Build A Yurt Series:  Part 3 – Cord work

Build A Yurt Series: Part 3 – Cord work

Build a Yurt Part 3: cord work

 

 Welcome to Part 3 of a series of posts showing you how to build a Yurt.

The new yurts we are making will be available to stay at Crann Og Eco Farm during the spring, summer and autumn months as part of our ecotourism experience in the Irish wilderness.  In Part 1 & 2 we prepared the wall lattice slats and the roof poles. Part 3 is all about the actual building of the wall lattice structures.

We are using 4mm diameter hemp cord to tie together the lattice slats and make loops in the end of the roof poles.  The cord was precut into 17cm long pieces to give us sufficient working length for knotting and threading of the slats  The roof pole loops were precut at 25cm length. As hemp is a natural fibre it can not be melted to stop the ends fraying, which they will do immediately.

So we dipped the ends of all the precut cords into melted wax and then shaped them by fingers.  This stops the cord fraying and creates a needle like end for easier threading through the 5mm holes in the slats and poles.  The pieces for tying slats were dipped to 2.5cm in wax at both ends, the roof pole loops approximately 6cm at either end.  This is very time consuming work, but the time and effort put into dipping and shaping the precut cords makes the construction of the lattices so much easier.  This is a long process and tedius so anything one can do to make it easier is very, very wise!

Next step is to lay out a number of lattice slats and commence tying together by tying a knot in one of the 17cm long cords, threading through two overlapping slats and then knot on the opposite side.  This leaves quite a bit of excess cord, but it is neccessary in order to have enough cord for tying the second knot, especially if you have big fingers.  The excess is then trimmed off for tidiness.  The lattices consist of 3 sections of 11 overlapping pairs of slats for the 4.2m yurt, and 3 sections of 13 overlapping pairs for the 5.5m yurt.

The final step in the wall lattice construction is to correctly fashion the ends of the sections to make perfectly fitting joins of two sections, such that they come together in a way that makes the join difficult to see.  Trust me, the first one you make takes an age to get right and understand, but once you have it then it’s really quite simple.  Like everything else, you need to do it to really learn it, and it seems terribly difficult at first and quite frustrating.  But the end product is worth the mental gymnastics!

To finish off this post it’s then time to make the roof pole loops, which is simply the case of threading cord through the holes in the butt ends of the roof poles and tying them such that it is still possible to comfortably loop over the wall lattices without too much effort.  It’s handy to have an off-cut of the wall slats to slide into the loop cord as you tighten it up to get the correct length.

Coming up soon in Part 4 is the roof crown and door frame assembly!

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Build A Yurt Series:  Part 2 – Roof Structure

Build A Yurt Series: Part 2 – Roof Structure

Build a Yurt Part 2: roof structure

 

Welcome to Part 2 of the Build a Yurt series. This post is all about making the roof poles which will slot into the roof crown and rest upon the wall lattices. This section shows the jig for processing the poles, chamfering and tapering poles with a power planer and end sanding to protect the overlying canvas.

Our two yurts will be of two sizes, one 4.2m (14ft) and one 5.5m (18ft) diameter. For the 5.5m yurt the poles are 2.735m long and for the 4.2m yurt they are 2.08m.

 

The roof poles started out as 2’x2’s, which were planed down to fit neatly on top of the V-notch between wall slats and slot into the holes in the central roof crown. Paul modified the Jig used for processing the wall lattice slats, enabling the edges of the poles to be chamfered uniformly, making two passes with the planer set to maximum depth. Planed edges and finish detail were then all hand sanded.

At the butt of the roof poles where they join the wall lattices, two 5mm holes were drilled, 20mm and 40mm from the end of the pole, through one of the chamfered edges, terminating in the opposite edge. These are for the hemp cords that will loop over the wall lattices when the roof poles are positioned correctly, to stop them slipping away as the yurt is erected.

The butts were then tapered first by power planer making successive cuts at 1.5mm while rotating the pole, and then finished off on the upturned belt sander for shaping and rounding. The ends were then finished lovingly by Flor by hand, to ensure a round and smooth finish to protect the canvas roof.

The jig was again modified to allow uniform tapering of the pole tops where they will slot into the roof crown. Exact and uniform tapering is performed by making a series of planer cuts of 1.5mm at 100mm, then 200mm, then 300mm, 400mm and finally 500mm from the top end.

Each planer cut goes all the way through to the top of the pole, the successive cuts resulting in a tapered end. The planing is performed on four sides of the pole, the edges then planed off with a light cut until a roughly circular end is created.

Then it’s back to the sander to shape and smooth the top ends of the poles bit by bit, checking them for correct diameter in the crown holes, until they are a perfect snug fit. In the case of our larger roof poles the absolute ends were shaped by hand with a sharp knife to make them cylindrical, before final sanding, again finished by hand sanding.

Coming up soon in Part 3 is the construction of the wall lattices and making the funky lattice section joins.

 

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Build A Yurt Series:  Part 1 – Preparing wall lattices

Build A Yurt Series: Part 1 – Preparing wall lattices

Build a Yurt Part 1: wall lattices

 

 Welcome to Part 1 of a series of posts showing you how to build a Yurt. Traditionally of Mongolia, we will be building a variation though very similar.  We are building two yurts to replace our old ones that have been used by ecotourism guests over the last few years.

The new yurts will be available to stay at Crann Og Eco Farm during the spring, summer and autumn months.  In Part 1 we start with the making of wall lattice slats with locally sourced milled timber for speed and a finer quality interior finish.

We will be making 5ft (1.52m) tall wall lattices which require slats to be cut to 78” (1.98m) in length. Our two yurts will be of two sizes, one 14ft (4.2m) and one 18ft (5.5m) diameter. For the larger of the two yurts we need approximately 90 full size slats of 78”, and a few shorter ones. But we’ll come back to that later. For the smaller yurt we have cut the same number of slats as no doubt there will be some breakages during construction due to knots or splits in the timber.

Next step is to drill all the holes for tying the slats together to form the wall lattices. We will be using 4mm diameter hemp cord and have drilled our holes at 5mm diameter to make tying easier and allow some tolerance, so that slats can rotate around the cord when opened or compressed for storage concertina style, rather than twisting it.

Holes need to be drilled accurately and in the same position on each slat piece, otherwise your lattices will not work and will look terrible! This will compromise overall structural integrity of the yurt also. On each slat holes must be drilled 50mm from the top, 100mm from the bottom and at 300mm centres between these two holes. You guessed it, that’s a lot of holes! And yes, that could take a lot of time indeed.

So our resident pro Paul made a ‘Jig’ that enabled him to drill up to 9 slat pieces in one pass, three rows by three deep, clamped together to prevent movement and to straighten any bent timbers. This ensured that all the slat pieces have their holes in the same place and speeds up the process considerably. The time taken to make a good Jig is well worth the time and effort it saves overall.

Each of the hole spacings is marked on the jig and a vertical timber off-cut fixed to act as a vertical guide so that all the holes pass through the slats in the same position and angle. It’s also really important to be using nice sharp drill bit(s) so that you get nice clean holes. After each nine slats have all their holes drilled, de-clamp them from the jig and quickly sand paper the drill holes by hand to tidy them up.

 Next it’s time to shape the tops of the slats to better receive the roof poles and to smooth them so as not to damage the roof canvas when it is placed over the structure. Again Paul made a pattern for the end of the slats, marking each individually. Then the shaping was done, first using a quality jig-saw and then finished off with a belt sander. The sander was turned upside down and strongly fixed in position to prevent movement and ensure safe use. This allows fast hands-free sanding and allowed us to process all the wall slats in very little time.

Coming up soon in Part 2 is the making of the roof poles, including making the Jig, chamfering and tapering the poles with a power planer, and end sanding to protect the canvas.

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