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Ethan 02-21-2014 08:21 PM

Building 30ft yurt
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We (Ethan and Hannah) have finally started construction on a 30 foot yurt and would like to bring YurtForum along for the ride. If people are interested in following this I will try to keep you up-to-date with pictures and info from the project, that way if anyone has tips, comments, tricks or advise you can feel free to share. So let us know what you think!

Now to get things started. I have been making trips for the last few weeks to Home Depot, Lowe's, and local lumber yards collecting all the best plank from the 16ft piles. Im looking for straight unwarped boards with as few knots dime size and under. Searching for good wood is more difficult then expected, there are 4 piles I look through at each store 6,8,10 and 12 inch wide plank, if your really lucky you can pull 3 plank from a pile but its not unusual to leave a store with nothing at all. I have started ripping some of the lumber and will continue tomorrow.

Again feedback is welcome. I will post more soon.

Stopped at 4 different stores to find these seven 16ft boards, theres enough here to make 8 rafters and a few lattice pieces.

Bob Rowlands 02-21-2014 10:44 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
I scratch built a 16' yurt from wood purchased at Depot and Lowes. You do need to be very picky about the wood the wall laths are made from. I spent ALOT of time picking through the bunks finding the most clear lumber, and still had plenty of rejects. My lath is only 5/16ths thick, and any knot bigger than 1/4" dia. will substantially weaken such a thin lath. Fortunately the redundancy in wall laths makes the wall stronger.

Have fun. Work with care. Good luck.

Ethan 02-22-2014 07:42 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
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In two days of work I have ripped down almost all the wood needed for lattice and rafters. The rafter are 4 5/8inch wide and lattice is 3/4in. By using these two sizes there isn't really any wasted lumber. With 16foot boards a 2x10=2rafters 2x8=1rafter and 4lattice so-on.. I have also used many 2x4x8 which makes 4 lattice. We will need about 160 lattice and 50 rafters.

We are working on deciding roof pitch and ring size tonight. We want the pitch somewhere between 32and 40 degrees, with a roof ring up to 7 foot across. with a 40 degree roof the top of the yurt would be 18feet high which is rather tall for a yurt but hey there will be plenty of room for a loft!

Bob Rowlands 02-23-2014 01:18 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
I'm a carpenter. To solve rafter angle and cut length problems, and to get a visual of what the roof profile of my yurt would be, I drew a full scale blueprint style 'yurt section' on our garage floor.

First, I snapped a yurt floor baseline. I then drew the exact wall height perpendicular to the floor baseline. If you don't have a framing square, 3-4-5 it off the baseline. Then from the wall/floor intersection on the baseline, I came in half the yurts diameter to the yurts focal/center point, and projected another 90 degree line up through the center of the roof ring. I measured up from the floor baseline and marked my proposed roof ring height, and drew the ring in section, parallel to the floor baseline.

I then layed an uncut rafter in position on the drawn layout. This gives a good 'real life' look at what you'll actually see, not a computer drawing, or scale drawing on paper. You can easily adjust the ring heigth up and down. You can check head room at the rafter angle, etc. To adjust roof pitch, simply shift the ring heigth up and down. Move the rafter around on the garage floor layout until you get what you want. This is a simple easy way to solve the problem.

This full scale approach reveals EXACTLY what the angle and rafter length are without resorting to doing any complicated error prone math. You literally transfer marks from the garage floor onto the rafter.

I have a full circumference compression cable. I calculated the exact cable length based on the yurt circumference, using 3.14x r2. When I made up the cable, I installed a loop in each end and joined the two with a carabiner. When installing the cable on the yurt, the rafters were indeed an exact fit. No rope snugging and cinching necessary. Install the cable atop the wall, and stuff the rafters up into the ring. Wallah, an exact tight perfect fit, with no adjustments. All simply from laying out the yurt section on the garage floor.

I hope this helps. Good luck

Bob Rowlands 02-23-2014 01:23 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Make that cable length, pi x d, not pi x r2. :D

Ethan 02-23-2014 07:11 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Sweet, yeah I started drawing it out to size on the wall then realized there wasn't enough hight in the room I'm working in to fully erect the yurt. So we mathed it all out and will just have to build roof and walls separate for fitting the cove. We will probably go with something close to 40 degrees for the roof

SeverTheTether 02-23-2014 11:16 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
At the lumberyard near me they have a bid called 'select' wood, that has very few knots, and all of them are tiny. You pay about 6x as much per board, but these boards are very nice. Most of the wood at home depot is structural wood that isn't intended to look nice, or be knot free, because it will be hidden in a wall or floor.

Make sure you are getting the proper grade of wood!

Bob Rowlands 02-23-2014 12:28 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
10 in 12 pitch. That's gonna give your yurt the upscale 'McMansion' look. :D The pitch on mine is 23 degrees. Next to yours mine would look like Jeeves quarters. :D

Ethan 02-23-2014 05:23 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
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Ha right on Bob!

Today I cut everything to length and cut a 40degree on one side of the rafters. Later in the week we are going to sand down everything and put a finish coat of some sort of waterbased polyurethane. I'm going to test the polyurethane with some dye mixed in, does anyone know if that will work? Goal is to stain and finish everything with one coat.

Stacked the wood like this to get max airflow and even drying. im not really sure it will keep stuff from warping, that's the idea though, any thoughts on keeping wood straight?

Bob Rowlands 02-23-2014 06:55 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Unfortunately the only way to keep todays standard grade lumber straight is to keep it banded. Once unbanded, good framers quickly install what they need and leave the rest undisturbed in the bunk. Nested tight in the bunk help keeps it straight, and slows moisture loss. That's especially true here in the arid western U.S.

You have a nick neat pile of lumber there, nicely stickered. Good work. Fortunately you have picked good stock to rip, that is relatively knot free. Unfortunately, if the grain isn't dead straight and without internal stress, it will start warping twisting bowing as it dries. Knots are what's a real killer. Some warpage is no big deal.

I have some 1x3 rafters so twisted they are vertical up at the roof ring, and have a full 45 degree twist down at the wall. Unsighly, but they are fine as the snow load here is pretty marginal. Up at a ski area in the Rockies would be a different deal. I'd want them real straight up there.

Sorry, can't advise about stain and seal in one. Never done it.

Keep up the good work.

Ethan 03-07-2014 08:19 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
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In the past week we have sanded and put a finish coat of paint on all the lattice pieces. I used a belt sander clamped down and with a 50 grit rounded off all the corners and blemishes, Hannah went over them with a palm sander to sooth them off to a finish, it might sound easy but theres 200 pieces so it took a while. Didn't do anything fancy with the finish coat, mixed some water based polyurethane and satin paint 5:1 and it went on pretty good as a stain and finish coat all at once.

Yesterday we started drilling the wholes for the latts, i measured everything out to the 1/16 of an inch for where the wholes needed to go and using a 5/16 bit (the carrage bolts are 1/4 inch) drilled about 15 latts. here is where the problem is, we bolted those latts together and they would only open about 5 inches before it would tighten up and not open the full distance.
:confused: Anyone had this problem before? It looks like the whole spacing is right on. Could it be the warped boards in the deck? maybe because the latte are 3/4in thick and don't bend well?

Bob Rowlands 03-07-2014 09:43 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
It's most certainly nuts snugged down on an uncured new finish. And a tentative pull from a yurt newby. Be assured that wall IS gonna open.

The hole spacing check is, when you install the bolts the laths will align exactly parrallel to eachother when the wall is in the closed position. Every lath should nest nice and snug to its neighbor. Also check your nuts for tightness. :D You are overcoming a TREMENDOUS amount of friction with the nuts snugged too tight, especially with a brand new uncured coat of finish.

Get that wall layed out on a flat smooth surface like a driveway, or garage floor, shop floor, with the carriage bolt heads facing down. That will protect the wood. Get two of you one on each side and pull that sucker open. You aren't going to hurt it. If a couple laths break in the process, big deal. Replace them. Work at it. You WILL open that wall.

Good work. Good luck.

Bob Rowlands 03-07-2014 09:51 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
BTW, I had the same problem. I had to loosen the nuts, and had uncured paint. The laths were sticking together as well. I used substantial force opening mine.

Once you get the yurt erected, you could go back and install a washer on the bolt between each pair of laths. Also, if you installed a washer under the nut, be aware there is gonna be music in a breeze unless the nuts are snugged down. I removed ALL of my washers, and thought about installing them between the laths. Too much work though.

Ethan 03-07-2014 05:43 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
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So went back into the shop this morning and realized one bolt hole was off! (Me confusing numbers and not double checking) It was an easy fix and we were able to get most of the latts drilled and bolted.

Bob Rowlands 03-07-2014 07:58 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
I knew you'd get it fixed. The wall looks superb. Good job.

Ethan 03-12-2014 09:06 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Starting on the door frame today,
Anyone ever have problems with leaking around the door? If so where and how so that i may build a defense against it.

Bob Rowlands 03-12-2014 09:54 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Yeah Ethan I have both air and water leaks at the door. Air blows in all around the door frame, and at the junction between the cover and the frame. Water only comes in if the rain blows at the door. I really don't care too much about either since it's my man cave, and not my primary home.

My suggestion on how to solve any peroblems you might have with air and water getting in the yurt, is to just go ahead and build the yurt. Then you'll see first hand what the air and water issues may be, and possible solutions. There really isn't anything that could be said about this stuff without having a first yurt build done.

Have fun. Tou will have some problems, for sure. Be assured you will solve them as they arise. That's life.

Nate 03-20-2014 10:44 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
How is the door frame coming?

Ethan 03-20-2014 04:48 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
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It is coming along well, thanks for asking. I have been working my normal job all week so haven't much done yet. The frame is up, if you notice on both sides of the face boards theres a 3/4in wide 1/2 deep joint on the face board, i figure this is where the fabric will attach, i can wrap it in a dowel and pinch it down with the finish board on top. Didn't get a side picture but there are 3 layers on the door frame, 2 wider (like the face you can see) sandwiching a skinnier one, this leaves a gap for the lattice to bolt into.

also started the dutch door, picked up 1x6 rough cut from saw mill, sanded them down cut to length. it will be 3 layers thick, a sandwiched frame sort of X thing with insulation as shown in picture. Its going to be a little heavy but since its a dutch door i don't think that will matter much.

Thinking of using tung oil with a little dye for the door finish, anyone know if thats a good or bad idea?

Again, questions, comments, advise, are all welcome!

Ethan 03-20-2014 04:52 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Let me know if you can't see image. Seem to have trouble loading some of them.

Bob Rowlands 03-20-2014 07:14 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Some real creative thinking for sealing the wall cover to the door frame. Good job.

Tung oil is gonna be a good finish. You can always add oil as time goes by. I doubt you'll have any problems dyeing the oil.

Another time tested alternative to Tung oil is boiled linseed oil. Add 50% mineral spirits for the first few coats it will penetrate like all get out. MUCH MUCH better than any plastic finish.

Keep up the good work Ethan.

Ethan 03-20-2014 08:53 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Thanks, I know you mentioned air leaks around the door so want to give my best shot at minimizing those, I'll add weatherstripping to everything too

Nate 03-21-2014 08:30 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
I've seen Dutch doors separate but I think that might just be because the kids in the nursery swung on them for 50 years. It may not be as big a deal for u. I think I would want the halves to squeeze together.

Ethan 03-21-2014 05:21 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
yeah squeezing together tight is where the multitude of different weatherstripping comes is, hopefully can get it tight enough with that.

Bob Rowlands 03-21-2014 07:38 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
One trick with exterior dutch doors is to build the door as one door, with an extra large10" lock rail. To turn it into the dutch door, set your skill saw to 15 degree bevel, and then cross cut it through the lock rail, such that water flows to the exterior side. Install the lower door. Lay a shim atop it, and set and hang the upper door. Voila, a perfect fit. Add weatherstrip between the two. BTW the 'best' weatherstrip is the old school copper V style, installed with a zillion tiny brads. It will last for fifty years, instead of fifty months like everything else. Pretty soon they'll offer a two to five year warranty on yer plastic weatherstrip, like they do on yer new 'high tech' dishwasher that breaks in six months. lol

Jake 03-22-2014 03:28 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Bob where are you and Ethan located? The NW? Thats where mine will be. Once I know where. Central Idaho is high on the list right now. I am looking forward to seeing Ethans finished !

There are a LOT of good sugestions already. Thanks.

Ethan 03-22-2014 04:19 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Bob: great great idea, i will remember that and try to apply in future, I'm making this door with a 6in shelf in the middle, perhaps a place to cool pies, thats the only excuse i could find for having a Dutch door, ha!

Jake: Im actually from the other side, located in New Hampshire. Idaho is on my list though!

Bob Rowlands 03-22-2014 08:11 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Jake I live in Colo. I have relatives that live near Boise. Can't remember the town, but do remember they love it. They started a hot sauce business there. Good hunting and fishing, and good people live there. Low crime.

Ethan, I once built a dutch door with a shelf, for, of all places, a preschool inside a church. The lower door needed to seperate a staff area from an adjacent room where the little uns needed to be seen but kept out from under foot.

Jake 03-23-2014 04:22 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
A lot of good ideas here, especially on the Dutch Door. I really like them. Now, what ideas do you savants have for a swing into place upper bug screen when the top is open?

Just what Ghengis Khan had !

Bob Rowlands 03-23-2014 01:04 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Personally, along the KISS principle, I'd make a standard full size screen door and jamb, like a million US residences have. Two ways. Build the screen door an inch over the inside yurt door jamb dimension. Make the screen door jamb. Hinge and hang the screen door on its jamb. Screw the whole prehung screen assembly to the yurt door jamb with screws.

Second way. If there is sufficient yurt door opening width (I don't have that) you could make the screened door a half inch smaller than inside yurt door jamb. Or a quater or three eighths smaller if you have a super rigid jamb. Hang on jamb. Add stop for the screen door to close against. With this system the face of the screen door MUST be in plane with the face of the jamb. MUST BE. No questions asked.

If you only want half a screen door, build either of the above, but have the bottom door rail sized to butt into the lower dutch door. Cut it oversize to begin with, install, then cut to fit the closed lower door. Less math that way. :D

Note. All these screen doors are going to be hinged the same side as the main door but open the opposite swing. If one door opens in, the other opens out.

Any other system is one off, and way beyond the KISS principle. :D

Jake 03-24-2014 09:09 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
That makes perfect sense to me.

Glad I came here, much to learn.

Much CAN be learned if attention is paid.

Nate 03-25-2014 03:05 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Hey Ethan,
I talked to my friend Dave, and he recommended putting the door on the side opposite wherever the prevailing winds come from. You probably already have the direction your door will face figured out from other factors, but it's something to consider.

Ethan 03-25-2014 05:28 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Good, thanks. The property is completely untouched right now so i will have to pay attention to where the wind is from. although it might not even be a factor, i would like to build half way down in a gully area near a brook, lots of trees around, my hope is that the wind won't blow hard and it will stay cooler in the summer.

Ethan 04-24-2014 07:05 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Hello all, I have been quite busy lately but still working some on the yurt, will be working on it all this weekend and i hope to have the ring and rafters finished. its coming along though, pics up soon

Jake 04-25-2014 06:03 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
I am looking forward to seeing it Ethan.

Do you have a family?

I have made layouts for my 21' dia one with the two extra window walls added and find everything I want in it fits fine in the space. But I also plan a close by shop and under the yurt platform a shed for goats and chickens.

Traditionally in Mongolia the yurt was oriented for the door to face to the south with the back to the north and west from where their harsh weather comes. Mine will have the door face south and one window to the east.

Bob Rowlands 04-25-2014 08:56 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Typically, when people are faced with having to stand around outside in nasty weather, they scrunch up their shoulders, hunker their heads down in their coats and face their backs into the wind and driving rain and snow. Around here that means they are facing southeast.

I faced my yurt door to the south for similar reasons, in addition to enjoying the sunrise early in the morning. Spend some time in a tent and you'll probably start facing the door to the southest or thereabouts.

Nomadic peoples traditionally erecting their dwellings with the door oriented to the south or east. My experience jives with that. As you can tell from some of my posts I'm something of a traditionalist. I like learning what others have experienced. Somehow it makes me feel connected in time to others that came before me. It's almost a sign of respect to emulate the wisdom of simpler times.

Ethan 04-25-2014 07:06 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
No family yet, I'm 22yrs getting married soon though. it will be my first home. I guess the door will be south or south west, i have a spectacular place to build, down in a gully near a brook. its about 12 feet elevation above the brook then there is hill behind that and across the brook as well. good trees all over the place. hard to explain. In theory it will be cooler in the summer time and out of the wind in the fall and winter, making for a perfect spot. snow has finally melted here and I'm excited to start cutting timber and prepping the land. might start a new thread for that.

Jake 04-26-2014 09:25 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
You are off to a great start Ethan. I hope that she really likes the outdoors!

My Yurt I am hoping to be my last home, with whatever repairs are needed over time.

Figuring out the increased circumference with adding the two standard windows it brings the dia up to just over the 24' . I have included everything on the floor plan that I use now, except for the shop. I am debating either building a separate yurt for it, or a pole type shed off the platform next to the critters pen under the platform. Much to think about on that. :)

Ethan 08-21-2014 10:29 AM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Hello All! just came back from summer of work and am excited to begin work on the yurt again. I will be posting much more frequently now.

chris 08-23-2014 12:57 PM

Re: Building 30ft yurt
Hi Ethan, I'm very interested in potentially building a similarly sized yurt. I was wondering if you could point me to plans or a materials list.

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