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Thread: wood fired hot tub

  1. #1
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    Default wood fired hot tub

    Has this been covered before?

    I tried a search and got nada

    Anybody have these? Is there a way to keep them from freezing solid during the winter?

    What about filling them from a lake during the winter without freezing up your pump?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    This is pretty much the standard wood fired hot-tub. http://www.snorkel.com/
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Wow...you never know you need something until you see it exists...LOL

  4. #4

    Wink

    We got one of the 4' models a few years ago and love it BUT, it does take a lot of wood to heat it up and we find that if we don't drain and re-fill it every weekend, it gets pretty nasty.

    We have not tried to use it in the winter but I don't think it would be feasible. The recommendation is that you let a couple of feet of water freeze in the tub and I can't see being able to fill it all the way and thaw out the ice cube in the bottom for occasional use in the winter.

    Next year, I want to put in a pump and a filter and see if that will extend the time between drain and fills and that will also suck the cold water off the bottom and allow it to heat up. Before we figured out that you had to stir while heating, it was common to have the top at +100 degrees and the bottom layer at about 60 degrees!

    Would I get one again? You bet! It is a lot of work to get it up to temp but there is nothing better than climbing in a hot tub after a long day of working around the cabin. Getting a regular electric or propane fired hot tub would be easier but wood fired is cheaper and if we wanted easy, we wouldn't have a cabin

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    I guess its been 10 years or so that we've had a 5x3 tub with a Scuba stove. We use it year round. For the first few years we drained it down to 1" or so of water after every use. We found out that's the hardest thing you can do for the tub in the summer, draining it and leaving it. Now we leave the same water in it for several weeks and add standard hot tub chlorine like you would in a city tub. In winter we fill it and heat it every weekend. It takes about 3-4 hours to get to temperature. Maybe 5 hours in sub-zero temps. When we leave we drain all but 1" of water and let that freeze to keep the cedar seasoned. That's what the Snorkel company recommends and it works great. When we get back for the first time in the summer and winter the tub leaks like a sieve, but after several hours the cedar swells back up and seals the cracks. We have little or no leakage once we've used it the first weekend back.

    Its a rule at our cabin that the only bodies that get into the tub had to take a shower first. Cleanliness is everything.

    Soaking in a hot tub during a raging snowstorm is the best!

    Pumping out of a lake will work since the lake water will keep the pump from freezing. Be sure to drain all lines before they freeze. The pump will probably need a little indoor time to thaw before it'll pump the next time. You'll be wanting a well next.

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    we have had a snorkel tub for a few summers and love it. it means cutting more wood but cabin chores seem to be easier than chores at home. we use it pretty much every weekend in the summer and occasionally in the winter. as mr pid said as long as you drain your water lines/hoses winter use is no big deal. with the water running through it the pump will not freeze up but it also needs to be drained after use or thawed out later. we have been draining our tub after each weekend but hadn't heard anything about that being hard on the tub. mr pid - is it the constant shrinking and expansion of the floor that is the issue? so far after 2 years no problems but i am in no hurry to replace anything.

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    First, I need to qualify that we use a well to fill the tub. In fact I held off on the tub until I had the well in place and operational. The reason I qualify that is that I can fill a container with water and a month later it's still perfectly good to drink. My hot tub water stays good, too, as long as we bathe before using it. I have a friend who draws water from a lake and ends up with little cooked critters floating to the top after the tub gets hot. I guess that would change the fill/drain routine.

    Tim @ Waterworks told me several years ago that the hardest thing I could do to a wood tub was to drain it and leave it in summer. Even with a couple of inches of water in the bottom, the tops of the staves would dry out. The repeated drying and swelling was taking a toll. Obviously we have no choice during winter, but we do have a choice during summer. We started leaving the tub full and adding a small dose of chlorine to keep the water safe. It's worked great for us, but we have the well. The best benefit of leaving it full is that the water stays warmer than fresh well water so the tub comes up to temperature a lot quicker. We like that. After about a month the bottom of the tub gets a slipperiness that tells us to drain and refill. My tub is 10 years old and I can see that it'll need replacing in a few years. The stove is still perfect but the wood is aging. I crank on the hoops every spring to slow the first-time-back leaks but it gets harder each year. The next time I'll definitely get the stainless hoops. That wasn't an option when I got this tub.

    By the way, I noticed the new website instructions say 4-6" of water should be left to freeze. I don't have 4" under my stove. I think I have the bigger Snorkel stove in the 5' tub. I honestly can't remember what I bought but it seems bigger than the Scuba stove dimensions on the website. I only have 2-3 inches under the fire box and I always make sure the water line is below that before I close the drain in winter. I don't want the ice expansion to jack the stove. For that reason I never installed the benches. We used to use plastic milk crates but now we don't use any seats at all.

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    Default SeaOtter

    Anyone got one of the cedar tubs made by SeaOtter Woodworks out of Haines? http://www.woodentubs.com

    The stove or heater sits outside the tub.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Found a 20"ish well casing about 2' long. My plan is to build a stove or two and plan on putting a loop in the stove. Connect this to a fish tote for the tub. Hoping to get this done this winter. $750 for the wood fired stove might work out better if this project gets too much, never know till you try.

    George

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    A friend made a black iron pipe loop inside his sauna woodstove to heat water in a 55 gallon drum to bathe the the wet sauna. It worked well. It would be iffy whether there's enough heat for an outdoor tub in the winter. It's hard to beat a Snorkel stove's efficiency for heat transfer.

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    mr pid,
    thanks for the information. we do use lake water in our tub and one reason for draining was so that we didnt have a science experiment growing in the tub while we were gone. i may have to change stategies next summer though to help protect the tub itself.

  12. #12

    Default Homemade Tub-plywood

    I built a 4x4x8 plywood box and used West System epoxy(3 coats) to seal the insides and added a Snorkel stove to it and presto we got us a hottub on a side slough off the Yukon. Opening weekend of hunting my 3 kids and 2 of their buddies all soaked. We had 13 people at the cabin and all enjoyed. We are burning lots of woods from the clearing that took place many years ago. Drift wood is plentful as well. I put 4x4's all the way around the middle of the tub to prevent it from pushing out with water pressure. I drain it each week and wipe it dry and cover it with a tarp. I will try it this winter for the first time. We pull water out of the creek with a gas powered homelite pump. For the cost of the epoxy and plywood I could have bought a cedar one. But in the beginning I had a vision and it didn't include cedar. Most people thought I was crazy and it would never hold water. Well......................they can stay the hell out of my tub. Have a nice winter.
    Wherever you go ....there you are.

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    yukon wondering how the tub worked in winter, sounds like a workable idea for my situation.

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    After getting the Homelite fired up and the tub filled we got it up to temp the next morning and enjoyed the heck out of it. Again......the vision must be kept in front of you and why did you do what you did? I wanted to be able to go to the cabin and have my family enjoy themselves and that is what we do. You can't take away from those memories nor can you buy them in a store. I havwe relocated the tub for a better view of the Yukon and the slough.
    Wherever you go ....there you are.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Anyone know where to get a snorkel stove in the valley/anchorage area?
    BK

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    Try Kachemak Cooperage @272-0722 in anchorage I saw one that they did for a friend a few years ago and looked like very well constructed.

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    I'll give them a ring, thanks Big Bend
    BK

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    For water cleanliness try one of the pool floats that you add Chlorine tablets to. Two 1 inch tablets will last about a week. We are now getting several months on the water change.

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    Update on the stoves for those that are looking.
    Just got off the phone with Mark @ Kenai Cooperage. He carries the snorkel stove for $1000- and a knockoff made locally that works equally well for $900. His main deal is teaching people to build their own sauna's, tub's and so on.
    He's located in Mtn. View, Anch.
    BK

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    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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