For someone who likes to go camping, learning to build a yurt can be an enjoyable experience. A yurt is a circular tent that nomads used as homes. It originated from the East, “yurt” being a Turkish word meaning a “dwelling place”. However, the yurt that is more popular now is actually the Mongolian ger, but both are referred to by the term yurt. Although yurts are now commercially available, they can be quite expensive. Instead of buying a yurt, an individual can just make his own instead. All that one needs are the materials, some basic carpentry and sewing skills, and time.
Making one’s own yurt costs less and will enable the owner to customize his yurt. Yurts have been preferred by campers for many reasons, including its durability and its capacity to accommodate a group of persons or families. A yurt can typically last a lifetime, and only its canvas covers needed to be changed after 2-3 years of regular use, being exposed to harsh environmental elements. Further the wooden latticework that serves as its frame makes it more stable than a regular tent, enabling it to withstand strong winds, rains and storms, even snow.
Also, it provides more space, each yurt typically has an average of ten feet in diameter space within. Yurts are also easy to assemble, and if needed to be relocated one does not have to take it apart. Instead, a couple of people can transfer it to another place. It is also fairly easy to store and carry around. After all, nomadic people were able to lug it around with them wherever they went. To build one’s own yurt, a person must first have an idea of how big he wants it to be.
The yurt is sturdy because of its structure: all the components are entwined and are designed to keep standing even when a section gets destroyed. The dimensions, length and width of the materials need to be measured and predetermined exactly. The yurt has two main components: the wooden framework, and the canvas cover. The wooden frame has the following parts: the latticework walls called khana, the crown or toono, central supporting columns or bagana, roof poles called uni, and if one wants, a door. The cover is made traditionally from felt, but nowadays waterproof canvas is used.
There are many books being sold and guides available in the internet on how to make one’s own yurt, this paper will just outline the basic processes needed to construct one. The first step in making a yurt is to build the base, or the lattice framework. First, get the wooden rods and make and drill 3. 5mm holes nine inches apart, leaving two inches at one end and four at the other. Take 24 rods and tie them together by knotting a string at one end and passing the string through two corresponding holes.
Remember to align all the top rods towards one direction, for example, to the left, and all the rods below to the right. Finish the ends using shorter length of rods, saw off the rods as needed. Then take another 24 rods and make another khana. For the door, saw the wood into two upright 1. 5-3″ in diameter and 4 feet long, tapered at each end to fit into 1″ holes drilled into the top and bottom of the frame. The top and bottom of the frame should be about 3″ in diameter and 2″5′ long, with the ends drilled for the tapered poles.
The crown consists of a wooden wheel with hub and spokes. Drill 32 holes at the rim to take in the roof poles. Draw a 76 cm in diameter circle, and inside this draw another with a 60 cm diameter. Divide the circles into quarters, and cut out the quarters. Glue and clamp together the sections to complete the wheel, and for extra strength drill two holes through each section and secure with screws. Then drill 32 holes at the rim at an angle pointing upwards at the crown. To make the crown center cut out eight spokes of 38mm square timber 33cm long.
Cut out another circle, to put the spokes into, drill holes, screw and glue the spokes to the rim and to the center. For the roof, take 32 1. 5m long poles. Drill 3. 5mm holes 25mm apart at one end, and pass a string through to form a loop that fits over a pole of the khana. The other end should fit into the holes of the crown. For the cover, make sure there is ample space to spread and sew the canvas. Measure the length of the khana and the roof, as this will determine the length of the canvas covering. For the roof, cut out 7 big sections of canvas enough to cover the roof.
Take one section and cut into two, so as not to cover the crown. Stitch the hems of the sections before stitching them together. Make sure that the upper sections overlaps the lower one to ensure water to flow smoother when it rains. In the same way, cut two pieces of canvas enough to cover the whole circumference of the walls, with the height and length at least three feet longer to allow for shrinkage. Sew the two widths together, making sure that the top sheet overlaps the other by at least an inch to allow water to run off easily. Sew 1. 5″ hems at the bottom and at the ends of the canvas.
Fit the grommets to the hems, corresponding the grommets to the intersections at the top of the khana. Tie a string and make a loop through each grommet big enough to fit over the top of the poles. Finally, tie a 1m string to each of the grommets at the end. Lastly, take a piece of canvas as long as the two khana and 20cm wide. Sew hems at both sides and both ends. Fit two grommets at each corner of the canvas’s ends, and tie a piece of rope to make a loop. Tie a 1m rope to each loop. This is the tension band that will be used to hold the roof poles in place.
To set up the yurt, unfold the two khana sections and set them upright in a circle. Tie the band on top of the walls. Get somebody to hold the crown at the center of the yurt, and then proceed to fit the string loop of each roof pole over the top of the wall pole and into the holes of the crown. Tie the band tightly around the entire yurt especially where the wall and roof poles meet. Pull the crown down hard to ensure that everything are securely set. Put up the khana cover, followed by tying down the roof cover with rope passing through the grommets.
Tuck the hems, and fit the door. The entire process of making one’s own yurt may take more than a few days to a week depending on the available time one has. However, once the yurt is built, it can be used and re-used, and can last a lifetime. Indeed, it can serve as a portable home to anyone who takes the time to build one, with all the work and effort that is put into creating a yurt. The best part is, anybody can make a yurt, and can ask family to help them build it so that they can enjoy it and the unique experience it offers with the outdoors sooner together .