Managing our wood burning sauna stove

With our wood burning sauna stoves the fuss is the muss

Some back away from installing a wood burning sauna stoves, in favor of the more convenient electric sauna stove option.

And this is ok.

But for those of us who choose the wood stove option, we:

  • Enjoy tinkering with the fire. (much like making beer or cooking a meal from scratch).
  • Appreciate knowing where our heat comes from (vs. plugged into an electric wire on the grid).
  • Embrace the DIY aspect (cutting, splitting, stacking wood, is much like gardening).

Why does wood fired pizza taste better?  Why does wood heat feel better?  Why do all chefs use cast iron frying pans (vs thin metal).  Why is the University of Minnesota collaborating to create SaunaShoes with thermal mass in the sole?

We ask ourselves these questions whilst “ember-izing” on the sauna bench.

managing our wood burning sauna stove
Jim Willis’s wood burning sauna stove (photo: Jim Willis).
Mark Babson’s wood burning sauna stove (photo: Mark Babson).
Entering Michael Furlong’s wood burning sauna (photo Michael Furlong).
Michelle Mark’s wood burning sauna stove (photo: Michelle Mark).

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10 Comments on This Post

  1. If you have the means… nothing like a traditional Finnish Sauna that is wood fired. It’s the whole process from gathering the wood to feeling the löyly creep across your body that cleanses the soul…Life is good!

  2. Chris: Agreed, savusauna is the pinnacle of experience, yet for me, the quality made wood burning sauna stove hits on an optimized level of both wood consumption minimization as well as clean burning.maximization. But dangerous to compare the two saunas, of course.

  3. Agreed, Tom. We have a lot of switches and dials in our life. It’s nice that we leave these behind with our wood fired saunas. And another thing: with the efficiency and clean burning of these new stoves, it’s amazing how 1) little wood is needed and 2) how hot it gets, meaning 3) our wood pile lasts that much longer.

    And I agree with you, the whole process is cleansing of the soul. Well said.

  4. Good afternoon I made my donation this morning. I do believe the email is not working at this time could you send me the book at this one thank you.

  5. I have come to believe the laying and tending of the wood sauna stove is as much of the sauna experience as the loyla. I lay the sauna fire with care, using the top down fire build. Once started I make sure it well started, and then visit and tend it frequently until it is sauna time. I love it.

    And of course you have to obtain the firewood, split it to size, and then stack it to dry properly. Being a bit OCD I have separate wood racks for kindling, one for rounders or large split long burners, and yet another for mid-size to make sure the long burners get going, and to add to the stove if you need a little quick temperature surge in the sauna. If you use anything other than a wood burning sauna stove, you miss half the fun.

  6. Hi Glenn, I’m in the process of designing a mobile sauna. I really want to use wood. Are there any stoves you would recommend for a mobile situation that can be fed from the outside? Any things I should be wary of if I’m leaning toward this style? I’m looking for any info I can find especially on how to heat proof the area where the stove penetrates the wall in such a small structure. Are there any stove brands better suited for mobile situations ie: lighter?

  7. Joey:

    Feeding wood stove from the outside. You can do this. It will be tricky, however, to align this wall with non combustable and framing (aluminum) so that when you’re bouncing down the road, the shell of your unit doesn’t bounce and bend and crack your wall. I can explain more if you like, but this is primary concern with mobile sauna and outside feed. Try this for more biased reading: https://www.saunatimes.com/building-a-sauna/wood-burning-sauna-feed-from-the-outside-or-inside/

    Stove brands: The Kuuma stove is a 400# beast. But we are driving them all over Minnesota right now (and with great success). If you’re looking for a lighter stove the Helo is featherweight by comparison and should work fine for your mobilization. This stove (from memory) was used to heat the Traveling Sauna. https://www.saunatimes.com/sauna-talk/sauna-talk-traveling-sauna-tours-the-united-states-to-help-celebrate-100-years-of-finlands-independence/

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