Building and Assembling a Wood-framed Panelized Yurt: the Basics

I also write DIYs for Instructables.com and just posted one about the yurt. You can find it here: Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt. I entered it in their Tiny Homes Contest so if you like it, please vote, thanks! Voting ends October 1, 2018. I need a new camera. 🙂

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Meanwhile, I’ve been posting more on the YurtYaks Facebook page than I have here, so if you’re curious about the rafter installation and the roof panel assembly, head over there! I’m busy finishing up the book, so will be back soon!

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Thanks for stopping by! Photos copyright ©2018 by Robin Koontz.

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Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt, Pt. III: The Ring Tower

After a long, wet winter, we finally got a few sunny days to assemble the ring to the tower and then lift it up! To note, this is a ring for a 6′ dome and we’ll be talking about a 3′ dome in the book. It’s a lot easier to build and manage. This 6′ ring weighed about 200 pounds. As you can see, there’s a 12g metal ring inside (for added strength) that adds to the weight. FinishedRing6-ft

The ring will be temporarily held in place by a tower. Once the rafters are bolted into place, the tower goes away. When I assembled yurts in the past, the tower wood would be salvaged and used for interior wall framing.

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Once the components were ready and it was dry enough to drive to the yurt, it was time for installation. The tower was built so I could just take out a couple of screws and then finish assembly on-site. The ring required a neighbor with a strong back to muscle it into its new home.

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You can see the tower parts on the right side of the yurt. I assembled the tower on the inside, given that it would not fit through the door otherwise.

The next step was to attach the tower to the ring…

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and strap it in readiness for hoisting. To keep the bottom from sliding out I attached a cable that laced through the outside legs and bolted to two walls on either side.

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After shoving it against the far wall, I jacked it up about 2-1/2′ to make the angle of the strap going over the doorway and to the truck a little less severe. I installed a cut pipe on the doorway so the strap would slide easily. You can see the cable attached to the wall in this photo.

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And there she is! You can see the movie on our Facebook page or by heading over to this link on YouTube.

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I put small lengths of conduit underneath the tower so that I could shove it into place after determining the center.

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The last step was to turn it so it is lined up to the 12 rafter corners on the walls. Check out the homemade plumb bobs (plummets).

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We’re ready for the rafters! Stay tuned while we once again wait for it to stop raining.

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We are writing a detailed book about the entire process from start to finish so we can share how to build this yurt with anyone who is interested! Be sure to check back as we progress, and be on the watch for news on the book. You can also find us on Facebook.

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Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt
by Marvin Denmark and Robin Koontz
ISBN-13: 978-0692957370
ISBN-10: 0692957375

Thanks for stopping by! Photos by Robin Koontz and Marvin Denmark.

Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt

When most people hear the word “yurt,” they think of one of these.

Nomadic tents known as Yurt at the Issyk Kul Lake, Kyrgyzstan

Or maybe one of these.

Yaks in the plains of Mongolia

While it’s true that most yurts are constructed with wood framing (or sticks) and covered with animal skins (like yak) and/or canvas, a more solidly built yurt is also a traditional building design, such as this one.

Wooden Mongolian yurt

I built and/or consulted on several wood-panelized yurts of various sizes in the years before I retired in 2011. I decided that a fun retirement project would be to build my own version of a wood-framed panelized yurt on our property. Here’s one of the yurts I built in recent years, with help from a team of strong arms. Mine is a similar design.

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Yurt under construction near Eugene, Oregon

For my yurt, I began by building a foundation.

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Then I built 12 floor panels.

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Then I built 12 wall panels.

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Then I built 12 roof panels.

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I cut and finished 12 rafters.

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I constructed a huge wooden ring, which houses the skylight dome. All of this work spanned many months, between other projects. But with all the pieces done, it was time to put it all together.

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This week, our neighbor came over to help install the floor panels. It took us about an hour.

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The walls are next, and then the wall cable, and then the tower….well, there are a few steps to get to completion, and it will take however long it takes. I will keep you posted.

And FYI, we are writing a book about the entire process so we can share how to build this yurt with anyone who is interested! Stay tuned as we progress, and be sure to watch for news on the book. Here is the tentative cover, designed by Robin Koontz. That’s a yurt that I built in Florence, Oregon.

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Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt
by Marvin Denmark and Robin Koontz
ISBN-13: 978-0692957370
ISBN-10: 0692957375

Thanks for stopping by! The first three photos are owned by istock.com, the rest were taken by Robin Koontz. Cover design by Robin Koontz, copyright 2017.

 

Dealing with the Tedious

Let’s face it, a lot of construction work, any work, can be tedious and boring. There are things that you can accomplish while your brain is elsewhere i.e. digging a ditch, stuffing envelopes, cleaning horse stalls. But some mundane tasks need you to be thinking about what you’re doing, no matter how boring the tasks are. Those are the worst.

There were roughly 600 Douglas-fir siding boards to stain for our house project. I stained all the surfaces: front, back, edges, and ends. And as I worked, I sorted the boards according to quality and thickness so that when I’m ready to nail them to the house, things should go pretty fast. So, it wasn’t a task I could just do brainlessly. I had to pay attention.

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But my mind could wander a bit as I brushed on the stain. One of the things I pondered was a similar mundane task I had in my childhood: shucking and shelling corn. We had animals on the farm that thrived on dried corn. Ears of semi-dried corn got tossed into a 20x20x6 foot bin and my job was to shuck and shell the stuff. The bin was full: a bottomless pit of corn cobs all summer long. The job couldn’t be done in an hour, a day, a week, a month. It seemed endless. And summers were long in Texas.

Add to that the satisfaction of a finished product: there was none. When I shucked the corn and put each ear into the sheller and turned the crank, the product went directly into a bucket which went to the feed bins. I never got to look over a nice pile of shucked, shelled corn and think about how productive my day was, shucking and shelling all that corn. The results of my efforts were gone. Well, there was milk and meat on the dinner table, but that wasn’t the same thing to a kid who had sore fingers from shucking countless ears of corn.

So this mundane task, that took me about a month to finish, at least has something cool to show at the end. Neat piles of stained fir are lined up in the house, ready to install. Here’s a photo of the piles, a few of them anyway.

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While a tedious task, I’m glad to have something to show for my efforts.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out my book about building a bridge. It includes some cool ideas that apply to other projects, like how to put a really tall post into a deep hole when you aren’t that tall. Amazon has the book on sale for about $12.00 right now. Here is the link:

Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge with the Cable Locking System

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.

Repurposing Old Stuff – DIY Shelf Unit

This was actually my partner’s idea, but since I’m the one who put it to use I will take the credit: a shelf made from an old ladder!

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This shelf was made using an old beat up aluminum ladder that I cut in half for the task and 3/4″ plywood for the shelves. I used 2×10 blocks for the middle supports, but they didn’t need to be that serious, I just had scraps around.

True, ladders have been used as shelves in other applications, but I haven’t seen them set up in this way. So there you go – something cool to do with an old ladder or two. We might build something like this inside our house.

Or maybe not.

Be sure to check out my book about building a bridge. It includes some cool ideas that apply to other projects, like how to put a really tall post into a deep hole when you aren’t that tall. Amazon has the book on sale for about $14.50 right now. Here is the link:

Building a Small Cable Suspenion Bridge with the Cable Locking System

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.

Do-it-yourself Siding

I’m milling up the siding for our new house from roughly 1-inch thick Douglas fir that we harvested from our property. Each board goes through the saw several times:
Rip the board in half
Rip to width x 2
First tongue cut x 2
Finish cut to create the tongue x 2

That’s seven cuts, if you’re keeping track. I cut all the shorter pieces by myself, but when it came to the 300 or so nine-foot boards, it was nice to have someone on the other side to grab each piece and hand back to me for the second cut, then add to a pile while I started on the next.

One issue I was confronted with was keeping the longer board against the fence. I came up with a system for the task using an old spring hinge that I found in the barn and a production artist’s burnisher that hopefully my wife won’t miss.
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I started off with the set-up pretty close to the blade, but found that it worked better to move it further away. Close in, it sometimes it trapped the cut-off from the tongue and the blade wanted to grab it and throw it backwards. This only happened when a knot or void caused the piece to break early.

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The system is working pretty well, though the spring is not as tight as I’d like it to be. I’ll go search around the barn for something that might work better. Or maybe, head for Jerry’s.

Be sure to check out my new book, Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge. There is a link to purchase it here: http://www.wildcatman.com. There is also a link there to contact me.

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.

A Spiral Staircase Project

Here’s a staircase that I built for our house back in 1981 or thereabouts. It was about 9 feet 6 inches from floor to floor and I wanted about an 8 inch rise. That meant 12 steps or treads with the second floor representing step 13.

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I figured out the location of the landings and designed my stairway so it would wrap about 3/4 of the way around the column. I built the column using 16 2x4s that I cut at 22-1/2 degree angles with an outward face equal to 1-1/2 inches or the width of a 2×4.

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The wedges were glued together and strapped. I used a block of wood and a hammer to get the pieces flush with each other (see inset). Next were the supports and stairs.
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I used a skill saw, drill, chisel and rasp to create holes through the column. I added blocks to keep them from slipping back. The stairs and rail posts were attached to the supports. I built the rail out of thin strips of redwood called bender board. I glued them together and sanded. I put one on the bottom as well, to stabilize the staircase and also look cool.

I never quite finished the project. In fact, about five years later, I changed my mind about the location of the landings and reversed everything. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and I wound up having to cut the column and then add a new piece in the middle, which you can see in the top photo.

Be sure to check out my new book, Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge. There is a link to purchase it here: http://www.wildcatman.com. There is also a link there to contact me.

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.