Black Sauna Stoves
How would you describe a black banya? Exciting? Exotic? It’s all true. It’s a case of irresistible attraction.
True connoisseurs of ancient tradition will never pass by a Finnish smoke sauna and it is from Finland that the black banya came to Russia.
Make yourself comfortable. When you walk through the doors of one of our black banyas you will finally understand just what a sauna with no plunge pool, stones with no cast iron and a chimneyless stove has to offer. All these achievements of modern civilisation will simply dissolve as you breathe in the delicious aromas of smoked wood, sagebrush and hay. The mind boggles!
The black banya does not even have a separate steam room. The black banya building IS the steam room. The traditional picturesque brick stove, covered with banya stones, has changed little over the centuries. We have taken tradition and just made it a little more accessible and a touch more convenient to use by incorporating the finest features of the Finnish smoke sauna with those of the Russian black banya. Is your curiosity aroused?
How does a black wood burning sauna work? Because the steam room is heated directly by the smoke, due to the absence of a chimney, the black banya is built as a stand-alone room. While the banya is heating up, the door and windows are left slightly ajar to allow the smoke to escape. We can install a flue pipe extraction system enabling our customers to integrate the black banya into a modern-style building without even remotely diminishing the banya's original capacity. This type of installation requires good thermal insulation of the walls, floor and ceiling. The walls are usually made of log guaranteeing good atmospheric circulation. Despite the fact that the air in the banya is renewed 6-7 times, even with the door open, the steam room still retains the heat for a long time. The banya heats up quickly taking about 3 hours to reach temperature. In a black banya the windows are small, the doorstep high and the doors low so make sure that heat is retained for as long as possible. The steam room is complimented with a separate dressing-room, shower unit and space for relaxation.
Interior space. The organisation of the interior space of our black banyas is highly traditional. The layout of the black banya has to be carefully thought through in advance because each element of the banya must strictly be allocated its own spot. This is to make certain for example that the smoke and soot emitted when the fire is heated passes by the benches and shelves only accumulating on the ceiling and the walls above the height of the windows. The window is positioned just below the level of the sauna stove stones. Inside the steam room, aside from the wood fired sauna heater, there are benches arranged at 2-3 different levels, removable wooden floor decking and an auxiliary stand. The square footage of a black banya is usually quite small within the range of 10-12 square metres. Under the wooden sauna decking, the floor is tiled with a slight incline towards the centre where it meets a water trap: the steam room should be thoroughly washed after being heated.
Heating up a black banya. To properly heat a black sauna so that it creates a delicious fragrant atmosphere we burn alder or oak sauna wood. These types of wood form less soot and leave a pleasant aroma after the sauna has been heated. In summer, two batches of firewood are enough to heat the banya properly. In winter a third batch can be added. The banya is heated until the lower layer of the sauna stones begins to glow. After the logs have burned down, the ash is removed from the ashpit. Next, water is splashed onto the stones, the room is ventilated and the walls, ceiling and benches are washed down with water. Then we wait for a little while... Thermal equilibrium is established and the room becomes comfortable enough for bathing. The water in the cauldron will also have heated up nicely. The banya will retain its heat for about three hours before the stones cool down and stop producing that famous light steam.
Air and smoke.There is a particular smell which is unique to the black banya. It is a blend of smoked wood, felled timber, steam and of course the 'venik', a special leafy, fragrant bundle of twigs, Lining the benches with hay and hanging bunches of sagebrush, St. John's wort, peppermint, and chamomile superbly enhances the effect. Not only do people adore this combination of aromas but their healing effect should not be underestimated either. The soot-lined walls will perfectly absorb any unpleasant odours. Wood smoke is an excellent, natural disinfectant while the wooden walls serve as a natural filter. The substances emitted from burning wood will eliminate any free germs, fungus, and bacteria. In this sense, the black banya steam room is as clean as you could possibly wish a room to be.
Structural features of black banya sauna stove. The wood burning sauna heater is specifically positioned in the steam room so that firewood can easily be added to the fire, for example, from an adjoining stoker’s room. The stove body and the firebox are made from different kinds of brick. The stove construction includes a firebox door and an ash door, a fire grate and an ash pan. The stove stands at about one metre high, not including the layer of stones on top. We make the stove for your sauna quite solid and deep to increase its heat storage capacity. Rather than using an iron grille for stacking stones on top of the stove, we finish the firebox arch in a cellular grid pattern. The stove body is additionally strengthened by an outer carcass, a metal frame that runs in a lip along the stove edges. In addition to the stones, the upper part of the oven is fitted with a metal cauldron for heating water.
The stove size and volume of sauna stones depends on the proportions of the steam room. We use sixty litres of stones to one cubic metre. The largest stones are positioned on top of the firebox first and then the medium sized stones before finishing the uppermost layer with the smaller ones.
Unique features of our bespoke stoves for black saunas. Creating sauna stoves is a very narrow and specialised field. Implementing a normal stove heating project is relatively easy by comparison. A finished sauna stove must be able to withstand being heated thousands of times without beginning to crumble.