There are several barrel sauna manufacturers producing a range of different barrel designs. We frequently point out the differences in the quality of wood that is used, reminding readers of the importance and advantages of high-grade, clear red cedar. Howver, there is another difference that should be noted, and that is the type of stave that is used in the production of the barrel sauna. Dictionary.com defines a stave as, “one of the thin, narrow, shaped pieces of wood that form the sides of a cask, tub, or similar vessel.” On the barrel sauna, the stave is the board that serves as the perimeter wall of the sauna.
Almost Heaven Saunas are unique in that we only use 2×4 staves in our saunas, compared to 2×6 material used in other brands. There are two key advantages to using more narrow stave. First, since a 2×6 is wider, it creates a large angle between each board as they wrap around the sauna. This angle makes it easier for water and moisture to seep into the sauna room. While all barrel saunas will allow for some moisture to seep between the boards, narrow boards create a tighter seal around the entire perimeter, minimizing the effect.
The scond advantage is simply aesthetics. The 2×4 staves create a more natural curve around the sauna, elminating the jagged look that occurs when using 2×6 material. A quick look at the profiles comparing the two types of wood around the perimeter of the sauna makes the 2×4 stave the obvious choice when looking for an elegent, higher-end look. The sauna built with 2×4 staves is more expensive due to the additional milling required for the additional boards, but we believe the end result is well worth the investment!