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Gary’s authentic sauna build in Wisconsin is warmly received by family and friends

Guest post series continues.

Enter Gary from Wisconsin:

Sauna season is definitely upon us.  The sauna build has been a great adventure from the planning stages beginning last Spring though the construction phase with lots of tips and tricks from Saunatimes.  Many times while hammering nails this summer the temperatures were in the mid 90’s with humidities to match.  It certainly felt like being in a sauna while building one.  The irony was not lost on my wife who thinks I am crazy enough already to think sweating on a wood bench in a dark hot room is something to relish in.  Being out in the extreme heat and sun to build the dark hot room in her eyes makes me almost certifiable.  I suppose the sauna experience is hard for those who dislike the opposite of cold to appreciate.
 garys-sauna-benches

Equally hard to appreciate, unless you actually visit, is the Lamppa Manufacturing Stove Works in the little town of Tower, Minnesota.

The factory is located about 1 1/2 hours north of Duluth.  The Kuuma Woodburning Sauna Stove is manufactured there by non other than the owner Daryl Lamppa himself along with his talented staff.  If you order your stove today it will probably be ready in about 4 months.  That was the lead time Daryl provided to a new customer while I was there to pick up my stove 2 weeks ago.  The shop itself is a nondescript single story structure with a flat roof located on the edge of town.  There is nothing fancy about the building.  Plain white with a single covered entry door with a small picture window to the right.  Lettering along with roof edge lets you know you have arrived at Lamppa MFG.  The nondescript store front really hides the beauty of the products created within.  When I walked in Daryl was sitting at his modest desk speaking with a new costumer who was ordering a stove whilst surrounded by a pile of orders, and various papers that seemingly had accumulated over the 30 year span of the business.  They were as excited to order their stove as I was to pick mine up.

I had a great visit with Daryl, a very personable and knowledgable guy.

He was more than happy to discuss the art of wood burning with his newest sauna stove purchaser.  Daryl and another employee loaded the 400+ pound behemoth small sauna stove into the back of my small SUV.  Plywood with cardboard on top really helped with the loading. A few old towels also offered some protection for transport of my valuable cargo.
 garys-kuuma-wood-fired-sauna-stove
When you get the stove home it will help to have someone else to assist you with unloading and setting the stove in your new sauna structure.  However, if you don’t have help, you can unload it, move it, and get it properly installed yourself using the plywood, cardboard, and a little ingenuity.  Channel the great Egyptian pyramid builders for inspiration.  An appliance dolly would be great but I didn’t have one so I channeled some Egyptians instead.
 garys-sauna-hot-room-door

After a few pre burns to get rid of manufacturing residue your stove will be ready for the maiden sauna.

The Kuuma stove lights easily and has excellent controls.  It did not take long to get the 8′ X 6′ hot room up to temperature.  The maiden sauna is just what you would expect.  An unbelievable feeling of well being, warmth and peace.  There is, no doubt, also a great feeling of accomplishment knowing that you have planned, constructed, and outfitted your new sauna with your own hands.  I also owe a great deal of debt and gratitude to Glenn at Saunatimes for his sauna plan, tips and tricks, and moral support along the way.  Thank You Glenn!
garys-changing-room
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6 Comments on This Post

  1. What great job you did Gary!! Lots of very nice detail work and finished down to the last screw. I’m sure you will enjoy many cold days to come inside the hot sauna.

  2. Great job to my brother Gary. I don’t know how Anita puts up with your projects. I’m sure she’ll have a “Draper” waiting for you after a session in the box!

  3. We are prepping for our first sauna project & need to think about cord wood now. Obviously it depends on many factors (type of stove, sauna size, how hot, type of wood and how dry it is, etc), but can you give me a ballpark estimate on how much wood you go through, type, etc so I can get an idea? Thanks so much! Great sauna, by the way!

  4. Aurie: I have two saunas each with a small Kuuma stove – one in my backyard, the other at the cabin. I can take a sauna with 3-4 sticks of firewood. Any decent wood burning sauna stove should take 16″ logs. The trick is to get a good fire going then idle the stove for efficient burn. You can search “gasification” on this website for more hot air and BTU chatter, hope this helps.

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