October 3rd, 2013 forestlumber
The people of Japan have been using wooden baths for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The baths are called “ofuros”. Traditionally, the Japanese shower before entering their wooden bath. The bath is used for a relaxing hot water soak. Even to this day, most Japanese households have a wooden soaking tub. Forest Lumber & Cooperage’s soaking tubs have been given the thumbs up from people of Japanese ancestry, which is a big complement to us.
The cedar barrel hot tub is relatively new in North America. It started in the 1960’s in the wine yards of California. When the grape harvest was over, the farm workers/ hippies would use one of the wooden grape crushing barrels, fill up with water and devise different ways of heating the water using a wood fire. Some of these homemade submersible wood burning stoves were of ingenious construction, varying from stoves made from old beer kegs to defunct whiskey stills. At the end of the season, everyone was having fun. These people were uninhibited, and I am sure swim suits were not a common occurrence. At some point, some entrepreneurial young person realized that the popularity of a wooden soaking tub could be marketed. They were right, and they were very successful at hand crafting these wooden tubs and selling them to the general public.
It did not take long for the larger money making machine to take this idea, mass-produce them out of plastic and add different bells and whistles. These new plastic tubs could be stamped out in a factory by the hundreds at minimum cost. These low production costs were passed on to dealers. Every one wanted to become a dealer because of high profit margins. Now every town has a least a couple of dealers. Unfortunately, the plastic tub manufacturers had spread rumors that wooden tubs are unsanitary and hard to maintain. This could not be further from the truth.
In the past 15 years, there has been an increased demand for wooden hot tubs. People are recognizing the quality of a hand crafted product and feel more attracted to sustainable wood products than throw away plastic.
Cedar barrel hot tubs have regained the reputation in the market place that they deserve.