How To Create Barrel Sauna Staves - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-29-2020, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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How To Create Barrel Sauna Staves

Greetings oh knowledgeable ones. I would like to consider DIYing a barrel sauna, but I don't have any router experience. Given the huge price tag of purchasing a kit, thinking through the self-build process is certainly worth the time. I'm sure I'll have other questions later, but my first major conundrum is how to get the full round-over bullnose down the length of each stave. More perplexing to me is how to get the opposite, inward half circle on the receiving end. I don't even know what that's called. Attached is an image.



My other immediate question is what are the straps that go around the barrel called and how can I diy them (see attached pic)?



My other obvious question is this: I spoke with Almost Heaven Saunas corporate headquarters, today, and was told that they actually do have a 50% off sale once a year. I'll include a screen shot of 2 barrel sauna options I'd consider, and I'd like to receive some opinions on whether it's still worth it to try to self-build my own or just go with the kit at that price point. Remember, the prices would be almost half what' is listed in the pics (after taxes and all). Thanks in advance for your invaluable advice.



David
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-29-2020, 02:36 PM
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welcome to the forum, David. what part of the country are you in ?
is this just an idea that you are toying with - or, are you actually considering
building this project ?
as an old box maker, I have used steel strapping from 1/2" up to 2".
and as we know, steel strapping lasts just about forever outside.
you would just have to fabricate an adjustable tensioning device for the ends.

you could probably google Steel Strap Turnbuckle or Steel Strap Tensioner.
(cheap HF straps can temporarily hold it all in place until the steel is applied).
How To Create Barrel Sauna Staves-strap.png

for a novice/beginner woodworker, there is a learning curve to all power tools.
for an experienced carpenter/woodworker, I would suggest to purchase a used shaper
and two shaper heads for the interlocking staves. (then sell it after the project is done).
without a complete set of plans, that project could be fraught with frustrations
from the ground up.

Edit: to become familiar with the tools and techniques, you could start off with a
much smaller project such as a drum shell to develop some skills in that area.
building a small prototype could save you much aggravation (and money).

How To Create Barrel Sauna Staves-pic_stave_round_wato2.jpg

.

there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks.

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 09-29-2020 at 03:17 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-29-2020, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
]welcome to the forum, David. what part of the country are you in ?
is this just an idea that you are toying with - or, are you actually considering
building this project ?
Thanks John. I'm in Kalamazoo, MI. I am actually considering building it, but I am a novice woodworker at best. I built pole barns and custom homes in the past so I feel comfortable getting to know woodworking tools, but I'm not retired so my time is limited and time demands high. I have a really private and relaxing back yard and want to make it as wonderful a sanctuary as I can without blowing through $40,0000 in no time. For starters, I don't have that much! The more I can do myself, the better. One thing I don't quite understand is how much just the material would cost as opposed to the kit. Plus, I'd have to buy the tools. However, then I'd have them for future projects, but would I have future projects :) ??? Still, if my novice nature makes picking a sauna up for $7k or $8k as opposed to making a lumber list, buying and moving said lumber, cutting it all, ect, only to save a few thousand, then I'd listen to your wisdom and choose either to go without or to buy the kit. This particular kit is Almost Heaven Saunas and their corporate headquarters in only 80 miles away so I could save on shipping by picking it up.



Anyway, thanks for your advice and I look forward to hearing what you have to say now. Much appreciated!



David
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-29-2020, 07:56 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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I take you like the cylindrical shape .....

It is both easy and difficult to build in my opinion. Easy because you just use one "standard" piece and make a zillion of them. Difficult because strapping them together could be a nightmare. One solution that comes to mind is to lay out 3 strips of sticky side up tape and assemble the whole zillion on the flat. Then start raising up one side gently until you reach the highest point and support it with a long beam ..... OR keep rolling around it until you mate with the side still on the ground. The steel strap or long ratchet straps would then be tightened to form the cylinder.

One question is whether the ends of the pieces would sit in a rabbet to secure them. That would be best structurally, but it could be a challenge to get them all seated...... I donno? The circular ends would need to be pretty accurate and identical. The final piece may need to be a custom size to mate perfectly, so be prepared for that uncertainty.


You would probably want all the help you can muster to assemble this. I don't see a huge issue making the pieces using either a shaper or a pretty stout router table with supports on both ends for a total that's twice the length of the shell plus the length of the router table. You can't have the slightest variation on the pieces or they won't mate together properly.


In light of all this, your decision would be whether to buy or to build....
https://www.redwoodsaunas.com/cedar-...ar-wood-tanks/





Another idea brought this up on You Tube. They used bevels rather than the half round joints which makes the whole process a lot easier on the table saw:


and this if you can find a used one?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-29-2020 at 08:26 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-29-2020, 08:35 PM
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I don't have anything further to add other than I am not a sauna guy.
(in the summer, I can put a bucket of water on my screened in patio and call it a sauna).

I am trying to understand the concept of the barrel style. I see so much wasted space and
probably uncomfortable seating compared to a square box that could be built in way less time
and way less money.

wow - I just googled "Outdoor Sauna" and I had no idea that round, oval, and other shapes
were so popular. I guess if that is your cup of tea and you have the money, go for it.

.

there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-30-2020, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Both of You

Quote:
The final piece may need to be a custom size to mate perfectly, so be prepared for that uncertainty. You can't have the slightest variation on the pieces or they won't mate together properly. Another idea brought this up on You Tube. They used bevels rather than the half round joints which makes the whole process a lot easier on the table saw.

Quote:
I am trying to understand the concept of the barrel style. I guess if that is your cup of tea and you have the money, go for it.

Thank you woodnthings and John. I think I'll hold off and mull it over for now. Adding a sauna is one of the last steps the back area demands, anyway, so I have time to marinate on the idea. I do like the bevel option over the rounded method. I thought about building something more boxy, and I still might, but I wanted the area to be as interesting to the eye as possible. Regardless, you both have been a great help. Thank you!
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