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He opens his mind in the time of corona, and builds his own kick ass authentic backyard sauna

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Guest post series continues. Pleased to introduce Gordon, who undertook his own backyard sauna build with WIT (Will, Information and Time). You can check out this formula here, which has been an inspiration for many fellow sauna builders to, well, DIY their own kick ass authentic sauna. Enter Gordon:

It took me a week longer than I expected but I also finished my outdoor shower which is awesome! Duck board flooring and bench came out nice as well. She is ready now for the cold Vermont snowy winter.  

My Name is Gordon Chamberlain my wife name is Giselle Chamberlain. We live in Dummerston, Vermont, which is a small town close to Brattleboro, Vermont. We love the outdoors like to hike Kayak and Ski and we love to Sauna! As we get older we find regular Sauna use helps our bodies and helps with pain.

Looking from the changing room into Gordon and Giselle’s hot room

What compelled you to build your own sauna? 

My wife and I have been going to our local public facility in Brattleboro, VT for a number of years and really enjoy our Sauna’s. When COVID-19 hit all that went away including our music festivals and concerts. Not to mention other events like graduations, Weddings, vacations and other social events.  With all this new found time I had I started to plan my Sauna build at the end of March 2020. Not knowing where to start I made some rough sketches of some of my ideas and a rough idea of materials. I am not a builder but do have some basic carpentry skills and tools. As I got more into it things were becoming a little overwhelming on how to proceed with this project.

I did more research I came across the Saunatimes Website and Glenn’s eBook on how to build  a  your own sauna. For the money it seemed like a good investment. Even if I only got one or two things from it, I figured that it would still be worth it.  As it turned out that eBook helped me all the way through my Sauna build. Easy to follow and understand step by step during each phase of the project.  I could not have successfully completed this project without that eBook.

How did you find saunatimes and give us a few examples of how the DIY eBook helped you out

I found Sauna Times through a Web search on how to build you own sauna. I was so new to home saunas, really had no idea of what an outdoor home sauna should be. My Sauna experience up to this point was the use of public saunas at our facility, or at resorts we’d stay at. I had seen some prefab and barrel saunas along with far infrared saunas at local expos. The thought of sauna a with a changing room and cement floor with a drain did not even cross my mind. These, I must say, are the two biggest things that opened my mind to how home saunas should be used.

Gordon and Giselle’s hot room

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

Everything was a challenge. At first, not being a builder by trade made things intimidating. I must say though, I found these challenges refreshing and rewarding in a number of ways. First, building my own sauna made me focus on my project.  Not all the negative things that were going on with Covid-19 and political fighting. This was constructive and positive rather than negative and destructive. This was my escape from our nation’s issues. I found it to be very therapeutic. All the while, I was finding myself dreaming about that first sauna experience. The biggest challenge however was to plan for that next saw cut. Not just the saw cut, but how to use the wood most efficiently with little waste. Doing this forced me to think two steps beyond that cut. That being said, however, I have a good amount of cedar for starter kindling for the Kumma Stove!

What aspect to your sauna build are you most proud of? 

I found this whole sauna build experience to be very rewarding. When I look at my new sauna, or when sitting on the bench inside, it gives me such a feeling of pride that I built it. That feeling of accomplishment, that I built this sauna all by myself with the help of Glenn’s Sauna’s eBook. I am proud of my reuse of an old window that I made into the transom window. I am also proud of he big picture window. When I look at the benches or the candle window they make me happy as well.

Gordon and Giselle’s hot room with candle and big picture window

Any regrets or do overs? 

No regrets or do overs. I love my sauna. More importantly, my wife loves the sauna. It’s the perfect size for both of us. As we use the sauna more, I am finding things that I would like to add. My wife wants a privacy fence around the deck. I agree. When sitting outside between rounds, it would be nice to have the fence. That being said, we live in a remote area 5 miles up a dirt road on a small mountain top. But you never know who is going to stop by unexpectedly. If I were to change anything it would be to add an extra foot or two to the changing room. The privacy fence will kind of address that with our 8 foot deck. Also, I want to add a tub for cold water submersion. That will have to wait till next year.
A generous hot room with Kuuma water tank

If you could bring a mobile sauna anywhere in the world, where’s the first place that comes to mind?

I would like to bring a mobile sauna to the coast of Maine. Acadia national park would be awesome! I could see myself taking a nice sauna on the shores of Acadia then jump into the cold frigid coastal waters of Maine. Afterwards having a nice cup of Lobster bisque soup. Being a Vermonter and skier as well, I could see having a fleet of mobile saunas at the base of the mountain. I bet there would be a waiting line for that, at the end of the day.

Glenn, also just want to let you know I find your Sauna Talk Podcast to be very informative, I enjoy listening to them. The time and effort you put towards helping others realize their dream is awesome. Your Website and Podcast have opened my mind to a whole new world of sauna experience. For that I thank you much appreciated.

Thank you

Gordon Chamberlain

Gordon, out front of his own backyard sauna that he build all himself
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4 thoughts on “He opens his mind in the time of corona, and builds his own kick ass authentic backyard sauna”

  1. Looks great! I plan to start my build when the snow melts and ground thaws this spring. I am also planning to have a mono slope roof to go with my house. I noticed you still kept the ceiling flat instead of slanting it as well. Why did you go this route? Does anyone know or have an opinion on if it is possible to use 2x6s to make the roof and follow these for the ceiling inside the sauna insulating the cavity of course?

  2. Nice build! I too started a sauna build late spring after covid hit too! And finished it the weekend before Thanksgiving! Although my build is quite functional and I love it, your craftsmanship is more evident. I had not used a power tool in my life and had no carpentry skills whatsoever, but I wanted a sauna that badly. Did research on building a shed and realized I could do this, and with Glenn’s eBook, I did do it! I could workout but couldn’t sauna. For 20+ years I ended my workout with a stretch in some sort of hot room and all of a sudden that was gone. Now I sit next to my Kuuma Stove multiple days a week and relish in my accomplishment! Saunas are a blessing!

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