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Cob Sauna...Anybody built one?

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Hi all,

Ive built my first Rocket Mass Heater and i want more...

Has anybody here built a cob sauna who can point me in the right direction? Are there any youtube videos on the subject that are actually useful?

My plan is to do it quick as possible...in other words in about 3 months...
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Location: Point Arena, Ca
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Yeah.. Don't do it.
Cob loves to soak in the heat.. You'll be feeding your fire for a long time just to heat up the building.

I prefer light straw (or pajareke) for saunas now. Insulation means that the heat you pump into the building is FOR THE PEOPLE instead of the building.
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Hi Karl,

Well I don't think I would say don't do it, but I would say you must be very keen on how you do it. Having a well insulated building is exactly what you want in a sauna, (sorry Kirk) as most of the traditional styles are either made of wood, buried in the ground, or simple leather/felt/canvas domes (think sweat lodge.) Now I have been in a few hybrid cob saunas and found them rather nice, but I did notice some degradation of the cob in some areas. The best one I saw, in the cob style, was cordwood, or stacked wood style.

Now what I would come back to is more questions:

What are your goals for the sauna?

Do you have access to wood?

Have you done clay architecture before?

What size?

Have you any experiences with sweat lodges or saunas?

A hybrid is going to probably be your best solution if you want to experiment. If not, go with what works, and has for millenia.


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This is the cob sauna at Trion Farm in Portland, Oregon. It is gentle but really cranks up the humidity for a good sweat and sits about 30 really good friends and everyone sings.
[Thumbnail for Sol-Food-West-Coast-858.jpg]
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I was inspired by Rob Roy's cordwood sauna;
even if I were to make one from cob, the humidity-regulating properties he discussed
—the way the log ends wick moisture to the outside, quickly—
would be a design element I'd seriously consider adding, to some extent.

...If you do a post and beam roof first,
you could put up some ferro-cob walls in a few days, say.
Using that as a non-structural skin, on the outside could be light-clay straw [8+"?],
plus a couple coats of plaster.

. . .

The ferro-cob I'm envisioning is just a simple thick-guage metal mesh, stretched tight —and tacked—
around [or inside] the post-and-beam structure. . . .
Starting from the bottom just build up using long-straw cob;
you could perhaps brace a piece of plywood on the opposite side, to make the application easier—
so the thick-guage fencing / concrete reinforcing mesh wouldn't flex so much—, or mirror your application with someone on the opposite side.

. . .

This concept interests me for use in a larger application,
however traditional / "full" walls of cob do provide such nice structural support for the roof.
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