idea that I went with on your website. I built it with ¾” marine grade plywood, sandwiched by vertical Cedar T&G. It is a little on the heavy side, but I love the solid, substantial feel of it. Sauna Times also helped to reassure me that I had the right idea on several other aspects of the project. I also enjoyed reading about how other sauna enthusiasts use their saunas, in terms of their specific sauna regimen.
I decided on a Finlandia FLB 60, 6,000 watt stainless steel heater, which is definitely ample heating capacity for a 5’ by 7’ sauna. I am glad I went with the bigger heater. I can have the sauna up to 200F within 20 or so minutes of turning it on. I find that I am able to think very clearly while sweating in my sauna. Just since finishing building it a month or so ago, I have already had a couple “Aha” moments while in there. In fact, I came up with the idea of using the crating planks to make a walkway while using the sauna.
Thanks, Sauna Times, for your interesting and helpful website.
Arroyo Grande, CA