Building a Hot Tub


A couple of years ago I decided to build myself a Cedar wood Hot Tub, and as usual make a video of the project. After all how difficult can it be ? To which the answer is it wasn’t, not really, if you have the ability to measure and cut accurately, then its not that difficult. The issue is just dealing with the sheer size. On paper its easy  but your effectively creating a bucket 1.5mts across and 1mt deep, and having the space to work on something that big is rarely found at home, and then you need to move it. However you will find once its starts to take shape willing helpers quickly emerge as everyone wants a go. If you would like to see the video have a look at

By the time I had finished the tub it was towards the end of the summer, so we didn’t get the full benefit, but we made up for it last summer. Now at the time of building I had never seen a hot tub, so the design was an instinctive design based on some internet research, and natural instincts. Having now operated it for two years its time for an update, and the starting point is how did we ever manage without one.

As far as the tub is concerned I think my design works, the area where I have tweaked is in the water heater section. Fairly quickly I added a circulating pump in an effort to improve the heat distribution. The wood fired water heater lifts the water temp by approx. 2 degrees an hour, which I now know compares very favourably to commercially available models, however before the addition of a circulating pump there was a tremendous difference in temp between the top and bottom of the tub. In the back of my mind is an improved heat exchanger based on a steam engine boiler, I’m part way there but other more exciting projects keep getting in the way.

The maintenance has proved to be straight forward. We don’t keep if full of water so there are no chemicals involved. We get the water we use from our rain water storage system, and after we use it for a few days it goes on to be used to water the vegetable patch, so the running costs are low. When I empty it a rinse out with some tap water and a mild bleach is all it needs. I also apply a coat of linseed oil to the outside once a year and that’s the maintenance regime. I understand if you have one of the noisy jet plastic tubs you spend days, and consume lots of chemicals maintaining the water quality, and then there is the running costs which I my case is about £5 per annum

We now have so many wood fired gadgets, the bread oven, the charcoal maker, and the new garden grill, we go through a lot of wood, so every couple of months I collect waste wooden pallets which get broken up. The clean wood is used in the food devices, the rest goes to fuel the hot tub and the charcoal maker ( if you want to know more about those have a look at ).

I did discover how a Jacuzzi style bath works and for a time did consider making some adaptions, but nothing beats the feeling of laying back with your beloved under the stars in a hot tub, when all you can hear is a faint wood crackling from the fire, you don’t need noisy jets of water, sometimes it just nice to stop and relax. I don’t know if its the bathing in rain water, or the cedar wood oils from the wood but after having been the tub your skin become remarkably soft, although obviously as a macho blacksmithing bacon sandwich type of man that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Having said that this years big project is a cheese cave at the bottom of the garden of which more will be revealed in the future, and frankly it needs a feature. I have seen a design for a wooden bath in the garden which I really fancy, and a few jets…….. But then again I also fancy a natural swimming pond . Life is full of decisions, so little time and so little money.

Thanks for reading


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5 Responses to Building a Hot Tub

  1. Annette Moe says:

    I loved your cedarwood tub! 🙂 I could not find Norway on fitzrobbie’s list of countries. May I send you cash in regular mail with my adressed envelope? I would love to build my own tub!!!
    Sincerely, Annette Moe

  2. Craig Ross says:

    Superb. I’m a joiner, going to build one as part of a big project with decking next to a stream in a b listed cottage at Loch lomond. Your video was valuable information.

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