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Thread: Any good Banya designs?

  1. #1

    Default Any good Banya designs?

    Looking for a good Banya design that would accommodate up to 4 people and was wondering what types of materials and construction techniques and designs are used.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Banya... Maqivik (Yupik)

    I have built a few of these. Most were in the 12x16 size and fired by a drum stove in the hot room. The latest one I have is much smaller, and is built out of a storage shed sold by Home Depot. It is a little tight, but I don't steam as much as I used to out in SW Alaska where it is a social thing and 5 or 6 guys might show up to BS the evening away.

    If you just want a simple one, buy an 8x12 shed, mount it on a self-supporting floor system sitting on blocks, put a drum stove with flu pipe and a pile of rocks inside the hot room, modify the main door so it is a single opener rather than a barn door arrangement, put in a partition with its own door between the hot and cold areas, wire, insulate and sheath the walls and ceiling with 3/8" ply, put in some benches, and you are ready to light it up. Oh yeah, don't forget to jack up one side and one corner a little, and drill some holes in the opposite corner of the hot room to allow water to drain ( I have a stove which sits in a recess independent of the floor and into which I squeegee wash water). You can skirt around the whole structure by stapeling strips of poly tarp around the perimeter. This hugs the ground and keeps drafts out while allowing for frost heeve.


    Some people prefer to put half of the stove outside the steam bath and feed it from outside, which gives you more floor space, but you have to insulate this wall specially, and I find going outside to feed the stove inconvenient.

    I built a cool-off deck outside my steam bath which has its own privacy wall. Great for summer time usage.

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    A cool off deck is essential. Make sure you have adequate air for combustion. I build mine air tight and had to drill a 3" hole in the floor which has a pvc pipe with an elbow in it pointing towards the air intake of the stove, because our fires never burned well at all untill I installed that pipe.

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    Default Banya diagram

    Pig Valve,
    Is this the type of responce you are looking for?




    Size can be changed per your desires.

    George

  5. #5

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    Thanks George for the diagram. Yes that's what I was looking for it gives me some ideas to work with.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Had to do this too.

    Quote Originally Posted by RastaHunter View Post
    A cool off deck is essential. Make sure you have adequate air for combustion. I build mine air tight and had to drill a 3" hole in the floor which has a pvc pipe with an elbow in it pointing towards the air intake of the stove, because our fires never burned well at all untill I installed that pipe.
    On a steam bath I had in Homer, my problem was that the hot room was so air-tight that when I opened the door from the cool room it would draw out smoke or even fire from the door of the stove. I plumbed a galvanized pipe from the barrel bung hole (larger hole), screwed on an open/shut gate valve for good measure, and 90-ed it down through the floor. End of smoke problem, and I could regulate the air intake for combustion a little better as well.

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    Some of the finer hot rooms have had 2x's with gaps for the water to drain. You will need to skirt the building well to keep drafts out...

    Had one with aromatic cedar on the ceiling. When the steam from the water tossed on the stove rolled accross the cedar it was awesome.

    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    On a steam bath I had in Homer, my problem was that the hot room was so air-tight that when I opened the door from the cool room it would draw out smoke or even fire from the door of the stove. I plumbed a galvanized pipe from the barrel bung hole (larger hole), screwed on an open/shut gate valve for good measure, and 90-ed it down through the floor. End of smoke problem, and I could regulate the air intake for combustion a little better as well.
    Open and Shut Valve, Great Idea, I dont know why I didnt think of that one. i will put one in next chance I get.

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    Member Michael's Avatar
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    Here's a few of our Sauna in Glennallen. I framed around the stove and built up with rocks so I wouldn't have to worry about the errant ashy spark or coal dropping on the floor.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna016.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna019.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna020.jpg

    We lined the interior with cedar and made the benches of 2 x 4 cedar on edge so it wouldn't hold water.

    I personally like a lower ceiling, but the Project Superintendant had her own ideas. The shower door to let light into the hot side works really well as long as you remember that the metal handle on the inside can get WARM.

    We usually have a large canner kettle with water on top of the stove. We bring 3 or 4 gallons of cold wter in with us and mix it with the hot in individual wash tubs. We can bathe 3 couples on about 6 or 7 gallons of water. 4 friends can use this at one time, but 2 is better. It is 8 x 16 with the cool room being about 6'.

    Local spruce and cottonwood construction with the exception of the cedar interior. You only have to sit on Spruce pitch one time to change your ideas about interior construction. Luckily it ws my buddy (thought cedar was a frivoless waste) who sat in the pitch and not my wife.

    I like to buy fresh sage at the supermarket and lay a couple sprigs on the hot rocks behind the stove. When it gets aromatic I put a couple drops of Eucalyptas oil in a dipper of water and slowly pour it over the hot rocks. A little piece of heaven after a day of snow machining or wood cutting.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Spiffy

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Here's a few of our Sauna in Glennallen. I framed around the stove and built up with rocks so I wouldn't have to worry about the errant ashy spark or coal dropping on the floor.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna016.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna019.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n_sauna020.jpg

    We lined the interior with cedar and made the benches of 2 x 4 cedar on edge so it wouldn't hold water.

    I personally like a lower ceiling, but the Project Superintendant had her own ideas. The shower door to let light into the hot side works really well as long as you remember that the metal handle on the inside can get WARM.

    We usually have a large canner kettle with water on top of the stove. We bring 3 or 4 gallons of cold wter in with us and mix it with the hot in individual wash tubs. We can bathe 3 couples on about 6 or 7 gallons of water. 4 friends can use this at one time, but 2 is better. It is 8 x 16 with the cool room being about 6'.

    Local spruce and cottonwood construction with the exception of the cedar interior. You only have to sit on Spruce pitch one time to change your ideas about interior construction. Luckily it ws my buddy (thought cedar was a frivoless waste) who sat in the pitch and not my wife.

    I like to buy fresh sage at the supermarket and lay a couple sprigs on the hot rocks behind the stove. When it gets aromatic I put a couple drops of Eucalyptas oil in a dipper of water and slowly pour it over the hot rocks. A little piece of heaven after a day of snow machining or wood cutting.
    Makes mine look like trailer trash.
    The only thing worse than sitting on hot pitch is sitting on a nail head!

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    Default insulating steam house?

    Just framed one for us and wondering what is the best material for insulating the hot room/cold room/ceilings, etc...what about that foil bubble stuff? won't soak up moisture like fiberglass. Has anyone ever used tile on the floor under the stove or on the wall for heat protection?? Also, wondering if I should build a false ceiling or just cover the roof joists (single slope shed roof design)?

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    Member Michael's Avatar
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    I used faced batt insulation in the ceiling and walls. The cement board behind the stove has a 1" air gap. The stove is sitting on a rock base slighly lower than the floor. Have not had cold feet yet.

    In a friends sauna I found that the reflective insulation made the heat to intense.

    The stove we have now was cheap and available. My other sauna has a small barrel stove completely covered with stone. Way more comfortable heat.

    Getting them as 'warm' as you would like is generally not a problem.

    I agree on the nail/screw heads. Wall covering is attached at top and bottom and the benches are assembled from the bottom side.

    Have fun.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    TTT - Great Thread.

    How do you guys select your rocks?? This to me is a HUGE issue as you don't want exploding rocks going from glowing to doused with hot water.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Lava rocks are best...

    ... if you can get them! They release steam slower than regular rocks.
    Any rounded rocks are good, but look for cracks or quartz lines, and reject those. I make a saddle of re-mesh to go over the top of the stove with a foot or so extra which I fold back upwards. Then I wire the folded sides back up over the top of the stove and start piling on rocks. When I have all the rocks where I want them to be, I wire on another layer of re-mesh to cover the rocks, and wire it down well. This keeps any rocks from sliding or exploding. Don't forget to either leave the part of the stove right in front of the stack open, or put flat rocks there so you can put a pot there (like a large pressure cooker pot) for hot water.

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    Default Lava rocks

    I used lava rocks that I found here on the beach in Homer and they exploded like all he!! had broke loose. Don't really know why since I kept them out of the weather for over a year figuring that would dry them out. They were nice large rocks too. Thanks for the wire mesh idea because I have been quite frightened to ever put rocks in our sauna again and it's a shame...I miss them!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Hmmm....

    Never had that problem. Perhaps not all lava rocks are the same; I got mine as a gift from a friend who went to Hawaii. They were pretty light and honey-combed.
    Many rocks can break when hot and you pour COLD water over them. Don't know if that is what you did, but I always use hot water to make steam. That is one of the reasons I keep a pot on top of the stove.

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    Yup, I used hot water from the pot on top of our wood stove. Have to admit I really have no clue why the lava rocks exploded. They are really light and honeycombed like yours. They are a mix of black and dark rust color. Will remain a mystery to me I guess!

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Default Local Igneous Rocks

    I built a sauna many years ago over in Spenard and called a geologist over at USGS here in Anchorage and asked him what local rocks would be safe to use. He was fascinated by the question.

    I went over to his office and he pulled out cross-sections of igneous rock and a couple other others that had hydrogen trapped in them. He showed me how dense the igneous rock was and explained how it could not explode when heated.

    Then he went to a geological map of Southcentral and pointed to two places I could find that kind of rock. One was Red Mt. on the other side of Homer (near where I have a cabin). The other was along the Old Glenn Highway between the Knik cutoff and the Eklutna Power Plant. There's an outcropping of this VERY dense rock on the side of the road. I picked up a trunk load (yup, it was heavy) and built my rock wall around my stove.

    Never had a problem with that rock...

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    Member Michael's Avatar
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    We got ours up by Granite Creek on the Glenn. Never had a problem.

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