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Knecht 06-02-2014 05:15 PM

Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Hi, I'm new here. Just started planning to build a yurt here in the Czech Republic. I'm about to lose my job in couple months (not really crying for that) and I plan (and hope) to make stuff for reenactors, survivalists and bushcrafters for living. I can forge, carve wood, sew fabric and leather and so on, so I hope I'll have enough to offer. These skills also allow me to build a yurt by myself. Was thinking of a log house at first, but since I'm not sure where am I going to live in the end, I'll start with yurt, built at my family's property (so no initial investments to buy land). We also have our cottage here, mainly use it for weekends and holidays, but it's livable all year round. Not big enough for both me and my wife living there AND my family coming for holidays, so I've decided to add a room for us simply by building a yurt nearby. If we end up moving elsewhere, doing different job or building a real house somewhere, the yurt can be packed and brought with us, possibly serving as temporary living place at some new construction site. And maybe we'll like it so much that we won't even wish to leave it, who knows. I always liked yurts and this seems to be a great opportunity to try it.
I want to make it simple, not many modern materials or accessories. If I end up freezing there during the winter, I can always move to the cottage nearby and spend the winter there.

As any newbie, I have many questions. I'm trying to find answers myself, got the handbook by P.R. King "Build your own yurt" and I'm about to meet a colleague archaeologist who travelled through Mongolia, living in a yurt for some time, so she'll be a great information source as well.
Now, I have enough leftovers of tent fabric to make the walls cover and have no problem getting more for the roof quite cheaply. Can sew it myself, or ask a friend who makes reenacting tents for living. I can make the crown and roof parts myself out of materials I have around. What I'm currently trying to solve are the wall rods, the ones that create the khana sections. Can I use bamboo for them? Found a good source, a trader that imports quality, well dried bamboo for good prices. I've read that this wood was used by some of the nomad cultures, but have found no true evidence for it. It seems ok to me, as the bamboo is hard, flexible, straight and quite lightweight. Anyone tried it? Anyone knows about traditional use of it?
My other question is about dimensions. Is there any magical height X diameter ratio, that simply makes the whole thing work well? I plan to make 6m diameter, not sure about wall height and dome height though. Any input would be highly appreciated!
Since I'll be heating the thing with some simple wood stove, I guess I shouldn't make it too high to achieve proper heating.
As for insulating, I may be lucky and get some pretty cheap felt here. If not, I'll most likely use some industrial insulation.

Thanks for any information!

Marshall Eppley 06-02-2014 06:30 PM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Welcome to the forum. I don't think bamboo is strong enough to support a lot of snow. I cut my laths 7/8 of an inch thick and leave them 8 ft long. My first yurt a 16ft dia with stood a 30 inch snow fall with no extra bracing. Good luck on your build,and this is the right place to come for any info you might need.

Bob Rowlands 06-02-2014 08:03 PM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Just so you know, wall lattice must bend and twist to form the wall on smaller yurts, like my 16'er for example. It absolutely does not remain straight.

I'm thinking bamboo will bend just fine. I'm guessing original yurts probably had sapling walls, possibly cut green and made into the wall quickly, so the bend would be there as the sapling dried out. Just a guess. Try bamboo and see? BTW you can use cordage for tying the lattice together, you don't need 1/4-20 bolts. That also allows somewhat more flex in the lattice.

If you have a modicum of building chops, and are handy with tools, have friends that will loan you tools, plus the fortitude to see a project to completion, go for it.

Bob Rowlands 06-02-2014 09:16 PM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Google: clan yama kaminari yurt

for plans to my simple 16' trad yurt. Pics are on this site. type - Homemade yurt- in the searchbox. Then scroll down till you see that title above Bob Rowlands. I got less than 2K in the yurt plus the deck it sits on. Took 14 days to build including deck, but I'm a carpenter and work very fast.

That plan would be easily adaptable to 6 meters if you have some carpentry chops. You'd have to layout a half diameter full size section of the yurt on a garage floor, like I did, to layout the master rafter length and cut angle. I'd bump the lattice to 5/16ths thick, ( I did so) rafters to full 1x4, make the roof ring 32" in diameter, 5" wide plywood at the roof ring, and 4x4 for the spacers.. The 1x spacers in the plan are goofy. A 4x4 ripped to size is MUCH better for ring spacers. My yurt has easily withstood winter storms with 50+ MPH winds this past winter. FWIW.

Knecht 06-03-2014 02:18 AM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Thanks for the welcome and the advice, everyone.
I don't insist on bamboo, just thought it would be worth a try, though I don't want to wake up in the middle of a snow storm, wiping snow off my face and thinking "ok, it was a stupid idea!"
Also like the looks of bamboo and surely don't mind if the interier would look more rustic. As archaeologist and reenactor/living-history nut for many years, I'm well used to primitive conditions and enjoy them.
I like the idea of anchors that secure khana to the floor, thanks for those, Bob. I was thinking that I could use the traditional cordage "rivets" to connect the khana rods together, while using bolts on the edges for extra strength. This could be nicely combined with the idea. I have lots of strap steel leftovers and should forge the anchors in no time.

I surely need to think about snow in that location, some years it comes quite heavy. On the other hand, if I live there all the time, I can get rid of the snow every day.

If I cancel the bamboo idea, I know of a place to get spruce laths 18x48mm very cheaply, think those would be thick enough? In the manual by P.R. King, he recommends 1/2" thick laths, which is even less, but is seems too thin to me.

How are lower walls working for you (if anyone has them)? Many plans I found are for walls like 1,5m high, which is much lower than my head is. On the other hand, since I'll have furniture and other stuff by most of the wall's length, I won't really have much chance to get close to it.

Final question for now - how about the angles between khana rods/laths? Shall I end up with +/- perfect 90° squares, or not?

Knecht 06-03-2014 04:28 AM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
That manual by Ogami Akira is great, though it's not exactly the way I want to make mine. But it still contains many valuable ideas and information. I see the answer to my question about 90°angles in the khana.
Too bad it's made for 16' diameter only, I really need it slightly bigger. Hope I can calculate the differences needed.

Bob Rowlands 06-03-2014 09:07 AM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
The 5/16th lattice on my trad nomadic yurt are plenty strong due to being made from good clear 2X rips. Knots kill thin rips. I'd consider clear quality wood in 3/4" (~18mm) basically bombproof, but not likely to bend to wall shape so easily if you do the 90 degree lattice squares as I did. If the khana lattice are installed more vertically so you have diamond shape, there is less twist and bend, and a taller wall results with the same lattice length. More lattice are needed however.

The clan kama yaminari yurt can easily be expanded to 6 meters if you layout the yurt in section on a floor. If you use cut 1x4 rafters on the yurt, I strongly suggest to not calculate. Lay out the half section of your yurt plan. Use childs chalk so the marks will come off easily.

The section to layout is from the wall to the centerline of the roof ring, and the heigth difference between the two. Say the wall is 5'4" tall, and the bottom of the roof ring is at 8'4". That's 3' of heigth differential.

Draw that section full size on the floor. You need to know exactly the way the ring is built, and the size of it to draw it, and know how the 1x rafter fits into the ring.

Get all that layed out. Lay your rafter stock in place on the full scale layout and transfer the cut marks onto the rafter. Simple and foolproof. That's what pro carpenters do. They generally do not calculate if they can lay out. WAY less mistakes.

Gotta go to work now. Good luck.

Knecht 06-03-2014 05:09 PM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Thanks. I'll need to think about what you suggest to fully understand it.

Knecht 06-06-2014 04:07 AM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Just found a source of Siberian larch wood. Can't decide if it would be worth investing into. Or shall I rather use lesser woods on my first yurt build, in case I mess it somehow and need to remake it later? On the other hand, if I make it all right, this wood should last me forever and it's one of the favoured wood types for khanas in Mongolia as I've read.

Knecht 06-06-2014 08:45 AM

Re: Planning to build a yurt in Czech Republic
Have my stove ordered. Unissued old army surplus, cast iton, great reputation and pretty cheap.

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