Warming up a smoke sauna

It’s uh…something else alright. You open vents, leave the door ajar, burn some logs, close the doors and vents and make some steam to get rid of the carbon monoxide. But in what order? My brain was in vacation mode so I couldn’t figure it out but after a brief study session with the instructions, here’s what I found out:

Oh and by the way, this set of instructions applies solely to the smoke sauna of the Seppälä Estate in Koli. For your own sauna, check from the internet? From the manufacturer? I dunno.

  1. Use alder to warm the sauna up. The surrounding area and sheds are full of them but…they’re wet. The barn near the pasture might have some. I send Heikki over there and grab some. He brings pine. Noooo, the instructions clearly say alder! Alder, where you at? Eventually we find another shed.
  2. Be patient with the wood, open both hatches (one in the ceiling, one near the back wall) and leave the door ajar. There’s a fire, woo! I make my way to the campfire to set up that and the fire under the cauldron.
  3. I ask Heikki to check up on the fire in the sauna. I notice there’s no more smoke rising from the chimney and go in myself. He had shut the door and the fire managed to die. Sigh, let’s try again, shall we? After about an hour and a half I’ve used half of the intended wood (2-4 loads), I close the door.
  4. I forget the whole warming process for a while. Petting the sheep turned out to be very time-consuming. The heater has mere embers left but I add more wood and it’s fine. I stir the remaining embers carefully, so that they don’t create smoke.
  5. Close the vents and hatches and wait 30 minutes. I take the ashes out and throw water into the heater to get rid of the carbon monoxide.
  6. Sweep the remaining ashes and carry the water inside. Done!


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