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steam bending sauna cladding2/10
I am in the prosess of building a mobile sauna using an upside down boat as a roof (see attached sketch). I am looking for some advice about what sort of wood to use for the internal cladding. the sauna specialists I have spoken to on the phone advised me to use Alder, Aspen or thermo pine. because of the shape of the boat I will need to steam bend the cladding. my question is does anybody know how suitable for any of these options are for steaming? ( as far as I understand both Alder and Aspen are quite week timber and not great for steaming?) or alternatively does anyone know if a wood that is good for steaming like Ash would be suitable for use in a sauna ? any advice greatly appreciated ! thanks Greg
I wouldn't use those woods. It appears to me that you could probably use something thinner than the usual 3/4" thickness, then bend it without the steam.
I would get some Western Red Cedar; Thuja Plicata, and re-saw down to about 3/8" ~ 10mm and see if you can bend that without steam. Since WRC is sold green here in the USA, you would want to dry it before putting it up in a sauna, otherwise it will shrink across the grain.
Also, I think you need to move your axel back to avoid the potential for a jackknife.
Boat builders do not steam bend the wood on the hull, you shouldn't have to either.
As the others have said, do not steam. I would select a clear western pine or Cedar, run it down to 1/2" and nail it carefully into place. Knots will make for kinks, so you will need clear stock.
Take it from someone who has sat in a Sauna made with pine. Don't use pine. Any pitch pockets are screaming hot goo. Fasteners must be well below the surface as well.
The Finns invented the sauna and they use spruce.
The most common species is aspen, also called quaking aspen and trembling aspen, worldwide. It is easy to bend, is splinterless (really important), soft, odorless, nonallergenic, plentiful n most areas and easy to repair as it ages. You do need to use fasteners with large heads so they do not pull through. today we see it there species used, without regard for their properties.
Certainly, in regions where aspen is scarce, other woods like alder or,spruce is used today, but aspen is preferred indeed.