Instructables

How do you build a home made wood burning Sauna heater?

1 Nov 2011.    I am stuck on a Firebase in Afghanistan and winter is approaching fast.

So i was thinking that building a sauna would be a cool project.  The wood shack isn't that hard, but how to build the stove/ heater/ thing?

So, Any ideas?

EcoExpatMike (author) 3 years ago
Well, I am not wedded to either a wet (Turkish type) or Dry (Finish type).

I was thinking more along the lines of:

1) How to regulate the heat level?

2) How to design the fire box (probably start with a 55 gallon drum and move from there).

3) hmm
one thing you can do ( i know this is late) you heat up rocks around a fire then put those rocks in a pit then put water in the pit
You don't really regulate the heat level, except by throwing less water on the rocks.
Neaz2 years ago
Find a suitable space to convert, a small caravan/horse box is ideal and means you then have a portable sauna.

Turn a gas bottle on its side and convert it to a wood burner then install it with the door to the firebox on the outside of your structure opposite ends to where your entrance is.

Have a safety rail to stop people falling on the stove.

Put benches in for various heat levels.

Insulate the space. Having a double entry door helps keep the heat in when people are entering and leaving.

Out side where the fire door is you can have a chill out area. Covered if weather is going to be bad. If you have used a caravan and it has an awning you will have a ready made space to use.

Remember to have a cold plunge/shower available. If running water is an issue use a (clean) knapsack sprayer to provide a cold shower. If running water is available and you are at all competent with plumbing you can also use the stove to heat a water tank up and run a hot shower and if it is a good system a hot tub as well.

How hot your sauna will get will depend on several factors, how large a space you have to heat (small is best), the size of your stove, the type of wood available to burn and the amount of insulation used. Having some one outside to keep the fire stoked while you are inside helps as well but with a well built fire you should be able to get a decent sweat between fills.

Do remember to have extinguishers to hand just in in case as well as a first aid box.

rickharris3 years ago
The initial requirement is insulation to prevent the heat leaking away.

Heating is done traditionally with red hot stones on which you pour water to generate 100% humidity.

In modern Saunas this is done with an electric heater under the stones -

CAUTION Water and electricity don't mix well.

You also need a COLD plunge pool to jump into outside the Sauna. :-( Those Finns - they certainly know how to enjoy themselves!

See what you can find online about traditional Finnish sauna- because they didn't use electricity either. Steam was usually made by heating up rocks and dousing with water, rather than a continuous fire.

Steve