Sunday, October 19, 2014

Upgrading the Sauna Stove

As part of the overall upgrades on the sauna, I wanted to switch out the concrete board I had originally used to "frame" the sauna stove on the inside and outside of the log walls.

When I first installed the sauna stove and concrete board, I thought that it would be a nice, permanent solution.  As the year progressed though, the board began to crumble around the edges and screw holes.  It also developed a network of spiderweb type cracks across it and it became clear that the heat was not kind to such a thin sheet.

After my experience with having the axle custom made at Rudnicki Industrial, I felt more confident in asking the dumb questions of people clearly smarter than me.  I headed back there and spoke to J! about replacing the concrete board with some sheet steel.  I wasn't interested in it being a fancy thing, just functional (functional IS beautiful to me...)

He suggested that for something of that nature, I would be better served by visiting Nu-Tech metals down in the city and speaking with M!.

Kenny and me, on my next trip to town, visited there and managed to catch M! in.  He looked over our plans and thought they were doable.  It did max out my budget ($200 - the amount I had mentally prepared myself for as a worst-case scenario).  I agreed though, and he said he could have it done in a day or two.

Returning promptly at 8am two days later, I was delighted to see the finished product.  Exactly as I had described!

Yesterday, I carried it to the sauna around lunch to begin the retrofit.  I carefully removed all the paving stones and cleaned the loose mortar off.  I also removed the side supports as I anticipated the steel to hold the stones in place.  This also made space for the bolts linking the inside and outside plates together.

After I set the inside plate in place, I repacked some mineral wool insulation around the paving stones (not shown).  A perfect fit!

With Donna and Kenny  helping out tremendously, we managed to line up the bolts and get the outer plate installed just perfectly.

I had to expand the holes on the lower inside plate slightly, but that was very minor compared to just how badly I feared things could have gone.

I tightened down all the bolts, and things looked great to me.  We'll see what sort of patina the steel plates take on over time.  I also have to see how much heat gets transferred from the stove to the plate and then on to the wall.  I don't want it to become a hazard.

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