Build Your Own Barrel SaunaAdvertisement
Build Your Own Barrel Sauna – Thanks to the Finns – who have been sauna enthusiasts for centuries – sweating has become a popular practice in the Western world as well. You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of a sauna and now you want some of that goodness on your backyard faucet.
Before we dive into how to build a barrel sauna, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of going the DIY route. On the other hand, it’s a fun project with long-term rewards and a decent amount of bragging rights.
Build Your Own Barrel Sauna
On the other hand, building a sauna from scratch is time-consuming and requires a lot of know-how. If this is your first woodworking rodeo, a barrel sauna kit might be the better way to go.
New Zealand Outdoor Saunas
While you won’t be able to claim the title of cooper, you’ll still have the satisfaction of putting something together with your own hands. You will also be able to enjoy your sauna much sooner.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from sizing and planning to the tools and various supplies you’ll need. We’ll look at wood options (which wood is best and where to get it), assembling the sauna, building and installing benches, and finally heating.
Determining the size of your outdoor sauna will inform everything else, so let’s start there. Consider how many people are likely to be using it at any given time.
There are other things to consider, such as how much space you have available in your yard, the size of the heater you plan to use, how much you’re willing to spend on electricity (if you’re not going with a wood stove), etc. .n.
Why We Love Barrel Saunas More Than Regular Sauna Cabins
For singles and couples, a 4-foot-deep sauna for two is more than adequate. Depending on where you live and the time of year, something this size will take about 45 minutes to heat up. Why build something bigger and wait longer if you don’t have to?
Western red cedar is the best wood for this job. Even a simple DIY outdoor sauna can benefit from its features. It’s strong, won’t warp or shrink, has better insulating properties, and isn’t hot to the touch (useful in a sauna scenario).
As an added bonus, it smells and looks good too. However, it can be a little expensive, so if you’re on a tight budget, you might consider these cheaper conifers:
Many people say that you should only use wood that is completely knot-free when building a barrel sauna, as extreme changes in heat and moisture levels can cause discoloration, warping, and even breakage.
Barrel Saunas Panoramic View (electric Heater)
Although it makes sense, “transparent” cedar is three times more expensive than its standard counterpart. Since this build will be using 2×6s, there isn’t really any worry about knots popping out of the wood like there is with thinner tongue and groove boards.
Building a sauna from scratch gives you the opportunity to use local and sustainable materials. As well as being better for the planet, it can also be more cost-effective. Provided you’re not in a rush, you can look for specials online and at your local lumber yard.
One word of warning, be sure to avoid pressure treated wood for the interior of your sauna. It is chemically treated and can emit toxic fumes when heated.
Below is a comprehensive list of everything you need for the build. Some tools can be replaced if needed, but this will serve as a good starting point for your DIY barrel sauna.
Custom Outdoor Saunas: We’ll Build Your Dream Sauna
We have divided the process into two parts. The first focuses on preparing the dado arches and joints. In the second we will focus on the walls, the door and the swings.
DIY sauna barrel designs typically use bead and hollow jointing for the arcs as they serve the dual purpose of providing a tight fit while still allowing enough shaping of the barrel.
To do this, you’ll need to run your boards through the router table using 0.5-inch radius router bits and router bits, starting on the convex (bulging) side. This will create a small shelf for the hinge to fit properly.
You will need to run each board through the router a total of four times. A shaping tool can then be used to remove any burrs on the arc side.
Package Deal Barrel Sauna Ø213cm X L310cm
To prevent water leakage, your lower arch should have two convex edges and your upper arch should have two concave edges.
After you have milled all your bead and cavity joints, the next step is to make dado cuts in the arcs. The front and end caps will then fit snugly into these joints.
Cuts should be .75” deep and 1.50+.05” wide (based on using 1.5” wide planed lumber).
Although you can use a dado blade, we would advise against it if you prefer not to lose any of your fingers. Using a Dado blade requires you to remove the table saw’s safety cover and has a high potential for deadly kickback. Not a good combination.
Dundalk Leisurecraft Canadian Timber Serenity Outdoor Barrel Sauna
A safer alternative is to use your router table with a 0.5-inch straight groove router instead. This will take 3 passes (moving the fence 0.5” each time) but is much safer than the Dado blade.
To make sure everything lines up correctly, cut the first dado link 3” in from the end of the arch. For the second Dado cut, measure exactly 90” from the first Dado cut.
This ensures that the front and back panels will fit well, even if there is a small difference between the lengths of the boards. For more details on making Dado arcs and joints see my personal blog.
Once you’ve taken care of the arches and joinery, it’s time to make the rest of your sauna. In this section we will look at the end caps (walls), the door, the cradles and the straps.
Avoid These Costly Mistakes When Building An Outdoor Sauna
To build the front and back panels, you’ll need to draw tongue and groove joints in the 2x6x8s to build two squares that are sixteen boards wide, respectively.
Be sure to rough cut some of your boards so you have them on hand for the top and bottom pieces that aren’t as long as the middle.
Once you’ve assembled the two boards, it’s time to cut them into circles. Having a template to guide your router along is ideal, but if you don’t have one, you can also use a circular saw to get the job done.
The easiest way to make the door for your outdoor sauna is to make the wall first and then just cut the door and frame it. How big you make it is up to you, just make sure you leave at least 3-4″ of material in the corners between the door frame and the edge of the circle.
How To Install A Dundalk Leisurecraft Serenity Barrel Sauna
This will provide the 2 x 4″ cross braces needed to keep the end cap as one piece. If you want your sauna to have a window, the door is the best place to add it because it means you won’t have to worry about for additional structural framing of the walls.
Sauna legs or swings can be cut from 2×8s and 2×10s. When you are ready to assemble the sauna, mark a rough curve for the legs based on a radius 0.75″ larger than the end caps.
Since the bars have a .75” deep dado connection, the outside radius of the sauna will actually be 39.75”. Use 2.5” wood screws to connect the bottom eight or nine rods to these legs (more on this in the assembly section).
Site preparation is an important final step before assembling your sauna. It is imperative that you place your sauna on ground that is both firm and level. This can be a concrete pad, a solid deck, or a gravel base. If it’s the latter, make sure it’s well packed.
Person Sauna With Porch
If you plan to place the sauna and leave it, then it makes sense to put extra effort into the foundation. However, if the plan is to have it at home during the winter and then move it to wherever you spend your summer, you can afford to be a little less picky in this area.
Now we get to the fun stuff. It’s time to bring all your individual components together and assemble them into an outdoor sauna you can be proud of. You will need:
To assemble the sauna, start by arranging the swings. Roll enough arcs to cover the swings. Tap them gently but firmly into place to ensure an even, snug fit. It is important that the dado joints are perfectly aligned.
Next, you’ll need to find someone to help you run your end discs right into the dado cuts on the arches. From here, temporarily add some sticks to the top of the discs to stop them from moving or falling.
Upper Peninsula Sauna Company
It’s also a good idea at this stage to make sure the walls are perfectly straight, especially on the door side.
Once you’ve done that, place the rest of the bars (alternating sides as you go) until you reach the top. Hold the Dado joints carefullyAdvertisement