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Acquiring a Sauna
The Frame
Hardboard
Wiring
Lamp Guard
Filling the Gaps
Insulation
Change in Plans
The Door
The Vent
Final Touches
Epilogue
Sauna Sessions
Effects and Results






The Door
Page Ten

From the very beginning, the biggest problem with this design was how to build an efficient door. At first, I thought that I could just attach a long, narrow, thick rug to the top of the door frame, and droop it over the opening. After searching for a suitable rug, however, there was a concern about the materials used in some rugs, and potential out gassing. It also appeared to be difficult to get a rug to hang in such a way that it would lay very flat against the frame so as not to create air gaps along its edge.

For the first uses of the unit, I settled on a bamboo shade. It worked fairly well, but it also did not cling to the frame without forming air gaps, and it was too porous. A blanket was doubled over and hung over the shade, which helped a great deal, but the search for a better door went on.


Ideally, a sauna door should be well insulated, and fit very tightly when closed from the outside, to facilitate preheating, and then fit very tightly when closed from the inside, to maintain high operating temperatures, once a session begins.

After toying with the idea of building a door out of 1x4's, hardboard, and insulation, similar to the rest of the walls, it was finally rejected because I was never happy with any method I could use to open it, close it, and secure it in the closed position. I looked at hinges, and some sort of pins, but these methods would probably leave air gaps unless the door was  bolted closed, which seemed a little dangerous.

Next, a design employing a piece of canvas, that was stretched over the inside of the opening, and stapled in place, at the top, and a sheet of vinyl-covered cotton, stretched over the outside of the opening, and stapled to the frame, at the top, seemed to work just fine!
This leaves a 3/4" air gap, between the two pieces of fabric, which creates even more insulation than that provided by the fabric alone! For the pre-heating, I dropped the bamboo shade on top of the vinyl-covered cotton, to speed up the process. Then, the shade can be pulled up and out of the way before starting the session.


However, this new "door" worked so well that the climate inside became stifling!! It held in the heat, which allowed the sauna to get up to the desired temperatures, but the outer vinyl-covered fabric also held in too much of the moisture, generated from my sweat! This experience made it clear that some ventilation was needed, in addition to just trying to maximize heat generation, and retention.

For this reason, I replaced the vinyl-covered cotton with another piece of canvas, which allows more moisture to escape. This solution for a "door" has been effective, and performs very well!!

Start Pre-Heating: Infrared-Lamp Sauna
At the start of the pre-heating, "the door" is open.


The inner canvas is closed first: Infrared-Lamp Sauna
The inside piece of canvas is stapled to the frame,
across the top;
it is put in this position for pre-heating,
and left there during the session.



The outer canvas is moved into place: Infrared-Lamp Sauna
The outside piece of canvas is stapled to the frame,
across the top;
it is put in this position for pre-heating,
and left there during the session.


The bamboo curtian is moved into place: Infrared-Lamp Sauna
The bamboo curtain is mounted on hooks;
it is put in this position for pre-heating,
and pulled up and out of the way during the session


Go to next page - The Vent

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