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Puzzled About Tension Band

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Old 03-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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Question Puzzled about tension band

Hi everyone. This is my first post, though I've been coming here for helpful hints since I started building my yurt last fall.

I've been leaning heavily on Paul King's book, "The Complete Yurt Handbook" for the project. I'm not following his plans to the letter, but my yurt will be very close to his Mongolian "Ger" design (16' diameter). I'm hoping a few of you have done something similar, since there's an aspect to the disign that I feel needs some further explanation.

Specifically, King's ger has a fabric tension band to hold the walls in and its wall cover hangs from the top of the khanas by loops of cord. Yet his directions on putting on the yurt cover (p. 115, "Fitting the Cover" as well as on his Woodland Yurts web site) say the tension band goes on before the wall cover.

Mike

My question: The tension band completely covers the tops of the khanas when in place. So how am I to hang the wall cover afterwards. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

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Old 03-24-2014, 12:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

I'll get to your question but let me give you some construction details first.

I scratch built a 16' yurt. I use 3/16ths vinyl coated rope (wire) for my tension band. Got it at Home Depot. It sets in the lattice crosses at the top of the wall.

I calculated the length of the tension band using 3.14 (pi) x dia. My tension band wire runs around the entire top of the yurt wall, including over the door frame. That way there is zero chance the door frame could seperate from a snow load, etc.

I formed loops in either end of the wire, using standard wire rope loop hardware with the three clamps. I have the ends carabinered together. That way I have the EXACT length of band to tension the rafters to the roof ring. There's no give to that cable at all. Four big guys could stand on the roof ring and hop up and down and it wouldn't give a bit.

The big advantage of having the tension band premade is, there's no fiddling around adjusting the proper tension when erecting the yurt. Get the khanal opened. Attach the khana to the door frame. Get the two, three, or four wall sections joined to eachother.

Work the tension band into place. You might have to open or compress the wall lattice very slightly to get it to drop into place. After a couple times, you'll know you have it on the money because the lattice crosses form perfect squares, at least on my yurt design. Get the roof ring up on its stand and start shoving the rafters into place and onto the lattice crosses. As you install the last couple yer gonna smile because its a PERFECT fit.

No rafters falling out. No rafters bopping anybody on the head. No fiddly fating around. No head scratching. Fast and easy. You can really erect the yurt very fast with this system.

Now onto your specific question. I have a two piece cover, wall and roof. I hang my wall cover off the lattice crosses AFTER the tension band is in place and the rafters are up. I stitched loops in the top of the wall cover and merely drape the loop over one of the laths. That keeps the cover up very high, and tight to the lattice. No hanger cord. No misc hardware. No fiddling around. Just roll out the cover around the frame and hang it. Done.

My roof cover is sized to drape down over the wall cover by about 12- 18". I also added loops on the cover up at the roof ring hole, and around the perimeter of the cover edge down at the wall. I secure the cover at the ring to screw eyes in the ring. And, run cordage through the wall loops and tie off at the door frame Then tie that cordage down to ground anchors. That pulls the cover down tight, and helps anchor the yurt to the ground. Let the wind blow baby, it's bombproof.

To tie off the cover tight to the wall just below the lattice crosses, I do the traditional rope all around the yurt from the door, to the door, and tie it off. That snugs the cover very tight to the wall. No bugs no drafts etc. I also rope around the yurt at the middle, and at the bottom. That way in the summer I can roll up the wall cover and tuck it into the lower rope. That lets in the breeze and starts a good convective flow of cool air.

Hope that answers your question.

Good luck.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

I read and wondered about that also in Pauls book.

After thinking on it a bit I decided that a number of references to 'bands' on Mongolian gers in Mongolia refer to both the top tension band/cord/cable as Bob discribes it , and also a fabric 'band' that goes on over the outside wall cover to hold it and to keep it from flapping or blowing up. That is further assisted by the rope tiedowns tht cross over the roof and on down the sides to the ground.

If you look at a lot of pictures of Mongolian gers there are fabric bands over the outer covers, and the top ties that are unseen under the roof cover.

This is how I understand it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

The traditional Mongolian yurt tension band is hair rope and/or a wide woven cloth band tied off on either side of the upper door frame as the yurt frame is erected. There has to be a tension band of some sort snugging the rafters up into the ring prior to installation of the cover. Some yurts have a secondary cloth tensioning band wrapped over the cover. Since the yurts roof system strength lies entirely on the strength of the tension band, doubling up natural rope and or cloth band is a good idea.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

Right on, if, they had had the aircraft cable to use instead of the hair ropes they would have.

Fwiw, I tried making a hair rope one time, did get a small one but it took way to much time, I later made it into a small horses bridle. For time put into it it was one of my costliest projects. You gotta really respect the Mongolian herders for what they did. I think a hair rope had to have been a winter project or one while watching the herds.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

Thanks for the replies, folks.

Bob, I've been seriously considering switching to wire rope for the wall tensioning. I can at least see how a wire rope tensioner would allow the wall cover to be installed. You make a pretty good case for doing so for other reasons too. Also, thanks for the info on securing the roof and wall covers: useful details.

Jake, I'm impressed that you would attempt the hair rope at all. One of my goals with this yurt was to try not to rely too much on purchased commercial products, but I never considered going that far.

As for Paul King's

yurt plans

, I'm glad I'm not the only one puzzling, but he's pretty clear about what he means by the tension band (including sewing instructions) and when it goes on (before the cover).

I did try emailing Paul with this question, but haven't received a reply yet. I imagine he is just too busy to field all the email questions he gets. I've heard of authors who will try answer online forum questions though, because the answers can benefit many readers and potentially reduce the number of private inquiries they receive. Here's hoping Mr. King hangs out here once in a while.

Mike
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Puzzled about tension band

You're welcome. The only reason I wrote an article up above was I drank a can of Red Bull about an hour before I got online. Major buzz going. lol
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