Building a Cordwood Masonry Sauna

A MOTHER reader describes building a cordwood masonry sauna from scratch, includes information on installing sauna doors, windows and rafters, mortar mix, types of woods to use for the sauna and building diagrams.



Using cordwood masonry sauna
The earth roof, which looks peculiar but is a perfect addition to our summer garden, effectively keeps the cold out of our sauna indefinitely.
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The earth roof in snow.
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The perfect sauna wall is one that combines excellent insulation with exceptional thermal mass. Cordwood construction achieves both.mass. Cordwood construction achieves both.
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Cleaning around the logs and mortar.
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320 pounds of brick surround the stove and store the heat.
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If you can make cement and handle logs, you have all the skills necessary for cordwood construction. Creativity completes the tool kit.
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Make the windows useful but no too large.
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Diagram 1: Cordwood sauna.
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The spokes of the roof wheel are 2 x 8 spruce tongue-and-groove silo staves, topped by standard roof planking, waterproofing material (I am laying Bituthene R4000 here), more insulating material, crushed stone, a loose layer of hay or straw and, finally, sod.
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The Earthwood sauna has a 9' inside diameter, which translates to a 10', 4" outside diameter. (1) High platform, 42" off floor. (2) Low platform, 36" off floor. (3) Ceramic thimble (8" inside diameter) air vent. A cylindrical log end closes the vent. Vents are 5' and 6' off floor, respectively. (4) 4" diameter combustion air inlet, near floor. (5) Stove surrounded by bricks (or stoned}. (6) Floor drain. (7) Forming boards. (8) Shelf. (9) Water-resistant (bathroom) light. (10) Spike for thermometer or towel. (11 ) 2'-wide door. (12) 16"-square window. (13) Wash bucket. (14) Whisk. (15) Firewood store.
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Diagram 2: The cordwood sauna.
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Our custom-designed and insulated door.
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