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maintenance 2

Are your japanese hinoki bath tubs mold resistant? How do I clean it?

Hinoki wood has a unique natural protection against rot, mold and fungi, but you should use some common sense. If the bathroom is not ventilated or if you leave the bathtub full of cold water on a daily base, some stains may appear overtime. No need to worry. Just pour abundant warm water on the area until well absorbed by the wood. Then wipe gently with a cloth sprayed with alcohol for disinfection. The stain will disappear completely.

ADDED 2009.04.22
For toughter stains you can use -wisely- also some bleach for clothes. Wash abundantly with water after application.

maintenance 1

How long can I leave the water inside the tub? Do I need to dry it after each use?

The water should be removed when all the members of your family enjoyed their bath. Of course you can leave the water inside until the next day but unless you live in a very dry area, leaving water all the time of course can facilitate the insurgence of some mold stains.

Anyway, best practice is to empty the tub everiday (or at least twice a week if you have a recirculation system), quickly wipe the bathtub with a towel to remove the excess water. Then ensure there is a good natural ventilation (a bathroom with a vindow is strongly recommended) so the wood can adjust automatically its degree of humidity.

order and payment 3

What kind of payment schedule is common for the purchase?

Every tub is made to order. We will require a 50% deposit (made by wire transfer to our bank in Japan) to confirm the order. The 50% is calculated on the price of custom made items. Within 30 days we will build the tub and send you by email the photographs of the complete tub / accessories.
Then we will require the balance 50% payment + packing charge + accessories if any (es. bucket, chair…) + transportation charge, as it was shown on the quote.
If you prefer you can use a forwarder you know and we will omit the shipping expenses.

order and payment 2

Is the cost inclusive of transportation?

Yes. Each personalized quote includes pick-up in Japan, freight, terminal charges and delivery up to your door (unless you specify otherwise).
The price may not include sales taxes. In most cases you (the coinsignee) will have to fill in a customs application (it can be done by fax) which costs 200-250 US$ and includes sales tax. You will not have to pay any other charge.

order and payment 1

Can you ship to the United States? How long does it take?

Yes, we do ship to the US and to many other countries worldwide. In most of the cases we use air freight. Once the order is confirmed with a deposit, we start to custom build your bathtub. We guarantee the delivery to your home in 6~8 weeks from confirmed order. Shipping is done in a sturdy wood box and it contains the bathtub unit already in one piece for troublefree installation.

equipment 4

Do you only make ofuro, or do you also provide disinfection systems, recirculation pumps, and everything I need for a commercial ofuro?

To be honest, building a tub is more similar to naval carpentry than a normal plumber job. We do not supply any machine or pump equipment of any sort.
I recommend to find locally a pump and cartridge filter. If you replace the water every 3 days or so, you might skip the filter. About the disinfection: do not use chlorine.
Ozone seems to be popular, personally I would recommend a salt chlorinator. Please ask a pool equipment dealer near you. I had a client who used ‘Aquapure’ in a small pool and was very satisfied. It is a product available in the US. See: http://www.jandy.com/html/products/chlorinegenerators/aquapure_faqs.php

equipment 3

Your site recommends ‘pure warm water’ Is a high salt content okay? My image is the salt pools I sat in at Spa LaQua. I am thinking of Israel Dead Sea Salts, or another healthy salt.

There isn`t any direct problem about using salty water in a hinoki bath as long as:
1) once tub is emptied, it should be generously washed with normal water to avoid oxidation and staining
2) we will use stainless screws and plates, so no problem.

Anyway we do not have experience of this and do not know what it will happen in the long span. It may be OK, I do not know. You would have to try at your risk. I feel that salty water would at least alter the aroma and therapeutical properties of hinoki, but this might be just our prejudice.

equipment 2

Do we need to adapt the diameter/length of the fittings? We are planning to use a circulation pump.

You have to think of the hinoki tub as a large basinet. It is simply set on the floor and not connected with any piping (a part for the case of a pump). The faucet is wall mounted and the water flows into the tub. Often the drain is not even connected with any fitting: the water flows out from the bottom towards a floor-drain.
For the pump fittings: you can let us know the exact location of the outlet and inlet so we can prepare the openings.
Actually, opening the drain hole (of the right size, in the right location) on site is the probably best option as the tub is made of solid wood and opening the hole is very easy.
We do not have availability of fittings with diameter/threading matching the connections of your pump. You should request the pump manufacturer fittings at least 3" long. (the tub wall is 42mm thick). In the worst case, you should be able to have fittings custom made in your country.

equipment 1

I would like my bath tub equipped with a circulating pump.

Sorry, we cannot supply from Japan heating / filtering / circulation pumps or whirpool systems. Maintenance or replacement of parts would be too troublesome and expensive. You should find one locally and send us the pump specs so we can modify the bath-tub as required. Please note anyway that in most cases a pump is uneconomical and unpratical for private use.

durability 3

I am looking at your rectangular ofuro.
What is the life span? I am concerned that due to its rectangular shape, over time, the water pressure might cause leaking at the seams.

The life span depends very much on the site conditions and care in using it.

A wood tub is built to last 30 years and over of daily use: anyway the average life span is about 10-15 years.

The problems are not caused by water pressure, as we dimension carefully the thickness of the planks and the joints are extremely solid.
If the ofuro is wider than 800mm we use a top beam frame construction.
The causes of aging come from humidity level. If it is too high, it can create stains or mold. If the room is to dry, the wood might crack. Of course cracks can be repaired, but the esthetics is compromised and after 10-15 years many decide to replace the tub.
Keep in mind anyway that ofuros in commercial spas or hotels in japan thus are heavily used, have a long life span because are well mantained.
If you check periodically an hygrometer and keep the habit of quickly wiping the tub after every use with a towel, your tub will be strong and even more splendid after 30 years.

Here to the right is the side board (against the wall) of a 15 years old tub we just replaced in a hotel. Considering that it could not be accessed for cleaning, it is still in good condition after all this time!

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