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Your own Finnish smoke sauna: are you ready?

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Jarmo Hiltunen and I have a question for you: are you ready for your own Finnish smoke sauna?

For those who may not know what a smoke sauna is, well, this offer may not be for you, just yet. And that’s ok. To learn more about this special type of sauna, check out this Sauna Talk episode with Bruce Oreck, former US Ambassador to Finland. During the podcast, Bruce helps explain its mystic, superiority, and wonderfulness. No one will disagree that smoke sauna is atop the kick ass sauna ladder.

Jarmo Hultinen is a traditional log house builder, and a smoke sauna expert. You can read about my 2019 interview with Jarmo here. And listen to our recent Sauna Talk, where we discuss his new book about how to build a smoke sauna.

Smoke sauna builder Jarmo Hiltunen
Smoke sauna builder Jarmo Hiltunen

For those of us well familiar to smoke sauna, are you ready for your own?

Now could be YOUR time.

Smoke sauna and log builder professional available

In Northern Europe and especially in Finland, smoke saunas are highly valued and many consider them to be the best type of sauna. For some unknown reason, they are very rare in North America?

Now it’s time to build one in North America and we are looking for an individual, company or group of people with an adventurous spirit to join us on this journey. This is a one-time project whose main purpose is to bring this knowledge from one continent to another.

The plan is to build a sauna as described in the book “Building a Traditional Finnish Smoke Sauna” and to document the process to help other builders around the world learn how to build a decent one. Together with the book there should be enough information for any skilled woodworker to build a proper sauna like no other.

Two ways to build

1) We will gather a team and we will take care of everything and the result will be a finished sauna (contractor version).

2) The people who are interested in how the building is done join the building crew and participate this way (cooperative version).

Smoke sauna: Either the Contractor or Cooperative version available

End result

The main building material for a sauna is hewn logs. Typical sizes for this type of building are 6″ thick logs, usually Scotch pine, aspen or similar wood is preferred. The log frame and most of the needed sauna parts and elements can be built and manufactured in Finland, or we can build everything locally using local materials.

The log frame is built using Scandinavian based handcrafted construction methods. Any type of notch can be chosen, but we recommend dovetail notch, lock notch, cross notch or diamond saddle notch.

The end result is a real Finnish smoke sauna that can usually seat 5-6 people at the same time. During and after the building process you will receive a complete instruction and training on how to operate your sauna.

Building plan

1) The first step before starting construction is to obtain the necessary insurance and building permits.
2) If successful, the contract is made and the author of the book, Jarmo Hiltunen, is hired as the main builder to lead the planning and building process. We are very flexible with the terms and will be able to negotiate a way to proceed based on your resources and needs.

Expenses and estimated total costs

The total cost of building a smoke sauna on another continent is unclear at this time. The main expenses are builders’ salaries, necessary insurances, materials, permits and accommodation and transit costs.

The total cost also depends on the level of customer contribution: most of the work does not require special expertise, and local efforts and labor are greatly appreciated!

Smoke sauna in winter's sunlight
Smoke sauna in winter’s sunlight

A very preliminary total estimate for building a smoke sauna is as follows:

Customer is responsible for – Cement work / foundation according to our specifications.

  • Provide housing for Jarmo on site. 3 months. Approx.
  • Provide 2 capable workers onsight to assist Jarmo.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Jarmo Hiltunen, Finland
+358 400753565

Mr. Glenn Auerbach, USA
(add comment below, I will respond).

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5 thoughts on “Your own Finnish smoke sauna: are you ready?”

  1. This sounds really exciting as I am looking for a sauna building workshop/course and I am currently reading Jarmo Hiltunen’s book. I would love to participle and could lend the land and 100 acres of woods in Atlantic Canada. Can’t afford that price though.

  2. Chantal:

    Like a really good sauna session, all good ideas come from a spark to light the fire. So, let’s kick this one around and fan the flame of good thinking.

  3. Hi Glenn, let’s connect about this smoke sauna idea. I live on a small island in pacific northwest of America. Our little island is called Orcas Island and there are about 6,000 people who live here. I have a vision for building a traditional sauna on my farm charging a small fee for tourists to use. I have reasonable background in woodworking with many tools at the ready.

  4. Hi Glenn, I am in the planning phase of building a Sauna on our property in Maine. I am interested in volunteering for the build. I’m looking forward to getting more information about this project.

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