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A DIY sauna build in Prince Edward Island pays tribute to a dear friend.

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Guest post series continues.

Enter Claudia:

Our stove is a second hand beauty from good friends (one, Bruce, who passed away in March).

Bruce had a peculiar fancy for samovars and, the year before he died, he got one. His wife, Sarah, gave it to us so we could all have memorial Saunas & Samovars, here in middle-of-nowhere spruce woods in PEI.
We did indeed have our inaugural sauna and samovar a couple weeks ago and the depth of quietness and restoration took the joy of life to a new level. We quietly succumbed as the fabric of reality shifted to fill in the space that Bruce left.

Bruce would take so much pleasure in all this, and in the amount of pleasure we are all reaping from it.

Thank you again for all your good natured, and experienced help along the way.
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This was an enormously satisfying project.

Last year we had enjoyed sauna trucks on the edge of lake Baikal, in Siberia. In those trucks, the body of the wood stove was inside the sauna, but the stove was built into the side of the truck, so it could be loaded from the outside.

It was such an enjoyable experience that we endeavored to build one of our own. Though I helped with the design and a few practical elements, my husband Jim did all the work.

The only thing we hired out was the bricking around the stove. Jim felt a bit over his head on that, so he helped a neighbor mason do that part.  We didn’t find your sauna book until we were almost done, so might’ve done a few little things differently, but it is amazing. We took our inaugural sauna a couple weeks ago and it brings greater quiet and joy to life. Incalculable.

We put the sauna on concrete posts and put a screen underneath the cedar flooring, so bugs can’t get in.

We snugged the flooring close together but there are little cracks here and there due to some warp that was in the boards when we got them.

The spaces are likely to get a little wider over the years but even now, we could dump buckets of water over our heads and it didn’t pool anywhere. It would just go through the cracks.  Jim made a slight slope on the earth under the floor, so water will just drain into our pond. So far it seems to work great.

The dimensions: the hot room is 7’x8′.  The screened in, attached porch is 5’x8′. So the total dimensions are 12’x8’

We used a spring ball catch on the top of the hot room door. That works just great.

We used local drift wood for the door handles. Also terrific.

We gathered rocks on the beach. Growing up in VT, I thought I knew what granite is, and that is what I looked for. But there are rocks that look like granite but aren’t. Since the look-alikes are not igneous rocks, I was nervous. But I did the best I could and we used the onces I was more sure of and so far, no exploding rocks 🙂

We really liked gathering the local bay leaves and making a tea of them to both drink and pour on the hot rocks.

The whole experience is amazing. We ended up spending about $5,500.   I expect it is already worth it.

Thanks loads for all your kind help.  With warm regards,

cw & jim



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3 thoughts on “A DIY sauna build in Prince Edward Island pays tribute to a dear friend.”

  1. Claudia:

    Your words and photos of your sauna build are right in step with much of what i’m trying to do with Saunatimes.

    I could go on and on, as I know we have similar feelings about sauna being a great platform for paying respects for those we love – a spiritual retreat for pondering, and connecting.

    The other thing your post touches upon is the great satisfaction of DIY. Sauna building fosters such an enriching learning experience. As significant, it creates this wonderful pride – a reward that gives back over and over and over, with each sauna session.

  2. Thank you for such an excellent post and a great project. What stuck with me the most was the line “the depth of quietness and restoration took the joy of life to a new level.” This is especially meaningful as it also pays tribute to a friend, who is also honored by the mention of his love of samovars. And the use of driftwood and beach rocks is such a creative and fantastic idea.

    I own and use an infrared sauna, a beautiful piece of furniture in its own right, which provides me a bit of quietness from the world when the door is closed, muffling all noises. (The quietness mentioned in this article is something that may seem foreign to some people- but not to anyone who has enjoyed a sauna even once, as once is all it takes to understand it).

    But while I own one particular type of sauna, to me the important message is to simply enjoy a sauna, whatever the type. Peacefulness and a cleansing sweat are gained in varying degrees from all saunas. It is one of the most therapeutic activities a person can do, mentally and physically.

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