Jim has never built anything major before. This project was his first attempt at building a structure from scratch. Though pretty handy with stuff, he’s never undertaken a build before. By day, Jim is an engineer for General Electric. In his spare time, Jim did all of this (and you can too):
Well, it’s a long, fun and a pricey journey, but it has all been worth it! And I must start by saying thanks to you, Sauna Times and the other sauna enthusiasts there who provided inspiration. Thanks!
Late February 2015 – Winter was gentle, and I started tearing down the playhouse which stood in the way.
Late March 2015 – Playhouse gone,
April – Get the sailboat ready
Late May 2015 – Power and water
June 2015 Site prep.
July to mid August 2015 – Build the shed. Need it weather tight before vacation.
Late August – Germany for Vacation
September -Roof it! Paint
October – Windows, trim…
November December – Rough inside, electrical , hot room floor, hearth, ceiling and wall heat shields
Early January 2016 – Get the hearth done, stove is coming.
January 5th -Stove is here!
January through March – Finish hot room cedar, benches, door, candle window.
Cold room finish.
April – Mostly done.
May June – Finishing touches.
June 17th – Inaugural Shed Majal Sauna Party! For available builders and contributors.
Shed or no shed: Jim tackled his sauna build from scratch. This is awesome and yet there’s no harm in hiring a shed company to build you a shed in your backyard, and after they leave and everybody’s happy, start building your sauna from there. Whichever way helps you get to the Finnished sauna promise land is one that I support.
Sauna build journey: Jim’s project took about a year to complete. Unlike a kitchen remodel, there’s no rush to complete. There is no stopwatch. There is no harm in spending a couple hours working on your sauna, then focusing on your spouse, kids, or day job. Your tools can rest in peace. BONUS: There’s no better way to de-frustrate yourself from filling out TPS reports than finish nailing tongue and groove cedar to a sauna hot room.
A few details: A veteran sauna builder can appreciate some of Jim’s attention to details. See how he used a water base primer around the drain? Check out the window trim, both exterior and interior. And how about that candle window? And another thing, the location of the sauna stove. The door with glass window faces the sauna bathers on the bench. nICE!
Lighting: Jim applied another Saunatimes signature hot tip. Note how he installed his three light switches in one spot, just outside his hot room. We call this the triple dimmer feature. In one spot, Jim can set the lighting tone in his hot room, changing room, and outside porch. This is a great thing. And sometimes, maybe after a fresh snowfall, it’s great to shut off all the lights, leave all electronics behind, and enjoy a sauna session with just one candle. This is how it rolled for generations before electricity, and this type of sauna session is as great today as it was back then.
Jim’s authentic sauna build: A welcome space for any Finlander visiting from afar, and a saunatimes.com two thumbs up.
To view all of Jim’s photos from his sauna build project, please click here.