Whether you live in a yurt yourself or decide to let it out for yurt holidays, owning one of these glamping structures can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, if you’re particularly handy with DIY and fancy taking on the challenge of building your own yurt, we have put together this guide to help your dream become a reality.
What You Will Need
Nine 54″ lengths of 2″ galvanised pipe
Nine 6″ squares (or rounds) of 1/8″ steel plate
Two 45” galvanised steel cables, either 3/8″ or but 1/4″
Four 3/8″ or 1/4″ cable clamps
Two 5″ double-strap hinges, with screws
One wooden wagon wheel, 40″-46″ (inside diameter)
Rip and crosscut handsaws
20 Pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 54-1/4″ white pine for inner wall
20 Pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 54-3/4″ white pine for inner wall
46 Pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 64-1/2″ white pine for outer wall
18 Pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 12′ white pine for inner roof
18 Pieces of 1″ x 12″ x 12′ white pine for outer roof
18 Pieces of 1″ x 8″ x 75″ white pine for outer roof
10 Pieces of 2″ x 6″ x 12′ spruce or fir for floor timber and skylight blocks
2 Pieces of 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood (CDX) for floor
2 Pieces of 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood (C) for floor frame base
1 Piece of 1/2″ x 30″ x 54″ plywood (ACX) for door
Skylight: 47-1/2″-48″ circumference circle of 1/4″ or 7/32″ clear safety plate or tempered
Door: 19″ X 16″ oval of 7/32″ clear safety plate or tempered
Windows: 11-1/2″ X 16″ double-strength glass
Floor: 20 cubic feet, pouring-type
Walls and roof: 260 square feet of four-inch-thick foil backed fibreglass
3Ibs, 16-penny, galvanised, box-type
7Ibs, 10-penny, galvanised, box-type
15Ibs, 8-penny, galvanised, box-type
7Ibs, 7-penny, galvanised, box-type
2Ibs, 1-3/4″ ring nails
Shingle nails as required
2 Squares (200 square feet) of cedar shingles
How to Build a Yurt:
To begin the construction of your yurt, draw a circle with a radius of 47-inches on the ground (figure A), and divide the circle into eight equal sections. At the eight points, and at the centre, drive the 2″ pipes into the ground (the 47″ radius is kept to the outside of the posts) as supports until the pipes are level at the desired height of your yurt. However, try to allow at least four-inches of airspace under the building for ventilation.
Make a hexagonal framework of 2 X 6 timbers (figure B1) and nail it together with the 16-penny nails. Then, spike three of the frame pieces into each half of the frame first, then saw the fourth section of the frame to fit. You will need to add some filler blocks to round out the frame of the yurt (figure B1). These pieces can be cut and then shaped with a hand and power saw using 2 x 6 pieces of wood.
You will then need to cut the four sheets of plywood, and a hand saw to a 48-inch radius (figure B2). Nail the 1/4-inch piece of plywood with ring nails and ensure that they are spaced 4-inches apart. We suggest coating the platform with old motor oil to protect it from getting damp.
Next, turn the structure over, with the plywood side down, and place it on top the posts with six-inch steel plates between the supports and the wood itself. Now, you will be able to fill the frame with pouring insulation, and then nail the heavier plywood with ring nails which are placed at 4-inches apart.
For the wall of the yurt, draw a circle with a radius of 46-inches which is centred on the platform. Now, you will need to divide the platform edge into forty sections (as equal as possible), using a straight 48-inch long stick as a guide. You can lay one end on the centre of the circle and align the other end with each of the forty marks, one at a time. You can then extend the marks you made towards the centre of the platform so that they intersect the 46-inch radius circle.
You will then need to measure across the inside bottom end of each 54-inch wallboard, and then mark the centre of the lower end of every plank. Next, mark the boards; then, centre the inner surfaces of the 54-1/4-inch boards on alternate marks on the circle and toenail the planks in place with 10-penny nails.
Next, centre the twenty 54-¾-inch boards over the remaining marks on the floor and position them with the others, with their outer surfaces on the circle and nail them to the floor. Move the tops of the 54-¾-inch boards until the marks of all the boards line up; it is essential to be accurate at this stage. Then nail all the wall boards together with 7 of the penny nails which should be spaced every six-inches along the board’s edge. Finally, you should clinch the nails securely.
The secret to any yurts strength lies in a tension band called a cable. This holds the whole structure together by encircling the structure at its eaves. The best type of cable to use is the 3/8-inch guy wire.
Place a ring nail about one-half inch from the top of each board connection in the wall. However, leave about 3/8-inches of the heads out of the wood to support the band. Remember to have someone hold a hammer against the inside of the wall while you are driving the nails through.
You can now lay the cable over all but the last eight nails, and let the band sag so that it is as slack as possible, then attach and tighten the clamps. Then gently force the band up over the remaining nails until the cable feels snug and not too tight.
For the roof, cut the 1″ X 12″ X 12′ inner roof boards into 18 pieces 62″ long, and 18 sections 62-1/2″ long.
Next, saw the 1″ X 12″ X 12′ outer roof boards into 18 pieces 70-1/2″ long and 18 pieces 71″ long. Then, cut all the board so that you have 36 pieces of each length. If the boards are polished on one side only, it is important to make the diagonal cut the same direction each time; so be sure to mark and cut all boards with the polished side up. If you don’t, your ceiling will be alternately rough and smooth.
Set the 70-1/2″ and 71″ boards aside for the time being and split the top of the standing wall into thirty-six parts. Draw a line across each 62″ board 3-1/2 inches from the big end on the smooth side. Then, using one 10-penny nail for each board, nail a 62″ plank in place on top of the wall boards with one long edge of each 62″ plank on a 1/36 mark. As you work, prop the roof members up with poles which have nails driven part way in 79″ from one end. Be careful to see that each roofing plank is aimed at the centre of the yurt. When all the boards are up, raise or lower the poles as needed to make all the pieces of the roof meet snugly. Now drive two more 10-penny nails into the wide end of each roofing board.
Finally, nail the 62-1/2-inch roofing planks in place by using one 10-penny nail at the outer edge of each board. When they are all secure, nail the 62-1/2 inch boards at their outer ends. Then, working from inside the yurt, drive a 7-penny nail every six inches along the roof boards’ lengthwise edges. Have someone hold a sledge against the opposite side to back up your work, and securely clinch the ends of the nails. Keep the props in place until the compression band is installed.
If you can find an old wagon wheel to use for a compression band, you can save yourself a good bit of work. The wheel’s inside diameter should measure 40″46″. Cut out the spokes and hub, and with the wheel carefully centred over the skylight opening, screw the edge securely to the inner layer of roofing planks from below. Then add and fasten pieces of pine boards, cut to the curve of the wheel to the top of the edge until the assembly holds the inner and outer layers of roof. Now you can remove the props.
For part two, please click here.