If you are someone who lives off the grid or someone who simply wants to enjoy soaking in an old-fashioned wooden hot tub without having to pay an arm and a leg for it then this DIY hot tub project might be of your interest. Keep in mind that this project is not an easy one and does require a lot of effort, but the end results make all the hardship worthwhile, a long soak in a hot tub can help one relax and allow their bodies to be free of fatigue and pains.
The first thing that you will need for building a proper wood burning hot tub is a deck on which to place it, you could also place it on any other flat surface since building a wooden deck is no easy task. Once you have a place where you can place your tub, it is time to start building the tub itself, wooden hot tubs are usually made of tight grained wood such as No.2 Cedar, as long as the wood that you choose is tight grained and knot free, you are good to go.
Now, for building the tub’s walls, you need to cut the wood that you have picked to make staves that have a thickness of 1.5 inches and a height of 3 feet, each stave should be 4 inches wide. Measure the number of staves that you are going to need, the amount will depend on the size of your tub, once you know how many staves you will need, you can being cutting them. A bead and cove joint design will be most suitable for creating the tub wall since it will help in keeping the tub watertight and it will also provide a natural curve to the tub wall.
Along with making cuts for the bead and cove joints, you should also cut 11/16 inch deep dado joints at the staves bottom to make connecting them to the base of the tub easier. For the base; 2 x 6 tongue and groove cedar is the most suitable choice, the base should be knot free and sturdy enough to take the weight of water. A floor drain should also be cut into the base of the tub, you can go for a simple push-button bathtub drain that can be extended with a drain pipe attached to its exterior.
Now that you have everything ready, assemble the tub using a mallet to push the staves into place and then secure everything together with some sturdy steel cables that hold the staves in place firmly. You can also design a bench for your hot tub on which you can sit, if you have the right tools on hand then you can either build a submersible woodstove yourself or buy one locally, these stoves cost around $200.
The total cost of a DIY wooden hot tub project should be around $700, which is nothing when you compare it to how much a wooden hot tub would usually cost.