DIY barrel saunas have gained popularity over the years due to their numerous health advantages. However, with the recent surge in the prices of pre-assembled saunas and sauna kits, reaching up to $12,000, they have become less accessible. But we have a cost-effective solution for you.
We managed to construct a barrel sauna for less than $5,000, using simple tools and dedicating just a couple of long weekends to this DIY project. This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide to assist you in building your own DIY barrel sauna.
This was a fun project I decided to do with my dad at my parent’s house. This is my first woodworking project, and I am a complete amateur, so please feel free to leave a comment or message me with feedback.
Materials and Tools Needed for DIY Barrel Sauna
For this project, we used untreated pine to construct my sauna due to its affordability, availability, and ease with which I could work with it. I know that pine’s longevity in an outdoor setting could be better. However, the price of Cedar in Australia is costly for a beginner like me.
- Circular saw
- Router table
- Router bits for tools
- 60 Untreated Pine DAR 140mm x 19mm x 2.4m
- 10 Untreated Pine DAR 240mm x 19mm x 1.8m
- 10 Packs of 16 Stainless Steel Hinge Screws 8g x 25mm Polished Stainless Steel
- Spring Door Hinges
Building the DIY Barrel Sauna
Step 1: Milling the Wood
The first step is to put a curve on one edge of each plank and the opposite curve on the other edge so that each piece can tightly fit into the next one. We used a cove router bit for one edge and the opposing cove for the other edge.
Step 2: Creating the Groove
Next, we created a groove in all of the slats that were going to go around the barrel sauna. This is because the slats need to fit into each other and sit down on top of the gables. We created a jig to quickly cut the groove in each plank.
Step 3: Building the Gable Walls
The gable walls were made by stacking planks tightly to each other and securing them with a strap of western yellow cedar. We did this for both the back and front gables. The front gable was a little different because we had to leave room for the door.
Step 4: Building the Cradle
The cradle was made from three pieces of 2×10 wood. We cut these a little bit narrower than the actual width of the sauna and used the same method that we used for the curve of cutting the gables to cut the bottom of the cradle.
Step 5: Assembling the Sauna
Once we had all the pieces, we started assembling the sauna by putting in the slats. We started with one slat at the bottom and gradually added more, securing them with screws every second board or as needed. Once we had the bottom section filled, we put in the front and back gables and continued adding slats all the way to the top.
Step 6: Adding the Roof
We added a roof to the sauna using three pieces of six-foot-long corrugated metal. This was to prevent rain from getting into the sauna. Excess moisture will allow mold to grow inside the sauna.
Step 7: Finishing the Inside
Inside the sauna, we built a bottom to disperse the weight of people standing in the sauna. We also built seats by making a rectangle from half the width of each of the boards and screwing it into the back and front. We then added planks on top for people to sit on.
Step 8: Installing the Wood Stove
We installed a wood stove in the sauna, using cement board to protect the sauna from the heat. We also installed a chimney through the roof of the sauna, using a thimble to prevent rain from getting in.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
We added a few finishing touches to the sauna, including hooks for hanging robes and towels, a pillow for leaning against, a ladle and bucket for water, specific rocks for the stove, a timer, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Constructing your own barrel sauna not only saves you a significant amount of money, but it also offers a profound sense of achievement. While the project demands some dedication and effort, the rewarding outcome justifies it all.
After you’ve built your sauna, you’ll want to ensure you’re using it correctly. Don’t miss out on our comprehensive guide on sauna protocols. Check out our article to make the most of your new barrel sauna experience. Sauna Protocol for Growth Hormone and Life Extension.