Sauna dressing room bench with hinges

Ever since I built my new sauna, I ended up sitting on a foldable chair in the dressing room while we were cooling down with my wife. You can guess who was using the nice bench in there…

As the dressing room is very small, there is no place for another bench. The only solution I could come up with was a foldable design which can be mounted on the wall.

The final result.
In action.

Build Log:

The bench will be located right in front of the door, so it has to be easy to fold it away.
I started off by cutting a simple rectangle frame out of 25mm x 25mm x 3mm mild steel square pipe. The corners are cut to 45 degrees each with a chop saw and TIG welded together. To support the planks, two L-shaped pieces of mild steel is cut and TIG welded to the inside of the rectangle frame. This created a simple but very strong starting point for the frame.
To be able to lift the bench to the wall, I welded two hinges to one end of the frame together with a 8mm x 60mm flat piece of mild steel. This is always a pain, as I always run into trouble with the metal shrinking and expanding with the heat. The hinges are welded to opposing directions, so this is in place for life. The result is not perfect visually but that I can fix with a grinder.
Time to grind. I went through the whole frame with 80 grit flappy disk mounted on a angle grinder. My battery driven grinder’s batteries went flat pretty fast so I opted to take the beast out. No more problems with batteries nor power! I decided to skip any finer grit disks, and went for a medium polishing disk straight away. My thought was that all remaining unevenness would be sorted out by the layers of paint later.
The result of the grinding and polishing.
Other side.
To be able to lock the bench to the wall, I took a solid 8mm mild steel bar, bent it on a vice and welded it on.
The locking mechanism comes from a garden gate latch. It’s perfect for the bench as it locks automatically.
Time to start thinking about the other side of the room. To support the bench on the opposing side, I cut a 50mm x 5mm L-shaped mild steel profile to the width of the bench. To mount it on the wall, I cut 4.5mm holes where the stainless steel screws will fit perfectly. To finish it off, I ran it over with a 80-grit disk and gave it a mild polish.
Painted with metal primer.
Ok, the frame is pretty much done but where will you actually sit? I cut aspen planks so that they fit perfectly into the frame. This is the same kind of wood what the interior benches are made in the sauna.
As the L-shaped profile doesn’t have perfectly square corner, I rounded the corners with a belt sander.
To screw the planks onto the frame, I cut 3.5mm holes to it and sank the heads with a touch of a 7mm drill.
Primer on the frame as well.
Both the frame and the support bracket was painted with matte black paint.
Time to screw on the planks. As the gaps are very narrow, it was easier to estimate the right placement by eye instead of trying to use a spacer.
Done. The bench has a very slim profile when it is standing up.
Down position.
See? I told you that I can fix those ugly welds on the hinges!

The finished bench in action.

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