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The Walls

For the walls you will need 65 rods about an inch (25mm) in diameter and five feet (1.5m) long or slats of sawn timber, these are traditionally willow. Hazel is stronger, more durable and easy to obtain in many areas (Cut your hazel between October and March as it will last longer, the tree will have a better chance of recovery and there is no risk of disturbing nesting birds). Broom handles or hardwood batons are excellent, but a bit expensive and often from unsustainable sources. Sawn green oak batons "x1" (13x38mm) for the walls and 1"x1" (32x32mm) will cost 140-200 and will make a yurt frame to last a lifetime. Sawmill offcuts may be useful and cheap.

If you are using willow or hazel remove the bark for an attractive light finish, this is most easily done using a concave curved knife. Or leave the bark on for a more rustic look. Use the wood green (unseasoned) so that any slightly bent poles will be pulled straight as they dry. If using slats, plane or sandpaper them to give a smooth finish.

Drill seven 3.5mm holes, exactly nine inches (23cm) apart in each rod leaving two inches over at one end and four at the other (Fig.2). If using poles of a different length keep the 9inch spacing but drill more or less holes, as appropriate.

Hole spacing for the rods of the khana (wall section).
Figure 2. Hole spacing for the rods of the khana (wall section).

The easiest way to space these holes is to make a fixture:-

Take a piece of hardwood 11 inches long and drill two 3.5mm holes nine inches (23cm) apart push a nail through one hole, after drilling the first hole in each rod place the nail on the fixture in this hole you can now use the hole in the fixture as a guide to drill the second hole. Repeat for the other five holes (Fig.3).

For an attractive durable finish treat the rods with boiled linseed oil.

Fixture used to ensure accurate spacing of holes.

Figure 3. Fixture used to ensure accurate spacing of holes.

The rods now need to be tied together to form the two wall sections or Khana. Take 24 full length rods and tie them together by knotting one end of the string, passing it through the two corresponding holes in two rods, pulling it very tight and knotting the other end. To facilitate threading heat the first inch or so of the string and roll it between your fingers to form a solid leading end, be careful not to burn yourself. Burn, rather than cut the string to prevent fraying. Repeat this process until all 24 rods are joined to form the Khana. Finish the ends using shorter lengths of rod (Fig.4). Make another Khana in exactly the same way.

The Khana or wall section, two or more of these tied together make up the walls of the yurt.

Figure 4. The Khana or wall section, two or more of these tied together make up the walls of the yurt.




"I'm having a very special time in it. It's a fantastic piece of Joinery"
M.R. (Cumbria, 1998)

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