Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hurrah for non-smokey firebaths!

Newly-enclosed fire bath a-fillin with the hose
As you may know, the Joys Of The Firebath have been some of our most pleasant surprises, since moving to our land. Firing up the bath and wallowing - perhaps with a beer, perhaps with some cheese and crackers, perhaps, even, with some dinner - for several hours of a weekend is an important, cleansing (literally and figuratively) and much-cherished ritual for our family.
Sure, we're still getting used to the whole shebang, and there are still things to learn (for example, the last 2 fires I've made have been a little too enthusiastic, so we've spent some time waiting for the water to cool down before we could get in, and even then, burning our bottoms a bit) but it's safe to say that we dig the fire bath.
The view: just one of the reasons we love our fire bath
One problem we have encountered as that on windy days smoke, and on particularly unfortunate occasions, ash, will blow up and whirl around when you're in the bath. Not super pleasant. My solution to this was to construct an enclosure around the bath and erect a chimney. Like pretty much everything we've done here, this is something I've never done before. Surprisingly, it worked! There are still a couple of little cracks that didn't quite seal properly, which I need to fix up, but it is a VAST improvement, and we're all pretty pleased with the results.
First, I erected the chimney (an off-cut of downpipe from the tip) and a 'frame' in the space that needed closing in using chicken wire and fencing wire and a few rocks.
Then, I cobbed the whole thing, using a straw (yep, we still have some left over) and concrete mix. I did a couple of layers of the concrete and straw, then a layer of just plain concrete.
This all took a little while, so by the time this bit was done, it was time to have another bath. it was nerve-wracking! Would the smoke go up the chimney? Would it all just billow out the fire-making hole? Maybe now the fire wouldn't get enough oxygen and wouldn't burn at all!??
Luckily, happily, here's what happened:
yessiree, that's smoke coming out the chimney (Oscar's small chimney can be seen at far right)
We enjoyed our bath that day, and marveled at the new smoke-and-ash-free experience.
Next up, decorations!
Being as live in a house where our washing up arrangements consist of a tub on our outside table and a 'draining board' that involved the bench seats of said table, and being as we live with 2 small and very active little kiddies, we have a lot of broken dishes. A lot. I save them all, because I have dreams of mosaicing things, and that's just what I did to the concrete-y fire-bath enclosure: On a beautiful, sunny day, Osky and I spent a glorious few hours glueing on all our broken bits of crockery, collected over the last few months, interspersed with a few other things like sea glass and the bottom of an old (1962) beer bottle that I found in the bush.

Oski: I couldn't have done it without him

Then we grouted the whole shebang, and our luxurious, enclosed fire bath is now complete! Well, we are planning on painting the chimney (Frida blue of course!) and I do need to block up the couple of leaky bits where whisps of smoke escape... But still!
Bonus feature is that the new enclosed bit is perfect for holding soap, shampoo bottles, beer, snacks, and, perhaps most importantly, toy horses all within easy reach of the recline position. I say: that's what you need in your life, innit?



  1. Oh man you've got Linda Woodrow commenting up there!! That's very cool:) Love the bath. Don't know if I could do the nudest thing outside - I'm such a prude Jude. Swimmers just doesn't feel right for a bath! You guys have done sooooo much to your palce. Looking fantastic! See you on Sunday xx

  2. You'd be surprised Kim. I am quite the prude too but I love the outside fire bath nudity! The whole fire bath experience is an absolute joy. Yes have just been planning our food swap contribution. There will be chard and kale, you can count on it! xx

  3. What a view you have from the bath.
    I have an outdoor, fire heated bath on my dream home and garden illustration. right alongside the outdoor shower.

    1. Yep I reckon an outdoor shower and fire bath should be a key feature of everyone's dream home! It's true, we do have a pretty great view. We feel blessed each time we bathe.

  4. love the decoration!!! yay for your flued fire bath.... x

  5. aah...what can i say...jealous!!! love it!!!

  6. Very cool! I built one recently as well:

    I call mine the "Hillbilly Hot Tub", although Firebath sounds a bit more romantic :-).

    Mine was just a test firing on a makeshift frame, but now that I know how it works I'm going to build something more permanent, in a spot with a better view. I like your mesh-and-concrete idea (is that what's called ferrocement?), and may well steal it for my final installation.

    Keep up the great work!