We touched upon the history of the yurt when we wrote about prehistoric architecture. However, now we are interested in how to build such a portable house with our own hands on our own plot as a gazebo, summer kitchen, even a guest house. Let’s compare traditional technologies and materials that have been used for many centuries with modern opportunities that facilitate the process of building a yurt on a personal plot.
The benefits of a traditional yurt include:
- Ease of assembly and disassembly of the entire structure – with proper skill and the presence of an assistant, the process takes no more than an hour or two;
- Reliability. Due to its round shape, the yurt perfectly withstands strong winds, even hurricanes, protects from precipitation;
- Unlike ordinary gazebos, you can use a yurt in winter, if you install a stove inside and ensure the proper thickness and density of the walls. In the summer, raising the felt mat allows you to ventilate the room and make it very cool and comfortable;
- The yurt looks very exotic, will not leave guests indifferent, inside it can be decorated with carpets, other interesting details, and on top – with embroidered bedspreads;
- A portable yurt usually weighs 150-200 kg, maximum – 300, so it is easy to transport;
- All materials for the yurt are traditionally environmentally friendly, although now you can replace them with modern counterparts, but there are still suitable eco-friendly options.
So, the first thing you need to build your own yurt is wooden slats. Traditionally they were made from black willow, river willow, or birch. Now you can buy ready-made slats, a strip, which costs from 12 rubles per running meter. The slats should be strong for bending, because the yurt will be round. It’s easy to check – wave a long rail, if it has knots and cracks, it will break.
The approximate dimensions of the slats: thickness from 8 to 15 mm, width – from 25 to 40 mm, length should be about three meters, 2.5 m is possible, depending on what height your walls will have. To work with wooden slats, you need a hand saw or jigsaw to make them the same length, as well as a drill to drill holes for fasteners and a screwdriver or screwdriver.
Historically, the slats were fastened to each other diagonally, with an oblique cage, to make holes in the form of rhombuses, with rawhide straps from the hide of grazing livestock, tied in knots. For this purpose, holes were made at the joints of the rails. Now the knots from the belts can be replaced with a furniture tie of a suitable size, but nobody canceled the previously made holes. For example, for a 12 mm thick rail, you will need a running profile tie with a sleeve length of 10 mm.
If the yurt is really portable, collapsible, it is very important that the lattice of slats be assembled like an accordion! Therefore, self-tapping screws for fastening the rails will not work – just get a stationary grate for the gazebo.
Alternatively, you can assemble a metal frame, we do not argue, but it will be heavier, not authentic. In addition, finding suitable metal slats is already more difficult, and working with metal may require additional tools, for example, a grinder and metal drills.
The sizes of the cells were traditionally described so that a fist or two fists of an adult would pass. The smaller the rhombuses on the lattice of the yurt, the stronger the structure will be, but more material will be consumed. Choose the size yourself, for example, 10-15-20 cm between the slats, the main thing is that all the cells are the same, and there are at least five fasteners on one rail.
Usually in one section of the lattice there are 44 or 48 slats, 22 or 24 in each direction, because they are superimposed on each other. A standard yurt consists of 5 or 6 such grids, which are moved apart and installed in a circle.
When the lattice walls are ready, it’s time to start arranging the roof. Here, the most important thing will be to choose the length of the rafters for the height and size of your yurt, as well as make a light and smoke rim. As for the rafters that will connect the walls to the rim that crowns the entire yurt, you can take glued beams that can withstand a serious load. If the yurt is six meters long, you will need at least 36 rafters three meters long and 90 x 40 mm in cross section. For an eight-meter yurt of rafters with a length of four meters and a cross-section of 120 by 45 mm, at least 48 is required. You can also take a solid bar.
Important! It is easy to calculate the optimal number of rafters: how many intersections you got on the lattice-wall – there are so many upper slats that fit exactly in the crosshairs.
The distance between the rafters should be at least 60 cm, the less – the more reliable the roof will be. There are yurts where the number of rafters exceeds a hundred.
As for the rim, the light-smoke hole in the roof of the yurt, it was traditionally made from bent birch trunks. This wood is not so difficult to bend, especially if it is soaked beforehand, the rim can be made from two semicircular halves that join together. The tree was additionally bent by steaming and bending with stakes.
Now the rim-circle for the roof of the yurt can be made of plywood with a thickness of at least 20 mm. You will need a jigsaw, hand clamps, a pendulum circular saw, plywood itself and wood glue.
Important! In a traditional yurt, there are arc strips on top of the rim window, which allow you to conveniently cover a shallow opening in the roof. However, now you can do without them..
Through holes must be cut through the rim in order to insert the rafters. The roof beams of the yurt are traditionally fastened to the lattice of the walls with ropes at the points of the crosses – the joints of the planks. Separate sections of the lattice are also connected with straps or ropes. It is also advisable to stretch a cord, belt, rope along the entire diameter of the walls of the yurt to make the structure even more reliable.
We will separately mention the doorway. It is prepared from boards, the standard opening is 200 by 80 cm. It is imperative that through holes are drilled along the side jambs of the doorway to fasten it to the gratings of the wall into which it will stand. The doorway is fastened with straps or ropes. In the upper part of the jamb, holes are made for inserting rafters, domed poles.
The door itself may be the most ordinary one, find an old interior door, if the yurt is winter, warm it with a blanket or felt mat. If the yurt is used only in the summer, it will be enough to cover the doorway with a canopy, just a beautiful curtain.
Now let’s move on to covering the yurt. Traditionally, it was covered with felt made from sheep wool. Now you can use such modern material as holofiber. It will be enough to cover a summer yurt on your site with an ordinary awning, tarpaulin, which protects from rain, and other covering materials. You can also warm and decorate the walls with mats. The lattice of the wall from the inside should remain in sight, it is painted red – this is a tradition and just an attractive decor option.
There are usually at least two layers of covering in a yurt – external and internal, so you can not limit your imagination and make your portable house surprisingly attractive both from the inside and from the outside using textile and non-woven fabrics.
As for the floor, it all depends on your plans for operating the yurt. If it will serve exclusively in the summer, then let it be just textiles on the ground, light, beautiful, comfortable. Or even a lawn on which benches and a table for gatherings will stand.
For winter use, carpets alone will not be enough; a plank floor is needed. Some homeowners make a light foundation, but this is no longer a portable nomad house, but a stationary gazebo.
The stove in the yurt is always placed in the center, under the light and smoke hole. A chimney is exposed in it, and the stove can be an ordinary stove installed on a metal sheet for safety.
And finally, so that you clearly understand what a real yurt is and how easy it is to assemble it with your own hands – thematic videos: