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.
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.
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!
I live in a dry and hot climate. Will my japanese hinoki bath tub suffer damage from this conditions?
The japanese hinoki is a very tough wood. It is compact, stable, hard, insect and mold resistant. It does not crack in conditions where other woods crack and does not mold when all woods usually rot.
But it is still a natural material and it is always better to avoid extreme conditions. It is ok if you use it at least once a week.
If you leave your house for a long period follow one of these direction:
1) fill your hinoki tub with 5″ of water and leave uncovered.
2) leave a basinet containing water inside and cover the tub with its lid.
3) Wrap the exposed sides and top of the tub with clear poliethilen film. Close gaps with tape.
Avoid direct permanent sunlight exposure, expecially when not used. If you keep it always full, you might want to empty it once or twice a week and let it dry for 12 hours.
Does knotty hinoki last as long as the smooth one?
The knotty and smooth wood have almost the same performance. Should they were to be tested in a laboratory, you will find out that the straight cut hinoki is maybe 10% more resistant than the knotty one. But this is rather an academic problem. You will avoid anyway putting the hinoki in extreme conditions and will enjoy it for 20 or 30 years.
It should add that the knotty hinoki is slightly (again, about 10%) more aromatic than the straight one as knots tend to be rich in resin.
Are your bath tubs made in Cypress Hinoki wood? Are they made in Japan?
Yes. All our Hinoki comes from the Kiso Valley (Nagano prefecture, Japan): the most precious hinoki production area. Since the 1950`s all tree cutting is done in respect to the environmental sustainability and is subject to strict rules.
Yes. all our bath tubs are handmade in Japan by our skilled "toyo" (master carpenter) using traditional techniques.
No. Can you say that a filet mignon is the same of T-bone steak? Port Orford Cedar, also known as Yellow Cedar, is an appreciated North american wood used for construction and sidings. Anyway, Hinoki (or cypress hinoki) has higher rot resistance and more pleasant grain and color. Moreover, the soft aroma of the Hinoki wood is much more pleasant than the strong smell of the Port Orford Cedar, expecially when warm water is poured on it. For this reason, we may suggest the use of Orford Port Cedar for the wall paneling of the bathroom, but we do not recommend to have a bath tub or the floor duck boards built with this wood.
Commonly there are 3 reasons to use a waterproof floor with floor drain in combination with a hinoki tub.
Reason 1) The first is as a double safe, to pick up some condensation or a discharge caused by an eventual crack in the wood.
Reason 2) The second is for having a “shower area” to wash the body before entering the tub (which must be used for soaking only).
Reason 3) The third reason is to drain the water overflowing from the top of the tub.
Solution 1) To satisfy the first circumstance, a waterproofing the floor with 1/50 slope should be enough. For small spills the floor can be sweeped. Adding a floor drain would be safer but would probably involve going thru the slab or raising the floor. Another solution would be to build up the tub to create a waterproof pan under the tub only. (see curb detail @ bottom-RIGHT)
Solution 2) The second point does not need to be addressed, if you have a separate
shower area. Otherwise you will need at least a 60mm waterproof pan with
floor drain. (see full waterproofing detail @ bottom-LEFT)
Solution 3) With reference to the overflow: to prevent water overflowing you should keep the water level about 100mm under the top. Anyway for standard tubs (external height = 700mm / internal depth = 600mm) this means having 500mm or less of water. Also, it might be cumbersome to have to adjust water level when one person enters the tub. And again if two people use the tub
together. For this reason japanese bathing usually involves a top overflow facing to waterproof floor area in front of the tub. The waterproof pit does not need to be very deep as long as this area is wide enough. This area in front of the tub can be covered with duckboards in hinoki wood. (see full waterproofing detail @ bottom-LEFT) See also waterproofing details
Hinoki, (Chamaecyparis obtusa), or Japanese Cypress is one of the most prized quality of wood in Japan for few simple reasons: 1) Hinoki has excellent strenght and mechanical resistance 2) Hinoki trees grow high and straight like poles, making it ideal to use for construction 3) Hinoki wood contains natural bactericidal agents so it resists to mold, and insects 4) Hinoki doesn`t fear humidity and does not rot. Hinoki structures last 1000`s of years!
HINOKI & HEALTH:
Hinoki wood oil is highly therapeutic: it contains minerals and essential oils such as Thiol: for this reason it is used as raw materials for soaps, antiseptics, perfumes, cosmetics, and hair restoration treatments. While resins from other evergreens are known for causing skin irritations, hinoki wood oil is gentle on the body and skin: it is traditionally used to treat skin irritations and injuries thanks to its antibacterial and antifungus action. When inhalated, hinoki wood oil acts as a decongestant of the respiratory system, is used to cure asthma and as a tonic for the nervous system. For this reason, Hinoki wood oil is also widely used in aromatherpy to reduce stress.