Alaska sauna progress

The price of enjoying the exquisite beauty of summer in Alaska is paid in blood. This year the mosquitoes have been particularly bad and we've been paying a lot. When working outside burning old-school Buhach (pronounced by most as Bu-hack) seems to help at keeping the parasites at bay.

My longtime friend, Jennifer, has been visiting with us at our cabin in Hope. She was inspired to finish the changing room in the sauna that was built about 20 years ago (good lord!) by me and my brother (and friends and family). For many years the changing room was just black plastic and exposed fiberglass insulation. The squirrels discovered the insulation and started to tear it out in places. This made for an unpleasant bathing experience. Coming face to face with itchy insulation when your naked and sweaty is not conducive to creating a positive sauna ambiance.

We busted out the Buhach, got out the tools and got the job done. We used scrap lumber from the lumber pile: fence boards, old roof planking, an old sign, and old crating material.

Here's what we ended up with:
This old roof plank may have come from my dad's downtown office/house when it was re-roofed. It was built in the 1910s--very early for Anchorage. Jennifer thought of exposing the "CLO ANCHORAGE" as a nod to the material's provenance.

Above is the wall opposite the main entry. I nailed the door of Keno's sauna up on the wall after we finished covering up the wall. I stole the door last summer. Keno's sauna doesn't have many years left. Maybe I did a bad thing. I figured I should rescue the door before it succumbed to forest decay.

This is an old bench that was found many years ago at the Hope dump. Who knows where it came from but it's fun because it's handmade and it works!

Part of the interior wall material was a sign my dad saved from SPA, Inc. He saved it mostly for the plywood. I figured it was a great nod to Anchorage history and it seemed appropriate for the sauna. Swim for Health! The SPA was, for a time, the only indoor swimming pool in Anchorage. It was a beautiful mid-century modern building. The big building had a long shed roof with a wall of south-facing windows. It was much loved and used until the roof collapsed from condensation rot up where all of the warm moist air collected at the peak of the shed roof and met the wall of windows.

Maybe the changing room is a little too faux rustic? At least the insulation is covered up and we didn't spend any money on materials.

Believe it or not, it's nearing completion. The two biggest remaining projects are that we need to finish the exterior siding and install a proper door between the changing room and the sauna. Right now we're using a temporary hollow-core door.

I'll have a more in-depth story about the construction of this sauna in a future post.(Here it is.)