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Revisiting the Yurt

Revisiting the Yurt

If you haven’t been a reader here for very long, you might not know that back in 2013, I made a 16 foot diameter yurt (ger) with my husband. I wanted to try “large” felting and decided a yurt would be a good idea. It was a real learning experience and a ton of work but I had a good time and we ended up with a yurt (ger). Click on any of the links in the post to read the original post which goes into the details of how it was made.

The yurt began with buying 200 pounds of wool in March of 2013 and getting it processed. You can read all about it in my post “Wool Gathering”.

Then we moved on to building the frame. “Yurt Beginnings” explains how we handled the lattice walls.

We continued working on the walls with drilling, sanding and figuring out how it all went together in a big lattice puzzle. In my post, “Sanding and Being Confused”, you can read more.  Then another update about the wall is in the post “Wall Success”.

Then in August, I finally started felting. The photo above shows my sample for thickness and shrinkage which you can read about here. 

 

Next we started working on the roof structure which is called a tono.  We were on 51 days and counting for constructing the yurt.  Somehow, I’m getting tired just rereading these posts.

 

Finally, we got into the large format felting. We made our first wall panel and with the help of the tractor, we got it felted and fulled. 

 

Then because it was so much work, I recruited more labor. We had a felting party! And then we had a day of felting in the rain.

Next up was painting the wood structure orange which is a traditional color for Mongolian gers (yurts).

We were feverishly working into October to try and get this enormous task completed. It was getting cold and as you can see, I got a little muddy. But we were getting closer to the end being in sight.

One of my favorite things about building this yurt was the community involvement. I even had a youngster named Kostya who was born in Kazakhstan who came to learn about the process. 

And we did it! Our yurt raising party was held at the end of October and it worked. We had a yurt. It was really satisfying to complete the project and honestly, looking back now, I’m not sure where I got the energy. Of course I was a bit younger then but I guess determination and perseverance can get you anywhere. I hoped you enjoyed the reminiscence with me.

Yurt Tono and a Felting Party

Yurt Tono and a Felting Party

Dennis and I are still plugging away at the carpentry work on the yurt. This past weekend, we drilled the holes in the tono. The tono is the circle at the top of the yurt that the roof poles fit into. Dennis bought a special drill guide so that we could drill the holes at a 30 degree angle. I can’t imagine how we would have drilled at the proper angle without this guide.

Drill GuideIt works really slick. Dennis had measured and marked where all 52 holes needed to be around the outside of the circle.

Holes in TonoSo now we just need to sand the tono a bit more and it will be ready to paint. You can see that one of the holes is a little bit off. We’re not sure how that happened but it will just have to do.

Pole StopWe also felted two more wall panels on Sunday. Luckily, I got recruitment labor. 🙂  To prevent the felt from sliding around on the PVC pipe, we added a couple of additions. It’s pipe insulation covered with duct tape.

PVC Pipe ChangesWe also had to replace the small inner PVC pipe with a galvanized steel pipe. The plastic PVC was getting eaten by the chain inside.

Felt WalkersAfter the water was applied, all our felting party guests walked on it. Here’s a little video I took:

Two Walls Laid OutBecause I had helpers, we were able to lay out two walls and get them felted in a day.

RollersHere we are on the first roll of the day.

Getting the Air OutThat’s Paula trying to get rid of some of the air under the plastic.

Getting It TightIs it tight enough?

Tying the RollNow to get the ropes in place to tie the roll.

Square KnotsAnd tying it up with square knots. If you don’t get it tight enough, it really slides around a lot.

Getting Ready to RollThen the roll is attached to the tractor.

AttachedStart off slowly to make sure everything is going to roll properly.

Tractor FeltingAnd off it goes. The recipe is 5 times around the field, roll from the other end, another 5 times around, flip the felt over, 5 times around and roll from the other end with a final 5 times around. And it’s felt!! I didn’t get any photos of the finished felt but I will show you all the walls when they are completed. So one more wall panel and then we’ll start on the roof. Progress is being made and I’m shooting for completion by mid October.

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