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My rustic sauna made from repurposed wood for under $350

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Guest Post series continues:  Welcome Eric from Crosby/Deerwood, 20 minutes from Brainerd, MN and a couple few hours from Minneapolis, MN, USA

Enter Eric:

I have a sauna Story to share. I have 8 children and we are, needless to say, always tight on finances. The past few years my family and I have built several items from re-purposed wood and garage sale nails. This year I figured it was time to build a sauna in our garage. During the summer my sons and I reclaimed some free wood from friends and neighbors who were re-modeling their homes. We bought nails and screws from garage sales and borrowed a friends planer to take the top layer of paint off some cedar boards from a free reclaimed deck advertised on craigslist.

Sauna built from reclaimed wood
Sauna built from reclaimed wood

My wife found a 9 kw electric sauna heater for $75 at the Habitat Re-sale store and a contractor-friend wired in the correct 220 wire.

Sauna stove from a reclaim store
Sauna stove from a reclaim store

The most expensive items were the wiring and the vapor barrier (which I figured I needed to actually purchase). The final product was finished in November at a cost of $350. It is rustic looking and works great. Now we take a weekly sauna with my small children and my wife and I use the sauna 4-6 times/week. It has become a big part of our evening routine, made sentimental because of how we worked together to build it.

Dad and three boys enjoying sauna
Dad and three of his boys enjoying sauna

I am glad to tell our story. Working and planning with patience on a very limited budget was well worth it. It was also cool how friends helped when they found out what I was making. A man from church found an oak door on the side of the road and it became my sauna door. My brother-in law helped frame it in. My wife bought a how-to book for father’s day.  (Insert DIY sauna book plug here).

I am also a terrible carpenter with limited tools. But we made this with only hammers, drills, skill saw and a planer.  And I had to be creative to make my wood last. We had some mis-matched pieces. But it all worked and actually looks alright.

Eric's rustic sauna made from repurposed wood for under $350
Eric’s rustic sauna made from repurposed wood for under $350
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6 thoughts on “My rustic sauna made from repurposed wood for under $350”

  1. Editor’s note:
    Eric is a poster child for the formula WIT/M = :)2
    W = Will. The desire to build a sauna
    I = Information. Seeking how to build it right
    T = Time. Not rushing the build, allowing time to procure product free or inexpensively
    M = Money. With more WIT, we need less of this.
    🙂 = Satisfaction
    2: Collaboration. “made sentimental because of how we worked together to build it.”

  2. Great story Eric!
    The fact that a project brings your family closer and then enjoying the sauna together is awesome! Being frugal with the materials is a bonus.
    Looks great!
    Peter C.

  3. ok im not frugal….just don’t have a lot of cash! Soooo maybe I’am!!!! located old barn wood…does it have to be cedar…. if i plane it down .. ok to build a sauna…..

  4. Approved.

    And applaud the frugality.

    As long as barn wood has not been treated by chemical or chemical bi products, you could panel the inside of your hot room with reclaimed barn wood.

    Howver, start saving your coin to go with 2×4 cedar for benches. And a frugal sort like you and me are not too shy to pick through bins at Depot/Menards to find lengths that are knot free. And after picking through stock, good karma folks like you and me will return unwanted boards to their appropriate bins at Depot/Menards, too.

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