sauna door and casing build tutorial

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by patron posted 06-02-2012 03:53 AM 11426 reads 8 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

here is a step by step of the sauna door i recently made

it has some standard things and some different innovations

i though it might be of some use to someone thinking of building a door
and how the parts go together

first off i only had access to the big box store for supplies
so got 2×6 redwood for the door frame and the casing

here is the casing parts with the stops and room for the insert seals
(notice the side rip goes down further for the fin on the seals)

then the top needs to be rabbeted too
to accept the rail (make sure there is a right and a left)

i had to also add a spreader underneath the threshold
(it too needed to be rabbeted on the bottoms of the styles)
as the one i could find was hollow everywhere

that’s it for the casing for now

the door needed a wider lower rail (for stability)
so after straightening and ripping my boards to 5”
(i do that to make it easier to measure and add or subtract numbers)
i glued two together slightly longer than the rail and it’s tenons need to be
since the door styles are 5” and the tenons are 2 1/2”
i just subtract one style for the full length of the rails from the overall door width
(plus hinge and clearance space while opening)
that brings it to 25” plus the clearance of 3/16” total
(hinges normally need 1/16” and the nose of the door 1/8” )

after running a dado inside the door rails and styles
(1/2”x1/2” for most doors)
i do the mortices in that centered grove
and start them an inch from the top and bottom
which will require a haunch-ed tenon
so the styles have some strength there
and in case the door needs to be cut at some later date
if it is rubbing or is used somewhere else someday
to 2 3/4” for excess glue as the tenons are 2 1/2” deep

here are the parts for the complete frame
notice i didn’t make a spreader rail for the middle of the door
(if one is used it would be dado-ed on both sides)
but did a mortice for the inner rail that will come soon
(at this point more rails and shorter styles could be made
for a raised panel door as many as you like
the parts all the same thickness
and the mortice and tenons throughout
for the smaller raised panels

so i assembled the frame and routed a rabbet 1/2” w x 1/4” deep
for the paneling T&G material

and made my mid spreader rail 1” thick (so the paneling rides over it)
with a dado on both sides to receive the vertical sleepers
that are spaced evenly and give me a place to nail and glue the paneling to
taking the flex out of the thin paneling

and having some 2” pink polystyrene foundation insulation
i ripped it to width and them re-sawed it to fit the spaces
(now that is some easy re-sawing) lol
after paneling one side i set the insulation in the spaces

and then did the other side paneling

well from here it is just mating the door to the casing
the hinges first with my home made jig

notice the jig is offset at the door top for the clearance there to the casing

setting the router bit to the jig and the hinge thickness
i route the door

so here we have the hinge pockets with 1/4 round corners
(i usually use 1/4 round corner ones for most new work
as i don’t have to square the pockets off for them)
but it is best to leave the jig on and with a chisel
just cut them square at that point if needed
as the chisel has a stop to stay straight

now for the casing side the jig goes to the top of the casing
this is the clearance for the top of the door

i should mention here that as casing has a seal
that asks for at least 1/4” gasket space(i like 5/16” better)
i marked the door and casing with a sliding square to the hinge inset distance
on the parts and put the jig to that mark inside the jig
for exterior doors and ones like this the seal space is in the casing rabbet
and wider than the door for an interior door it is not that critical
so long as you leave a 1/16” for finish and clearance when the door is closed
so it doesn’t bind on the stop

so now the door and casing have corresponding hinge sockets
and top clearance
now the bottom is slightly bevel cut to rub to the threshold

so all that’s left is the handle cut outs and latch catch
here i had to make another smaller jig for the 1/4 round corners on the latch and strike
(the strike was the same lenght as the catch but wider
so i just marked the centers inside the jig
and pin nailed it in place and then ran it off the casing edge with a chisel
after removing the jig

well there you have it

i hope this may help someone
that has wanted to make a door sometime

like allot of our work
it isn’t really that hard
but a bunch of small steps
that need to be done in order

if you have any questions
ask here or send me a PM
i will be happy to answer them if i can

have a good time
and be safe

thank you for looking

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

32 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3704 days

#1 posted 06-02-2012 04:05 AM

Nice work David!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#2 posted 06-02-2012 04:16 AM

hi bob
long time no see

how are you these days
must be some nice weather up your way

hope things are good there

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2234 days

#3 posted 06-02-2012 04:32 AM


You do some of the nicest work! I need to make some doors soon…when the floor is done:). I will be coming to you for advice for sure!

Your Friend,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 06-02-2012 04:41 AM

anytime nate

i just finally got back to my regular site
after months of going thru the pulse pages
just to see what is going on here

now i will get notices when you and other buddies post

after you learn the 88 keys
and the three pedals
and pauses and tempo
the rest is just figuring out
what you want to play

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3135 days

#5 posted 06-02-2012 05:08 AM

OK lil brother, I knew you would get the “hang” of it sooner or latter.

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#6 posted 06-02-2012 05:47 AM

hey rand

now aren’t you
a breath of fresh air

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3219 days

#7 posted 06-02-2012 05:58 AM

Nice work and a good lesson. Glad to see that you are on line full strength!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2884 days

#8 posted 06-02-2012 08:43 AM


that is a great tutorial on door making.

Making a door is great, something that is very


Did you say “Sauna?” That must be the keyword

to get Rand out in the open. :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Schummie's profile


203 posts in 3793 days

#9 posted 06-02-2012 08:52 AM

Hello David,

that’s a very nice door.
When you see the photos it looks so easy to make,
but this is work from a great woodworker.

All the best, my friend.

-- Greetings from the Netherlands.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3143 days

#10 posted 06-02-2012 10:35 AM

hey what happens both Rand and Patron
has come out of the cave …. is it the sun or could it be becourse
they wanted us to scared …. LOL
anyway happy to see you both :-)

when you say sauna is it for a dry sauna or wet sauna
I gess the door is for a dry sauna since you hadn´t made it with
plastic over the insulation on the side that is on the inside of the sauna

thanks for the toturial this going to be favorited …. need to make two doors myself …...... maybee :-)

take care

View SirFatty's profile


542 posts in 2240 days

#11 posted 06-02-2012 11:44 AM

I like the look of cedar, that door looks fantastic! Thanks for posting the details.

-- Visit my blog at

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3015 days

#12 posted 06-02-2012 04:18 PM

David, great blog. You make it look easy.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#13 posted 06-02-2012 04:51 PM

thank you all

easy is relative
after the build
when i went to mate the casing and the door
i found out the hinge post on the casing
was bowed and bent more than a 1/2”
out of true and was not lining up at all with the straight door edge

so off to the store yesterday
to get another 2×6
and re-mill and hinge socket the new one

as i had left all my tools set up
it was a still the same every step from the start
but i didn’t have to dial every step in
just pay attention

‘the best laid plans …......’
as they say

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3143 days

#14 posted 06-02-2012 05:55 PM

at least you where able to fix it before the
it shuold have been placed in the wall :-)

years ago when it was only DIY for me I got a heavy frontdoor with frame that has
a vindow in full length on one of the sides oppesit of the hingeside
was installed correct on the hingeside ….. but on the outside of the glass
was it more than 4 inch off ….. it still amaze me the glass wasn´t kracked
and still isn´t … though we had the side corrected with more than 7 big screws
to make it straight …. lot of stress on that side of the frame


View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4080 days

#15 posted 06-02-2012 07:58 PM

Very good, David!

I like watching your Step-by-Step tutorials…

You make it look so simple…

It was nice seeing the Gotcha too… I guess that is what happens with what you get from the big-box stores…

Did you look for certain type of grain over others to hopefully NOT have as many problems like that?

Thank you very much!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

showing 1 through 15 of 32 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics