• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

steam bath challenge

 
steward
Posts: 3601
Location: woodland, washington
145
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
so while I was having a particularly hot sauna last night, I was thinking about the steam baths I enjoyed in Kwethluk, Alaska a few years ago.  the folks up there invited me into the steam bath and made me feel very welcome.  I'm very grateful and I would like to do something for them in return.

I believe steam baths were introduced to Yup'ik folks by Russian fur traders and missionaries a while back, though there were Finnish settlements in the area as well.  the steam baths in Kwethluk consist of a sort of dressing room/cooling off room and the hot room, which has a low ceiling maybe four feet high.

the stove is an oil drum on its side with a chimney.  rocks on the top for steam.  a square metal bucket full of water is set in the door of the stove to heat up the water to toss on the rocks.  as I understood it, the barrel is packed entirely full of wood for one bath, though as many as fifteen folks will take part.  the bath I used had a meat thermometer in the wall that I never saw go under 200 Fahrenheit.

the problem is fuel.  the day I flew in, visibility was pretty good and I couldn't see a tree over twenty feet tall anywhere.  wood is brought in on snow machines from I don't know where, but I can't imagine that they grow close by or very quickly.

the challenge: design a better heater for Yup'ik steam baths.  by better, I mean more efficient.

Kwethluk, and many other Yup'ik towns, are only accessible by bush plane, snow machine, or driving on the rivers when they're frozen.  there isn't a lot of building material available.  plenty of oil drums, though.  stovepipe is light, so that shouldn't be too much trouble to bring in.

it's got to be easy to build and operate.  the current design is popular, despite the amount of wood it requires, because it's so simple.  a new design could be a little more complicated, but not a lot.  any added trouble in the construction or operation will have to be made up for in efficiency.

it's got to be relatively compact.  the hot room of the steam baths are small.  low ceilings, and at most 8' x 10'.  six folks or more have to fit in there at a time with the stove.

anybody want to give it a try?  if you like, I think this is the sort of thing that it would be easy to get grant money for.  so if you want to pay yourself a little bit for your time, go that route.  or throw out some ideas here.  maybe some drawings.  maybe a trip to the Alaskan bush will be in order once there's a promising design.
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
33
hugelkultur forest garden duck trees books chicken food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like the design is already roughed out..... but how about burning dried manure as fuel instead of wood?

Seems that 'design' change is the one needed most 
 
what if we put solar panels on top of the semi truck trailer? That could power this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic