I have an addiction to soaking in hot water (as do most people). I don’t know when this started, maybe as a child taking a bath. My hot water addiction goes further as I want to soak in natural hot springs in nature. Fiberglass / cement hot tubs fill the need if that is all that is available, but nothing beats a dirty smelly hot tub in volcanic areas of the north western USA. After my last epic solo hot springs trip in 2018 I made a goal to build my own unique hot tub for my back yard. I have met that goal with version 1.
The plan started with a tape outline and a piece of wood on the ground. I made the angle of the back at 35 degrees. Roughly the same as most bath tubs.
I then started to plan out the base. I glued 2 – 2x10x8 and 1 2x8x8 yellow pine boards for the bottom. This picture is of 3 2x8x8 but after fitting them together I wanted a tad more space plus room to build up the walls.
Time to start making the walls/sides of the tub. This part took me some time until I finally settled on a brick type of pattern. I wanted to use full length board but that would be too hard to make the curves for front and back. I experimented with 4×4’s but those were douglas fir and the color sucked. I ended up taking 2x10x8’s and ripping / cross cutting them into small 2×6 inch blocks. Then around the ends for the curves i would cut each piece to fit.
Over the next couple of weeks I cut and glued 1 layer a day roughly. I used Total Boat epoxy to glue each layer together. There are 12 layers of 2″x6″ blocks. Each block on the curve ends had to be cut to size and angle 1 by 1 to fit. I did not use any fancy joinery between each layer, just epoxy. The boards/blocks were not planed either (this wasn’t a good idea). The wood hot tub is approximately 18″ deep. Then depth is great but version 2 will increase the depth to 20″ by adding 2 additional layers.
Now the wood hot tub has it’s basic shape I start grinding using an angel grinder with an Arbortech Turboplane attachment.
Painting with Fire
The wooden hot tub now needs to be painted. I decided / planned this to be a Shou Sugi Ban finish from the beginning. It turned out WAY better than I expected.
I needed to add some pops of color. I filled in some of the knot holes with synthetic crushed opal.
She’s Got Legs
I used 1″ galvanized steel pipe for the legs. They support the estimated 1500lbs this thing weighs
I used over a gallon of Total Boat Epoxy to coat this thing. The next one I will learn how to use fiberglass to get a water tight seal. Also I need to remember after the last coat of epoxy to wait at least a week before getting it wet.
Heater Setup and Final Placement
I used a cheap portable (ish) propane heater of Amazon that was $280 bucks. I split off the garden hose spigot with a T-valve that goes into the heater for filling with hot water. I am using a SeaFlo transfer pump to recirculate the water in the tub. I don’t leave it full all the time, usually just a few days or so. I used a 4×8 sheet of OSB ripped in half to roll the tub out with a furniture dolly. I picked up some square stones and river pebbles to make a little stepping area.
Commence Enjoyment of the DIY Wooden Hot Tub
Things I do not like and will change in the version 2
- The heater solution sucks. I’m going to build a electric version with a spa pump and heater.
- I need to build a cover for it to keep it warm while the electric pump keeps it work
- I am going to build a new and improved model.
- The bottom I need to build a little thicker and then create channels to help it drain better
- I need to build in some “humps” in the bottom so you can use them to keep your arse from sliding
- I will build in some foot pegs / bumps to help for relaxation and support
- I’ll make a point to take video of each and every step
A fitting end to 2020 as the damn gas heater thing doesn’t want to work properly on this new years eve. Farking POS
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