Where do I get sauna rocks? Landscape centers!, Landscape centers!, Landscape centers!

So, we are approaching the “Finnish line” of our authentic sauna build.  We’ve followed along with every step of the way of the DIY ebook.  We’ve cured our sauna stove with a good long burn, burning off the factory paint.  We’ve put some finishing touches in place, like attaching our towel hooks and our hot room door hardware.  We’ve checked the calendar and have now invited our friends over for inaugural Friday sauna.

We’re all set to go, but wait! “gasp! panic!”

“I need sauna rocks!!”

Well, a quick trip to the shores of Lake Superior is out of the question.  And despite the metaphor of a million grains of sand, there’s a guilt that comes with dragging a 5 gallon pickle bucket out to the beach shoreline to collect free range organic sauna rocks.

What about railroad tracks?  There’s a fringe line of thinking that “there’s asbestos from train brakes in dem der rocks.”  And then we can get caught up with the idea that if everybody got their sauna rocks from train tracks, would anybody hear a train whistle blow if the train ran off the tracks?

What’s a morally conscious sauna enthusiast to do?

Landscape center!

Landscape center!

Landscape center!

Landscape centers carry ideal sauna rocks

For a few bucks, at a place like Landscape Love in South Minneapolis, a sauna enthusiast can bring a milk crate or 5 gallon sauna bucket, and hand pick through the pile of landscape rocks to get a great assortment (golfball to softball size) of sauna rocks.

Friday is here!  Let’s sauna party!  Phew.  I’ve got sauna rocks!

Decorative rocks from a landscape center (careful: do not use rocks with cracks or fissures for sauna rocks).


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6 thoughts on “Where do I get sauna rocks? Landscape centers!, Landscape centers!, Landscape centers!”

  1. We built a sweat lodge structure in the yard. Tried some alternatives to heating the rocks by fire. We dumpster dove some granite and broke them down to small pieces. We fired up a small hibachi grill, laid the stones in and cooked them for about an hour and a half. While it gave off good steam, it only lasted about 7 minutes total. Did we get the rocks hot enough? Did we use enough rocks? Maybe we should have let the rocks heat the tent before we splash water? Probably trail and error? My husband thinks we could use the house oven instead of an outdoor grill. Safe?

  2. Rose. I think you need a bigger hammer.

    Bigger rocks and bigger fire.

    It’s all about thermal mass. As you know, in Native American sweat lodge and Temescal traditions, rocks – often big rocks – are heated in a fire then brought into the structure, then door closed and ceremony begins. But these rocks need to have a lot of thermal mass, and these rocks need to heat for a long time.

    Can’t vouch for the safety question. You’ll want to be using hard solid granite rocks with no cracks or fissures, for sure. Good luck! More on Temescal here

    Hi Glenn
    Looking to buy a Narvi AK57.
    What about the rocks to put inside?
    River stone from our site? ( Nicely rounded)
    What about the temp they will hopefully reach.
    Confused about which safety wise way to go!
    Like the idea of our site rocks, btw in unlimited supply! Is idealistic.
    Great book, finally getting all the pieces in place, lead time for the stove is the start time.
    Thanks for a great informative site.

  3. Hi John:

    Glad the book is helping you. As you know, I wrote it for people just like you and me: amateurs committed to building really good saunas.

    AK57: Fabulous. Did you hear my Sauna Talk podcast episode with Jessi from Narvi, by chance?

    Rocks: Your email tells me that you’re in the UK. I’m familiar with your superior beer and music, but not with your rocks. If you’re collecting rocks from around your site, a rule of thumb is to see how they react to a good wack from a hammer. If solid, you’re in good shape. Now the Finns may take issue with diy rock collecting, as the “sauna pros” in the Mother land are hell bent on buying rocks from a box, and replacing them every 100 saunas. Either they are smarter than we are, or they have been (over) marketed to from the active sauna rock industry in Finland.

    The ceramic stones: same story. I submit to the fact that they may hold more heat, yet it reminds me of 30 years ago, telling my Uncle about wanting to sell bottled water and he thought I was crazy. Now he tells the story at family gatherings.

    So, like good capitalists, saunatimes is starting to sell sauna stones, and we’re going to start selling bottled “sauna air.” (true on the stones, joking about the air).

    Wishing you good heat, John, and send along a couple pics and stay in tune. Great project you have going!

  4. Railroad Civil Engineer/Surveyor here. Asbestos? meh, unlikely. Roundup? definitely. Federal Felony Theft and Trespassing? definitely. Best to stay off the right-of-way unless they want you there.

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