Author Topic: All Things Sauna  (Read 7951 times)

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2017, 07:31:15 PM »
Everyone bring a favored rock...I like that idea. Identity and ownership. I have 10 trays of crystals.....

Community, tradition and ritual. Mutual, support, friendship, connection. Value, seva, giving. Sharing connection to different senses of spirit, song, prayer, confession, sharing grief, love, faith, love and love. Sounds like....
Jbee
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Kilgore

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2017, 04:44:24 PM »
Everyone bring a favored rock...I like that idea. Identity and owner of a hydromax xtreme as I have 10 trays of crystals.....

Awesome, now I can't wait to get my sauna.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 09:52:55 AM by Kilgore »

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2017, 06:46:29 PM »
 ;)
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John P

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2017, 04:43:58 AM »
Hello Kilgore, welcome to Free Range Naturism. It would be great if you end up posting regularly here!

jaybirdsen

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2017, 10:07:30 PM »
I've dreamed ( I do that a lot) of putting a sweat sauna in my backyard.  Do any of you know of any plans for construction of one?  The pictures posted on the Dreachman sweat site and here are the first ones I've seen with a plaster or adobe coating.  Most that I have seen are cedar sided.   Our lot is the basic 6500 sq ft postage stamp with a couple of spots for maybe 8x8 to 10x10.  Backyard very private with 7+ foot walls.

Our neighborhood is transitioning from original buyers from 50 years ago to young to mid age families.  My wife and I are tweeners who moved in around 25 years ago.  We have one of the only pools on the block and though old I try to keep it available for kids as long as a parent comes along to watch them.  I don't mind getting dressed a few hours for these events as the pool is for enjoyment and no one enjoys more a pool than kids.
The pool and hot tub need work and a new heater which I'm saving up for to get done next spring.
One of the women in the neighborhood wants me to sell memberships to help with maintenance in exchange for allowing use of the pool and at a party the other night another one talked about allowing private evening nude swims for women jokingly yet in a more than half serious way. In fact I'd say she was pretty serious about it.

We are a neighborhood community with a lot of love and trust and looking out for one another  and if I can plan it right I'd be happy to make our pool area more open to the neighborhood and the addition of a sweat would enhance it I think. 

I don't wear my naturism on my sleeve so the neighbors save maybe one or two don't know that I am so I won't advertise or push anything and just let things develop or not.  If we can be the community spa then great textile or otherwise.  I can always find a poker game some place on girls night if need be.
Anyway I'd appreciate any advice anyone may have on sauna construction or information on resources.

I've noticed a barrel shaped one on line that is supposed to heat and circulate better.  True beginner here so any help or information would be helpful.

Thanks.
Jim


eyesup

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2017, 06:44:20 PM »
Quote from: Jim
One of the women in the neighborhood wants me to sell memberships to help with maintenance in exchange for allowing use of the pool . . .
Check your muni-code and make sure charging a membership fee doesn’t make you liable for any mishaps. I wouldn’t put it past a bureaucrat and trial lawyer to scrounge up a case.

If many people use it, you might consider a simple donation box to defray wear and tear instead of charging a fee. If a lawyer lives in your neighborhood you might get some advice free-gratis.

Sounds like you live in a neighborhood perfect for naked activities!

Duane

jaybirdsen

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2017, 09:55:46 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I don't think I'd bother with memberships as that would be a pain anyway.  It was just a suggestion from a nice neighbor who grew up with a pool in  her home and misses using one.  I told her about the upgrades I was planning and that the pool would be more available next year and she suggested the memberships but to me it would be like charging family so we'll just be hosts.

Jim 

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2017, 08:59:09 AM »
We had designated times for sweat, Friday evenings and Sunday noon to sundownish. Wednesdays there was an earlier men's and a later women's sweat, that would change and alternate each year. We had a list of members. You had to know someone for six months and be responsible for them to get them access. We had a disclaimer form. We had a list of "host" to run it, volunteers. There was a donation box and suggested amounts. A old ammo box with a lock attached to a four foot tall stump. We would hold a fundraiser each year, a potluck with music. This had a swimming pool, too.

It was a clubhouse for a community of friends. The box was a spiritual place. Non-denominational. The people were spiritual and generally hippish in many ways. We would sing and meditate, discussion was discouraged in the bx, but if it happened, all one had t do was to ask to stop it, if it messed with the meditating.

People would donate wood, cutting it, lighting the fire, maintaining that, cleaning, hosting all volunteers. If the host list wasn't filled by the last sweat, than the next sweat wouldn't happen.

More later as the week goes by, Jaybirdsen. I'm just home and it is late.
Jbee


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eyesup

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2017, 05:51:53 AM »
Quote from: jaybirdsen
. . . another one talked about allowing private evening nude swims for women jokingly yet in a more than half serious way. In fact I'd say she was pretty serious about it.
That might prove to be a great way to spread the word about the relaxed environment at the pool.

Duane

jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2017, 08:45:34 AM »
I'm giving Jaybirdsen the requested information starting here. Some will be reprints some will be links.
I built mine out of ferro cement. This is much less expensive, but highly labor intensive, and it takes awhile, especially without a crew.

Ferro cement construction:

http://ferrocement.com
Burlap Roof (for making fence and shitter
Use U-shaped pipe brackets (what is used to hold on conduit to secure rebar to railroad ties.
Magnsium Oxide Cement:

http://greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/manufactured/magnesiumoxide.htm

If you want my personal experience in the construction Just Ask.

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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2017, 08:48:08 AM »
Traditional sweat can be constructed out of stuff laying around a backyard or forest as follows. It takes a couple of people to run it generally. It is cramped and sitting with no back support on the ground.
A Sweat Lodge

Click on any picture to get it full-sized
(Best when used with an HTML 3.0 compliant browser)
This is more of a "how-to" guide on sweat lodges, so it mostly deals with the physical aspects of building and having a sweat. For the spiritual side, you'll have to try better sources than myself.

This page is mostly notes on doing a sweat as I was shown by a Yakia friend of mine that is well known for his traditional sweats.

The Location

An important thing to start with is the right location. This is a picture of the sweat lodge from across the ponds. We found this site by walking around and looking for anything we could consider a good sign. At this spot there were numerous trees that had been chewed by the beavers in the pond. That combined with a nice view of the ponds and the mountains, plus good access made this the perfect spot.

We knew we had the right spot when we found a hummingbird nest in the tree by the fire pit. My friend Felippe' related a story of how he had been woken up by a hummingbird outside his window that morning, and we felt it was telling us this was the right spot for our sweat lodge.

At later sweats I've heard the beavers come out and slap their tails on the water, and the coyote's crying in the night. This seems to me to support the spot that we chose was a good one.


The Fire Pit

This is the fire pit after cleaning, and before building the fire. In the center is the sage we sat on in the previous sweat. The logs were buried in the pit as I'll describe below.

The fire pit starts as a hole 3 feet across, and about 2 feet deep. The dirt that is removed is used to built up the sides of the fire pit, as the flames can get pretty large. In the hole in the very bottom, we stacked cord wood (large logs, 3-6 inches in diameter) in the hole to act as a bottom layer.

The whole fire pit was about 5 feet across, and 7 feet long, with the sides about a foot tall. Now that this sweat has been used a bunch of times, the sides have gotten much higher.


The Layout

This shows the rough layout of our sweat area. On the right is the piles of fire wood. We find we need roughly 2 piles of logs about 3 long, in a pile about 4 feet long, and 3 feet high. In front of the wood pile is the fire buckets. We always keep 4 buckets of water around in case the fire gets out of control. We've never used it, but after fighting forest fires in Wyoming in 1994, none of us wanted to risk things getting out of control.

The fire pit is to the left, with the uncovered sweat lodge behind it. The dor of the sweat lodge faces to the NW in this case. Just out of site between the fire pit sand the sweat lodge is the altar, you'll be able to see it better in other photos.

Here you can see the frame for the first time. This frame was made out of green aspen trees with their bark pealed off. The frame is about 10 feet in diameter, with a shallow depression 6 inches deep, and 2 feet across. The ends of the trees were buried in the ground, and bent over and then tied with cord. The frame is pretty sturdy, although I wouldn't want to sit on it.


Lighting The Fire

The fire is built as a box, using the longest logs. This is built on top of the cord wood as show in the first picture. The bettom layer of the fire hs to support the weight of the rocks and the fire without falling over. It's started as a box, with the corners facing the fours directions. It's about 3 feet sq., and built with some of the biggest logs. In the middle of the box is built a teepee fire of kindling, and the whole box is then filled in with pine cones and pine nettles. This layer is about 2-3 feet high when done. It's then topped off with a solid layer of decent sized logs.

On top of this the rocks (we use about 27 per sweat) are piled into a dome, and then another box of smaller logs is built around the rocks on top of the lower layer. This layer is built up another 2-3 feet, so the whole log pile is about 5-6 feet high. This is why the pit needs to be deep and wide. This upper box is then also filled also with pine cones and nettles.

Throughout the whole structure is the sage from the previous sweat, with the final handfulls going on the very top. The fire is then lit the fire with a burning smudge stick (we used sage, we have lots of it growing around here) at the four directions. This pictures was taken as it just started to light.

The idea is to build a fire for the coals, as you want to really cook the rocks. The bottom layer becomes the coals that the rocks sit in. A good rule of thumb is you can always add more wood on top of the rocks, but you'll never get a chance to put more logs under the rocks.

Here's also a better view of the frame. It's got three horizontal sets of additionsl sticks tied on for bracing. The center hub is also tied together. Tied at random intervals throughout the sweat are little pinches of tobaco in cloth scraps. These are offerings.


The Fire

Here's another picture of the fire after it was lit. Here you can see the U shape of the fire pit, with the wood pile and water buckets behind it. The opening faces the door of the sweat lodge. It's from this opening that you drag the rocks out. The log behind the fire pit is a fence between the altar and the fire pit. Only fire tenders are supposed to step over it during a ceremony.

The sides of the fire pit are covered with the rocks from previous sweats. We try to not reuse them, and as most get pretty cracked, they wouldn't work good anyway. When we clean out the fire pit, we spread the ashes and coals on the sides of the fire pit. Then the stones from the last sweat get piled on top.


The Covered Lodge

Here's the fire after burning down. The fire has to burn around a minimum 3 hours for the rocks to get good and cooked. The sweat has been covered while the fire burns. The three jugs are for drinking water to be used during the sweat, and the blue bucket on the right it for splashing on the rocks.

The sweat is first covered with a layer of sheets, then blankets, and finally tarps. The bottoms of the layer should lay on the ground for about 6-8 inches. Pile rocks on the bottoms, all around the sweat lodge. This is to seal the bottom up from drafts.

The door is several folded blankets wider than the opening. The corners of the blankets are tied together, and ropes tie the corners to rocks or pegs on the other side of the sweat. This acts as a hinge. We also tie the tarps down real good, as we get pretty strong winds here in Colorado.


Just Before Sunset

This was taken at dusk as we were about to get started. Here the fire has been stoked up to keep the next round of rocks hot. Just to the left of the sweat lodge, you can see the altar. The altar is made from the dirt that comes out of the hole in the sweat for the rocks. On it we all place special things for the ceremony.

Our altar usually has sweet grass on the pipe holder, some feathers, some ancient pottery shards from the four corners, ashes from Felipee's previous sweat down at Big Mountain, and other objects. Off to the left are piles of rocks. We try to keep a few piles of rocks, each enough for one full sweat. This way we can do sweats in the winter, when snow is everywhere, and rocks are hard to find.

You can see the wood pile has been burned down considerably during the last 3 hours. Here we're looking towards the north star. overlooking the beaver ponds, and looking up the valley towards the house.

Before going in the entire floor of the sweat is covered in fresh sage. This is kinda nice, as it keeps you out of the dirt some. We then put the drinking jugs by the door so we can grab them, and the bucket full of water goes by the door also. We'll put both inside before we close the door.


And just for a change of pace, here's a final picture of our sweat lodge during a cooler, more quiet period. We typically don't use the sweat during the winter as it's buried in deep snow drifts. Winter is pretty intense here at 8500 feetin the Colorado Rockies.
The Sweat Itself
I don't feel I can adequately describe the feelings I go through when doing a sweat, or the thoughts that run through my head. So I'm gonna keep this to the basics.

I know of two styles of sweats. One is the the traditional sweat, and the other my friend calls "New Age Sweats". I refuse to make a judgement here on the net, so I'll elaborate on both.

Common to many styles of sweating is the idea of spiritual cleanliness. Many sweats start with all the participants fasting for an entire day, and during that entire day avoiding caffine, alcohol, or other potentially altering sunstances. This should be a day of contemplation, in preparation for the sweat.

Both sweats usually start with everyone that is entering the sweat getting purified with sage and/or cedar. We find the easy way is to just get some hot coals in a shovel, and sprinkle the sage on top. This makes a nice smoke. We then pass the burning sage smoke up and down and left to right by the person that is about to enter. This is done for all the folks sweating.

At this point the styles diverge somewhat. Traditional sweats aren't usually done "sky-clad", and most new age sweats (at least in the Rainbow Family tradition) are done naked. A towel or a pair of shorts is more appropriate for a traditional sweat.

Once everyone enters the sweat lodge, the fire tender puts 7 rocks in the small hole in the center of the lodge. As each rock is put inside, people sprinkle cedar on the rocks. The buckets are put inside, and the door is closed.

In a traditional sweat, there is more guided prayer, chanting, and drumming. I've also been in sweats that were 100% silent. I like both, and appreciate them for their differences.

Each round lasts around 45 minutes or so, and afterward the door is opened, and the fire tender puts 5 more rocks in. In traditional sweats, the idea is to not get out between rounds. Many folks that are new to sweating may need a short breath of fresh air, and get out for a few minutes between rounds. I find a pitch fork and a long rake work good for getting the rocks out of the fire. I rack them out towards the edge, right up onto the pitchfork. That way all the coals get left behind. Coals make the sweat smokey, and hard to breath. Ashes are brushed off of the rocks with a pine branch. Once again all the rocks are sprinkled with cedar as they're put in the sweat.

During each round the temperature is regulated by how much water is put on the rocks. It goes both ways though, cause the water also causes the rocks to loose their heat faster. So hot short rounds, or long cooler ones are the choice. Sometimes water is splashed on the participants during a really hot round, but this has a tendency to make things muddy and messy.

Other Sweat Lodges
Traveling around, I've seen other sweat lodges. Here's a few of the others I've visited (but usually haven't sweat in). A few of these are some pretty interesting non-traditional designs.

This one is at the Annual Rainbow Gathering, which was in Kentucky this year. Picture by Owl Talking.


This one was in the mountains of Colorado at Herring Park, in San Isabel National Forest.


This one was in the mountains of Colorado, in Pike National Forest at Wigwam. There was a large pit pit near by. and one night folks were sweating during a huge drum jam. The sweat was vibrating with the sound of all the drumming.


Another one was in the mountains of Colorado, in Pike National Forest at the base of the Buffalo Peaks.


Sources for the Sprititual side of things

The Native American Sweat Lodge

    History And Legends
    by Joseph Brubrack
    ISBN 0-89594-636-X
    pub. The Crossing Press

The Sacred Pipe

    Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux
    by Joseph Epes Brown
    ISBN 0-8061-2124-6
    pub. Univiersity of Oklahoma Press

Rainbow Tribe

    Ordinary People Journeying On The Red Road
    by Ed MaGee, Eagle Man
    ISBN 0-06-250611-0
    pub. Harper SanFrancisco

Mother Earth Spirituality

    Native American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World
    by Ed MaGee, Eagle Man
    ISBN 0-06-250596-3
    pub. Harper SanFrancisco
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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2017, 08:49:53 AM »
Sauna Construction:

Tongue & Groove Sauna woods are typically kiln dried to 6-8% moisture to stabilize the wood fibers to minimize shrinkage / warpage after installation. Standard air dried T&G boards used for sauna construction will likely shrink and warp after many sauna sessions. Stainless steel nails are best to use in sauna construction to eliminate chance of fasteners corroding and leaving unsightly streaks on walls and benches.

Sauna benches are important to properly plan for your sauna construction project. Comfort, function and best utilization of space should be considered. If the sauna room is wide or long enough to lay down, 24" deep benches are most comfortable, otherwise 18" benches work well for sitting. Standard bench heights are 18" and 36" from floor for 2 tier benches. If you have at least a 7' 6" ceiling height, you can have a 3rd tier bench at 54" height. Remember more bench area in the upper tiers is best for the high heat zone. A general rule might be you lose 1 degree Fahrenheit for every inch from ceiling so you don't want excessive space above your head when sitting on top tier bench.

It is recommended to decide on a sauna heater before lining your sauna construction project. Match a correct sized heater for your sauna with only the sauna room cubic feet volume and the supplied voltage. Read the heater install manual to plan wiring, control location, and proper backing inside wall to fasten heater to. Sauna construction main electrical hookup for sauna heater should be done by a licensed electrician.

After the sauna room is framed, insulated and wired, the lining can be installed. The sauna construction starts with Aluminum Foil Vapor Barrier, the first necessary sauna component, installed to framing studs with a standard hand staple gun. Starting at floor, go around room and overlap sections up to ceiling, then cover ceiling. Aluminum hi-heat tape is recommended for proper sealing of vapor barrier seams. The sauna room is now ready to install sauna interior woods and heater.
Lots of plans, parts marketed, and info:
http://superiorsaunas.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=78_176_190
aunas to allow their use 12 months of the year.



http://www.greatsaunas.com/plans/build_sauna.cfm#framing
3. How to Build a Sauna - Sauna Size...
Size the Sauna - Before you start to build your own sauna, draw a line on the floor where you want to build it to get a better idea of how the sauna room will look once the pre-cut sauna kit is installed. Make sure the location you choose is level and has access to a 240-volt electrical supply. The electrical hook-up is similar to a 240-volt clothes dryer or electric stove with circuit breakers sized at 30 amps or 40 amps for most home size saunas. CLICK for sauna wiring specs.
Sauna Sizes - The sauna size can range from a compact 3'x4' sauna for 1 person to a large 10'x14' sauna room for 6 to 8 persons. Standard sauna sizes range from a 3'x4' personal sauna with a 6' 6" ceiling to 10'x12' large saunas with a 7 foot ceiling. The most popular sauna sizes are 5'x7' and 6'x7'. A sauna height of 7' for the ceiling will permit the best levels of soft even heat in the entire sauna room. When measuring for sauna benches, you should generally allow two feet of bench for each person on the upper bench.  Download our set of standard sauna layouts to see what is best for your location.
Construction of Sauna Floor Duckboards Specs
3'x5' Sauna Floor Duckboards
   
4. How to Build a Sauna - Sauna Floor...
Base Floor - For indoor saunas, you can use the existing concrete floor (coated with a waterproof sealer) in your house and attach the stud wall frames on top. For outdoor saunas, you will need to build a proper concrete foundation as well as a sloped concrete floor.
Duckboard Floor - The sauna floor will eventually be covered with removable sections (duckboards) of 1"x3" or 1"x4" wooden slats with half inch spacing between the slats. The floor sections will permit easy installation of the duckboard floor and for future cleaning. You can also install plastic mats or ceramic tile over the concrete floor of your sauna.
Floor Drain in Sauna - Installing a floor drain in the sauna can be complicated and expensive. Many of the saunas installed today do not have a floor drain. Although small amounts of water will evaporate quickly from a sauna floor, care must be taken in saunas without a floor drain not to pour excessive amounts of water over the sauna heater all at one time.

5. How to Build a Sauna - Wall Framing...
Sauna Wall Framing - The stud frame for each sauna wall can be constructed on the floor outside the sauna. You need to build the sauna walls allowing for air intake and exhaust vents, the rough opening of 26"x75" for the sauna door as well as allowing for any windows in the sauna walls. When complete, the wall section is then raised and attached to the concrete floor with anchor bolts or concrete nails. A drop ceiling, framed with 2"x4" spaced every 16" is then added. The sauna ceiling height of 7' should not be exceeded. A sauna height greater than 84" will require a larger sauna heater in order to heat the space above the 84". The heat that will rise to fill the space above 84" will be a major inefficiency in sauna heating

Sauna Plan & Construction Specifications for 5 x 7 Sauna

Studding for 5'x7' Sauna Plan
   

Sauna Wall Framing Specs for Horizontal T&G Material and Drop Ceiling
Drop ceiling to make a Sauna

 

6. How to Build a Sauna - Wiring & Insulation...

Sauna Controls & Wiring - You will need to hire an electrician to install the electrical circuits for the sauna heater, sauna controls, thermostat and sauna lighting. While many sauna heaters have the controls built-in right on the bottom of the sauna heater, we recommend that the sauna controls be located on the outside of the sauna for convenient access. Deluxe sauna controls are a popular option from your sauna dealer (Great Saunas). The wiring needs to be rated for 90°C (194°F) and must be located along the cooler side of the sauna wall.
   

Specs for Building the Inside of the Sauna
Building a sauna inside look
Sauna Foil Vapor Barrier - After the sauna wiring has been installed, install the aluminium foil vapor barrier and the insulation to keep the heat inside the sauna. A layer of special high temperature aluminium foil vapor barrier (with the shiny side facing inwards towards the sauna) must be used to prevent moisture from collecting in the sauna walls and also to reflect heat back into the sauna. As this special vapour barrier is very difficult to find from traditional building supply sources, you will probably buy it from a sauna supplier like Great Saunas.
Sauna Insulation - Saunas are usually insulated with conventional fiberglass insulation batts that come in 15" widths. The sauna insulation should be chosen according to its "R" value which defines its ability to keep heat in. An "R13" rating is fine for sauna walls while "R22" to "R26" is required in the sauna ceiling. We recommend that you use the same R13 for the ceiling and install two layers of the sauna insulation so they are laid in different directions.

 
------ Sauna Kit Deals ------ Sauna Heater Deals ------ Aluminium Foil Deals ------

 
7. How to Build a Sauna - Doors & Windows...

Sauna Door Sizes - Sauna doors always open out for safety reasons. A standard size sauna door measures 24"x72" to minimize the amount of heat lost when the sauna door opens. The sauna door should have a handle made of a matching wood and a non-metallic friction door catch. Pre-made sauna doors are available from sauna dealers and are highly recommended to building your own door from scratch. The changing sauna heat and humidity conditions can easily warp and bend a home made sauna door. Factory made sauna doors are available with regular and full height windows. Great Saunas has 16 sauna door designs available. The most popular sauna door is the deluxe full window door as it lets in more light and adds to the feeling of spaciousness when using your sauna.
Sauna Windows - Windows can be installed in the walls but they should be made of single glazed tempered glass. Avoid double glazed glass units which often "fog up" from moisture collecting inside the panes of glass. Allow enough room in the window frame to allow the glass to expand slightly to prevent the glass from cracking when it heats up. Don't worry about any heat loss through a window in the sauna. Your heater will make up the heat in about 10 seconds.

 
8. How to Build a Sauna - Building Walls...

Inside T&G Wood Lining - Interior sauna walls can be lined in a horizontal or vertical design using tongue and groove cedar boards of 1"x4" or 1"x5" nominal widths. Cedar boards should be attached using 1.5" rust-resistant galvanized nails angled at the base of the tongue of each board so the next board will fit over the tongue and the nail head to hide it from view.
Surface nails in the sauna are always countersunk with a nail punch to prevent the nail head from contacting sauna bathers.
Horizontal T&G is Best - The horizontal application of T&G cedar boards is highly recommended over the alternate and older style of vertical boards. Horizontal boards are much easier to install, they make the sauna room look larger and create a better seal of the tongue and groove.
The type of wood you choose for the interior of your sauna is subject to your own taste, but try not to use dark wood that gives the sauna a somber appearance inside. Generally, you will find that Western Red Cedar is the preferred wood for building a home sauna in North America because of its light colour, ability to absorb perspiration and odours and withstand the humidity changes of the traditional heat sauna while it releases a pleasant aroma inside the sauna room
Exterior Wall Lining - You will have a lot of flexibility in designing the exterior of your sauna because the exterior materials can be painted or stained. Exterior paneling can be the same wood as the interior or you may use another type of material such as wallboard, stone, brick, tile or regular 4x8 paneling. Remember to confirm your sauna wall thickness with your sauna dealer so you get the right size of door frame.


9. How to Build a Sauna - Benches...

Sauna Benches & Construction - After the interior T&G has been installed, it's time to build the sauna benches. The sauna bench material should consist of thick 2"x2", 2"x3" or 2"x4" cedar planks, clear of all knots and fastened with screws on the underside. Most sauna benches are arranged in a two-tier upper and lower bench layout that will allow you to enjoy cooler or warmer temperature levels. L-shaped sauna benches along two walls are usually found in larger sauna rooms, like the 6'x7' and 6'x8' as the sauna room is large enough for 4 sauna benches. Sauna sizes 5' x 7', 5' x 8' and 6' x 6' have enough room for only 1 L-bench along the side wall. This third sauna bench can be a top bench or a bottom bench depending on your preferences.
Sauna Bench Sizes - The sauna benches should be long enough to allow the bather to stretch out. Benches are usually built with an air space of one half inch between the 2x4 bench planks to permit air to circulate through the bench. Lower level sauna benches should be installed about 18" above the sauna floor and upper tier sauna benches should be installed 46" from the ceiling to allow adequate head space. The top bench is usually installed 18" higher than the lower bench in a sauna room with a normal 7' ceiling height. In sauna rooms that are 5'x5', 5'x6', 5'x7' or larger, the top sauna bench is normally 20" wide and is quite comfortable for sitting or laying down. The bottom sauna bench is 17" wide making it strong enough to be the main step up to the top bench or to be able to support an overflow crowd of sauna bathers.

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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2017, 09:08:08 AM »
If you take a wood burning stove, it works according to th esize of th ebuilding. They are generally overkill. For example, I have an old home heater, 102,000BTU, enough for a 1600 sq.ft. house. It heats up a 10x12 ft. space with a 6 1/2 foot ceiling very well. I bought it for $25 and cleaned it up.

I have a friend with a 6x8 heater by a pot belly.

The old sweat had a heater made out of an old hot water tank. Pipes welded, and a steel door attached to put wood in. The door on the outside of the sauna.

They can be half inside, half outside to load wood into. Mine is all inside. There is plenty of space in there.

Any old shack can do. Wood frame construction. Block up to wood. T&G ( use good wood). I had an existing old pour for a footer. I wired up the thing with rebar then chickenwire and steel mesh. Then ferro cement. Had four naked women doing the final coat while they sang sacred songs. I manned the mixer. I used integral dye. The roof was set up post and beam beforehand. It has a dirt floor for now. I have a picnic table and benches to sit on. It will be more elaborate later. It looks really fun, like it just magically grew up out of the desert naturally.

Cement blocks can be used to support seats of 2x6 planks screwed together.

Community builds it, community has a sense of ownership and maintenance.

We pray, like a church, naked more than just physically. We sing spiritual songs, play old plastic water bottles for drums, blow didgeridoos and rattles. We share grief, hope and gratitude.

It is also a place for friends to meet. A family affair.

Best to keep it simple.

Mine will be set with benches wide to do yoga, a place for massage, and plenty of seating of several temperatures. It is good to think it out, while sitting in a sauna.
Jbee




« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 09:11:48 AM by jbeegoode »
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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2017, 09:14:47 AM »
Sauna/Sweat Spices
http://www.cyberbohemia.com/Pages/saunasweatspices.htm
Ways to enhance your sweat bath

©1998 by Mikkel Aaland All Rights Reserved

Gaathering birch leaves in preparation for building a sauna vihta.
Photo copyright by Mikkel Aaland. All rights reserved.



•Make a vihta, from birch branches, cedar boughs, eucalyptus, oak or other broad leaf species. Birch vihtas are best prepared during the late spring and early summer when leaves are soft, supple and firmly attached to the stem. (Eucalyptus and some other vihtas are available year round.) Birch vihtas can be placed in plastic bags, frozen or hung upside down and dried and saved for winter. Before using them, soak for a few minutes in hot water until the leaves are soft. Unhappy stories come from people who have unwittingly added a sprig or two of poison oak or ivy to a vihta–be careful!

•Use loofas, scrub brushes and other coarse material to scrape and wash the skin. Loofas are found in any bath store and some department stores. They are inexpensive but you can grow your own. Loofas come from the tropical loofa gourd which grows and looks much like a mature zucchini. It needs only to be hung and dried.

High priced "bath scrub brushes" can be substituted with a dime store stiff brush, even those designed for scrubbing walls. Avoid brushes with plastic bristles. They won't soften as well as the natural ones. Vihtas dunked in soapy, warm water can also be used as scrub brushes.

•Add herbs, oils or certain alcohols to the lo.yly water. Loyly tea can be brewed from sage, basil, laurel bay (not too much, it's potent), rosemary, and other delectable herbs. For warding off colds, a loyly "tea" can be made of spearmint, wintergreen or eucalyptus oil. Beer, used in small quantities, generates a wonderful musky smell. Add a few drops of honey and the smell is slightly sweeter (too much and your eyes will sting from the burned glucose.)

Experiment with different brews but be conservative, the smell can be overwhelming.

•Drink juices, mead or beer after the sweat. Fluids are depleted and must be replaced. Everyone develops favorites, but a drink that provides carbohydrates helps the body recover faster. Tests have shown that light beer offers the most, but should be drunk sparingly. Hard alcohol is usually not recommended because it detracts from the natural "high." (In the Nordic spirit, a shot of ice cold aquavit or Finlandia vodka is fine–but practice restraint, only one shot.)

•Mineral water, although it only replaces lost fluid, not carbos, is a common after sweat drink. Salty foods like pizza, sardines, sausages, help replace lost sodium as well as satisfy the hunger that sometimes follows sauna.
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jbeegoode

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Re: All Things Sauna
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2017, 09:17:39 AM »
Sauna - rocks do matter

 

For most of us who use a sauna from time to time in the gym, what powers the sauna or what it is built from does not matter. But in Scandinavia, where they take their saunas very seriously, sauna is a big business. Currently, in Finland, there is an ongoing intense debate about sauna rocks. Which rocks are best, what size of rock should be used and how hot is the right amount of hot for a sauna rock? Once you know that they take this sort of discussion very seriously in the land of the midnight sun, it should come as no surprise to discover that the Finns supply some of the best rocks in the sauna business. These are known as peridotite (peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite contains less than 45% silica, is high in magnesium from the olivine and has about an equal amount of iron). Peridotite is quarried in Finland and shipped to sauna builders across the world.

So what is it about the rocks that matters so much, and what type of rocks should one use for the perfect sauna experience?

In fact it is much easier to list the rocks to avoid than it is to recommend the best rocks to use. A sauna works by heating rocks in an open oven. This keeps the temperature high for a long time, which in turn continuously heats the air in the sauna. Because of this, you do not want the rock to be too fragile, to emit heat too quickly or to degrade and emit lung-corroding vapours. So for example, you don't want rocks containing asbestos. Asbestos is not easy to heat, and once you have managed it, the heated rocks will release asbestos particles, which - and we really mean this - is not at all good for your lungs. You also want to avoid rocks containing sulphur, for example pyrite, galena etc. When heated, sulphur minerals, as you might expect, release sulphur, and although sulphur is not dangerous as such, the rocks will weather very quickly, and you will have to replace them often. (Not to mention that sulphur saunas are not everyone's idea of a good time.)

Sedimentary rocks or metamorphic rocks are not ideal, since they also degrade quickly. So that leaves us with igneous rocks to play with. Ah, but which igneous rocks? Glassy rocks of high quartz or iron content are not recommended. Quartz can actually explode when the water is poured over a hot stone which contains it. When someone offers you a sauna rock, you should try a simple test. Heat a sample rock for about 2 hours and then cool it down quickly by dropping it into a pool of cold water. When the rock is cold, check it for cracks. Next take a hammer and hammer the stone hard. If the rock cracks or makes a grinding noise, find a new supplier.

Try to kit your sauna out in dark minerals, for example diorite (a grey to dark grey intermediate igneous rock composed principally of feldspar, hornblende, and/or pyroxene), peridotite and hornblende (hornblende is not a recognized mineral in its own right, but the name is used as a general or field term, to refer to a dark amphibole. Amphiboles are rock-forming inosilicate minerals containing iron and/or magnesium. Amphibole is the constituent of igneous rock such as granite, diorite, andesite) They contain both iron and magnesium which means that they will conduct heat efficiently. Other rocks, for example freshly quarried black basalt, are also excellent for sauna. And the contrast between the stones and the pale wood of the sauna walls looks pretty good too.

Now that you found your perfect sauna stone, you can relax. Well not quite yet, since you still haven't considered the size and the shape. The best sauna rocks are about the size and shape of a medium potato. Bigger rocks take too long to heat up and if the rocks are too small they will give up heat too quickly. Rounded rocks (for example rocks from the river) are better but rocks gouged directly from the quarry will work just fine. One thing to remember is more rocks is not better. Rocks need to be arranged loosely to allow for optimal air circulation.

Rocks are normally heated to about 500 to 800oC although measuring the temperature is not essential. If the rock temperature is too low, the sauna will just steam up, and the water will bubble on the top of the rocks. At the correct temperature the rocks will turn red when heated and when you throw water over them they will sizzle, followed by a blast of steam (You won't see the steam of course. Any sauna fundi will tell you that real steam isinvisible. The other stuff is just water vapour.) Got it? Perfect - you and your sauna are now ready for each other!



The choice of stove stones
Importance of Stones
The quantity and quality of stones for the sauna stove play an important part in the whole sauna experience. The choice of stones depends on the type of stove and its use. The stones should be carefully selected for their durability and salubrity. The characteristics of good stones include, among others, high thermal capacity and purity. The stones should not produce dust or form harmful gases.

In the past the most commonly used stove stones were made of granite or stones found by lakes or rivers. Granite rock, however, has a tendency to crumble at a relatively low temperature of 300 degrees. The thermal capacity of lake stones is fairly low and the heat conductivity is poor. The temperature in the sauna can reach high enough levels but the stones cool down relatively quickly. The lake stones are also prone to crumble away. It is worth using the well researched and recognized stone types.

The stones deliver the steam

The best sauna stones are the deep igneous rocks. These dark and heavy plutonite stones are excellent due to their thermal capacity and are particularly suitable for traditional type stoves. The heat-storing stoves require dense stones due to their superior thermal conductivity qualities. Deep dark rocks include: olivine, diabase, chrome ore and peridotite.

Types of stove stones:

- Olivine diabase: The most traditional and the most common stove rock. It is robust and has good heat storage capacity. The crushed natural stone can potentially discharge dust and gases into the air when hot. They have been used in all types of heaters. The bigger stove types require larger stones.

- Soapstone: Good heat storage and thermal conductivity. Soapstone is particularly suitable for traditional heaters. Not all electric stove manufacturers recommend the use of soapstone and advise these to be used only as surface stones. Regular-shaped stones should not be stacked too tightly around the heating elements.

- Rounded olivine diabase: Delivers a soft steam bath. Water flows easily onto all of the stones i.e. there is a plenty of stone surface to create steam.  This rock does not crumble as easily as the cut, jagged rock.  It has a well-proportioned appearance and is suitable for all heaters. This type is also used on top of ordinary stones.

- Heat-treated olivine diabase: Heat-treated at 1000°C, allowing for more resistance to deterioration than ordinary stone. As a result of this treatment the stones also have small micropores in which the water gathers and humidifies the steam. It is suitable for all heaters but also for demanding applications such as for stoves at public saunas.

- Kerkes stove stones (ceramic stone): Extremely durable, it is advertised to be "almost indestructible". The indentations on the surface collect water, and are intended to increase the moisture in the sauna. They are odourless and do not produce stone dust. They are suitable for all stoves and often used in public saunas.  The most common mistake with these stones is that they are packed too tightly into the stove. This means that the air cannot circulate properly and damage to the stove can occur.

- Tiileri (ceramic stone): Porous surface which absorbs water and produces a moist steam for a longer duration. Their heat storage capacity is not as good as natural stones. They are durable and do not shed stone dust or emit fumes. They are designed to add moisture into the steam, especially in electrically heated saunas. Not all electric stove manufacturers, however, recommend this stone, because there is a danger that the stones are placed too tightly, which can break the stove.

New Stove Stones

Initially some dust may come loose from new stones, therefore, before installing, the stones should be washed thoroughly. Pay careful attention when placing the stones into the stove by following the stove manufacture’s instructions. A general guideline is to avoid stacking the stones too tightly, which would prevent proper air circulation.

Heating the Stove

The stove should be heated so that the surface temperature of the stones becomes very hot, the hotter the stones, the better and faster the water will evaporate and the steam will feel pleasant. The hot stones are also burning off the possible impurities in the water and the resultant steam will be pure water vapour.

The Stove maintenance

It is important to keep an eye on the stove and the condition of the stones at regular intervals. The top layer of the stones may seem in good condition, but further down the stones are exposed to much higher stress and temperatures. Crumbled stones block the flow of air through the heater and this may shorten the stove’s lifetime.

It is a good idea, at least annually, to change the position of the stones and replace any broken pieces. At the same time the heater can be cleaned of any residue and dust that may have gathered inside.

It is recommended that in normal use the stones should be changed either annually or every two years. In practice, the frequency for replacing the stones depends on the amount of use and the stone quality. When the sauna is used only occasionally, the stones do not need to be replaced as frequently, but in public saunas the stones should be changed several times a year.

Keywords: Stove stones, stove maintenance, heating stove, heater stones, stove stone types.
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