How to Build a One Person Hot Tub for $100

Learn how to build the Furo, a one person hot tub. The article includes step-by-step instructions, information on materials and construction photos.

| December 1995/January 1996

This do-it-yourself project shows you how to build a one person hot tub  for $100 for your home. (See the hot tube photos in the image gallery.)

How to Build a One Person Hot Tub for $100

Back when Yuppies were "in," a hot tub was the pinnacle of western civilization. It was letting go of inhibitions of the 60s, partying of the 70s and materialism of the 80s. Now though, we have the Karma of the 90s. Somehow (probably due to all that collected karma), group hot tub experiences have faded from popularity, but it still feels good to sit in hot water to soak away the stress and tension of the day.

Unfortunately, the standard Anglo-European household bathtub design is so obtuse that you have to be either a contortionist or a midget to get any benefit. It was obviously designed for a parent to bathe a toddler, and no one else. Even if you can lie in it without your legs protruding, the large water-surface area causes the heat to evaporate within just a few minutes, thereby causing a cold tub, which is almost as effective as a cold shower for diminishing your interest in life in general.

Several years ago, however, I found a single-person hot tub invented in the Orient and now I am psychologically dependent upon it. It is small enough to be heated by a standard hot water tank, fits inside a standard bathtub, and is easily portable.

The discovery came through a chance visit to an inn in Cork, Ireland, which has made its fortune catering to Japanese tourists. In my bathroom was this amazing little bathtub. At first I thought it had to be a very deep utility sink, but being desperate, I tried it out. It was just barely large enough for me to sit upright with my legs crossed. But with the flotation of the water and the cocoon-like feeling, it was just right.

The brochure on the nightstand explained that it is called a furo. Furo is the Japanese word for a single-person hot tub.

10/27/2013 8:28:34 AM

Is there a typo regarding the plywood?: "One 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of 36 inch plywood" I don't understand the 36 inch part.

7/12/2009 9:00:30 AM

I live in Japan, and I can attest to the wonder of the ofuro....every house here has a plastic or fiberglass version and they are wonderful. I don't know why this hasn't caught on. Build one today!

12/2/2007 9:14:45 PM

I made one of these using the plans above for about sixty dollars. The only thing I did different was to caulk the inside with silicone after a failed attempt at filling the tub. Works great!

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