we're going to build a kiuas for the sauna. a kiuas is a sauna heater. the current kiuas is not doing so hot. it's thirty-five years old and only one of the two electric heating elements still works. it takes about three hours to heat the sauna to a reasonably good temperature (160° Fahrenheit) and uses a lot of electricity in the process. the new kiuas will be a very efficient wood stove and should get much hotter much more quickly. the basic design will be similar to the Picasso stove on pages 39-41 of this pdf brochure from Aprovecho. we've already got chimney parts, some stovepipe, some fire bricks, and a few metal barrels free from various places. the possibility of burning down the house increases the stakes on this project quite a bit, so we're going to take our time to get it just right before firing it up the first time.
as of November of 2011, a new kiuas is in place. it isn't finished yet, but it's functioning very well. the design isn't much at all like the Picasso stove linked to above. instead, it's closer to a rocket mass heater minus the mass. pretty rough looking right now, since nobody around here is any good with cob, but someday it will be much nicer to look at.