The rocket stove fire brick chamber stands on a
stone slab [see No.2] which was later buried in pea gravel [No.3]
forming the floor of the sauna. This will allow water poured on
the stove, to make steam, to drain out of the base of the sauna to
Just as flexible branches were used by the Lakota
people to form the dome of their sweat lodges so too does the
SunDog sauna [No. 4] but rather than using skins this lodge uses
woven straw dipped in
clay slip (a clay paste with the consistency of thick cream).
The straw was woven [No.5] rather like a wattle to create
insulation and a substrate to add layers of cob [No.6] and finally clay
Below (left) you can see how the door frame was
built into the structure of the cob using a simple T joint. The
whole sauna is protected from the rain by a simple roundwood frame
with roof. Below (middle) is a picture of one of the many stove
tests made during construction which also helped to dry out the
clay. With a few small ventilation windows to regulate the
temperature the sauna takes about 45 minutes to get up to heat.
Much faster than the several hours it takes to heat rocks in an
open fire for a traditional sweat lodge. You can see even more
steps with more detail and tips on construction on
SunDog's Facebook Page.