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Sauna Enhancements

to a "Star-Gazer" barrel sauna

from Barrel Enterprises, New Brunswick, Canada
©2005 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA

The Basic Sauna

A local client recently purchased a Star Gazer barrel sauna for installation on his deck, like this picture from the vendor. It is shaped like a barrel on end, with a clear dome top to allow "star gazing". Some vendor pictures call it the bullet sauna. He quickly discovered that, since the heat rose, the best (hottest) part of the sauna was near the top.

Bullet Sauna from www.BarrelEnterprises.com

The Loft

Loft in use 3013

A loft was added, somewhat like a semi-circular shelf 64 inches long and 23 inches deep at the center, attached to the sauna about five feet above the floor. It is strong enough to hold a couple adults. In addition to taking advantage of the heat, this allowed a view of the scenery as well as the stars, but was low enough so the solid walls of the sauna still provide modesty.

The Stool

Most people (those without a cape or wings) cannot step from the floor (or even from the 16 inch high bench) to a loft that is five feet high. And there is no place to store a ladder in this sauna. Therefore a curved stool (the shape of the sauna) was built that could be placed on the bench, providing an easy climb to the loft. It also provided a convenient "half way" height, if desired.

Stool On the Bench 3015

Stool in use 3011

Stool under the bench 3016

The stool can be stored partially under the bench. (It is wider than the space between the braces under the bench, so doesn't fit completely under.) It could also be made slightly higher, to be even with the bench, for use as a "foot stool" or to expand the exercise/stretching/yoga options. It could also be narrower to fit completely under the bench, but that would make it substantially smaller and somewhat less stable.

Loft $275
Stool $200
Cover (ramp over) electrical conduit $50
(Up to 4 feet long)

Construction Details

These items are primarily built from 2x6 cedar deck construction wood, carefully selected to minimize slivers and knots, sanded and rounded as appropriate, but left unfinished. The shape was based on measurements taken from this sauna (68 inch inside diameter). As noted the loft is 64 inches wide and about 23 inches deep at the center. The stool is 15 1/2 inches high (to fit under the standard bench), about 14 inches deep (the same as the bench), 16 inches wide at the front, but 22 1/2 inches wide at the back. Other sizes could be built - larger would provide more stability, smaller would be easier to store.

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©2005 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.