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The Mongolian Yurt - DIY

The Mongolian Yurt - DIY

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Published by Milkwood
Originally published in 'Sacred Spaces' issue #9, Spring 1995.
Originally published in 'Sacred Spaces' issue #9, Spring 1995.

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Published by: Milkwood on Jul 02, 2012
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05/13/2014

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.A
t
16JSt,
t;Q",pl~tf:
pl6J"S
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str~t;tf"",,'
"Q~f
drelfl",""rt...
Yurt
THETRADITIONALYURTcanbedatedatleastasfarbackasthe13thcentury,whenGenghisKhanwasturningMongoliaupsidedown.Theoriginalformwouldbequitesimilartotheonedescribedbelow.
It
wouldhaveaframeofwood,withacoveringofwoolfelt.Nomadicfamilieswouldliveinyurtsofvarioussizesalongwiththeirlivestockandtheirfewpersonalbe-longings.Iwouldliketoemphasizeanotheraspectoftheyurt,however-theaspectthatwillmakethisspacecomealive.Anybodycanbuildayurt,butittakesaspecialefforttocapturethehistoricandsacredcontextofthespace.TotheMongol,theyurtwasmorethanatent.
It
wasasymbolicrepresentationoftheuniverse.Forex-ample,thesquarefirepitinthecenterofthefloorsym-bolizedagatetotheUnderworld.Alongwiththepit,itemsofeachofthemainelementsoftheuniverse-earth,metal,woodandfire-hadtobepresentinthehearthat
all
times.Thesewouldincludeawoodenframethatsitsontheearth,anironpotfilledwithwater,placedontopofametalgrate.Mongolsadheredtocertainstrictreligiousrulesofbehavior.Everymorning,theymadeanofferingbypouringteaonthehotirongrate,sothesteamwould
SacredSpaces-[ssue
jIIJ.
Spring1995'
risewiththesmokeor"WorldTree"connectingearthtoheaven.Furnishingsintheyurtalsofollowedapredict-ablepattern.Oppositethemainentry,theywouldal-waysplaceashrineoraltarthatmightconsistofaspe-
cial
tableorjustawoodenbox.Insidetheboxtheywouldputsacrediconsorofferings.Theskinofacoworyakwouldbesewntogetherandusedtostoreliq-uids.Otherboxesandracksnearthewallswouldholdthedailynecessities-clothing,toolsandthelike.Wheneverentertaining,anexchangeofgiftsisexpected-inmostcasessnuffboxes.Neitherpartyshouldinspectthegifttooclosely,however.Anothertraditionisforgueststomakeinquiringsmalltalk-asktheirhostsabouttheirhealth,thefamily,thelive-stock,thequalityofgrazinglands,etc.Thehost,ofcourse,mustanswerpositivelytoallinquiriesnomat-terhowterriblehisaffairs.Courtesydictatesthatwheninsidetheyurt,thehost(andguest)kneelontherightkneewiththeotherkneeup.Finally,whensleepinginthe
yurt,
allhouseholdmemberssleepwiththeirheadstowardthealtar-andtheyurtoftheheadofthefamilyortribeshouldbeplacedattheright,frontcomerofthecamp,withthedoorwayfacingtothesouth.
Pag<4
 
CONSTRUCTION
(Adapted
from.
a
J974
publ1catioft
byJay
&Ad
Laurel
C01C)
WALLS
Materia!s32532585
444
5O-ft
2
fasteners(Either1O-pennygalv.nails.rivetsDrnuts
&
bolts)washers68-in.hardwoodpieces,
%-
xII-inmin.
01-
x
I
h-in.ifsoftwood)13-inhardwoodpieces,~-x1l-inmin.
04-
xI'h-in.ifsoftwood)
35-io~'~,
57-in.
'h-innaturalhemprope(ormetalcableifyouwantmorestrength)'h-inropeorcable
clamps
THEWALLOFTHEYURT
isalargepantograph(ex-pandablebabygate)thatfoldsintoacompactcylinder6-ftlongand2-f1.indiameter.Whenextended,the
¥a-
in.x
r's-in.
hardwoodpiecesareangledatabout60de-grees.Thecirclehasatotallengthof46ft.Thepiecesshouldberelativelyfreeofknotsandfractures.Drillholesforfastenersl-in,fromtheendsofeachstick,and11inchesfromeachother,Holesshouldbedrilledslightlylargerthanthefasteners,sothatthepieceswillmoveeasilyevenwhenthewoodswells.Thefastestwaytodrilltheholesistocreateatemplatefrom1.4-in.panelingandlayitontopofeachsticktocentertheholes.Toconnectthewoodpieces,thecheap-estoptionistouse100pennygalvanizednails.Justplaceasturdypieceofmetalundertheflatheadandbendtheothersideflatagainstthewood.Thissoundscrude,butit'sthesamemethodVikingsusedtocreatetheirflex-iblewarships.Themoreexpensiveandmoreattractivemethodistouselongrivets.Thetopendsofeachwallpieceshouldbenotchedtoreceivetheropethatwillrunaroundtheperimeterofthewall.Togivethewoodafinishedappearanceandwardoffsplinters,finishallofthepiecesbeforeassembly.Roundtheedgesslightlywitharasporwoodfile,thensandthemlightly.Topreservethem,youmaywanttoapplysomewater-basedstain,linseedoilorothernon-toxicfinish.Remember,however,thatwhat-everyouusemayruboffonthetentcovering.Whenreadytoassemble,laythepiecesonasmoothsurfacewiththeropenotchesfacinginthesamedirection.Thenotchonthetoppiecesshouldfacedown,andthenotchonthepieceincontactwiththegroundshouldfaceup.Theshorterpieceswillbeusedateachendofthewall,asshowninthedoorframeillustration.Theycanbepermanentlysandwichedbetweenthever-ticalpiecesthatdefineeachsideofthedoorframe.
If
usingbentovernailsasfasteners,thebentsideshouldfacetotheexterior.Tospeedassembly,fastenthepiecesoneatatime,startingatoneendofthe"fence."DOORFRAME
Ma~rials
4woodpieces'IO-inx2-in.x
5-in.
long2woodpieces
'10
in.xI'h-in.x39-in.long8machinebolts'il..-in.x3'h-in.withwingnutsand2wasbcrsforeach
CUTTHEDOORFRAMEPIECES
asshownintheillus-tration.Drillholeso/16-in.ndiameter1in.fromtheendsoftheboards.Assembletheframelooselyovertheendsofthewallpantograph.Asyoutightenthebolts,theboardswillclampontothewallpieces,hold-ingthemsecurelyinplace.Forbetterappearance,youmaywanttoselectbrassnutsandwingnutsorspecialtyfasteners.
1
1/Z"
X
3/4"
x
39"2"
x
3/4"
x
57"
---S...ed
s.,...,..·
10.0...~.
Spring19\I~
 
RAFTERS
Materials
48wood
pieces
7
ft.
x
1%
in.x
111.
in.
48
5-in.
x
'A-in.steel
pin!
rollofl-in,strapping
tape
(tOO
ft.)
rollofmaskingorcoloredtape
(100ft)
Theraftersmaybecutfromanyfairlyclear,straightgrainedwood.Thedimensionsgivenmakefulluseof
2x8
constructiongradespruceorhemlock,whichis15/8-in.thick.Withcare,youcanget
5
raftersfromasingle2x8
with
nowasteexceptsawdust.Trytofindpieceswithfeworsmallknots.Cuttheraftersasillus-trated.Next,drillaIh-in.hole
lh
in.fromoneendofthepiece,anduseaflatchiseltochipouttheholeandmakeanotch.Thisnotchwillfitontotheropehoopthatsur-roundsthetopofthewalLBeveltheotherendofthepieceat
60
degrees,thendrillacenteredhole3-in.deepusinga~-in.bit.Theholewillacceptthesteelpin,andshouldrunper-pendiculartotheboard,nottotheangleofthebevel.Beforeyoudriveinthepin,wrapapieceofl-In.strap-pingtapearoundboth
ends
oftherafter(topreventsplit-ting.)Paintwillnotadheretothistape.soyoumusteithercoveritwithmaskingtapeoracoloredtapetoyourtaste.Whenyou'reready,hammerinthemetalpin.Itshouldn'trequireglue.Tofinish,chamfer(beveloff)thebottomedgesandsandthewholepiecetoremovesplintersandsharpedges.ClassicMongolian
yurts
usedredpaintontheredrafters.
If
youwantideasformoreelaboratedeco-ration,theMarch,1962issueof
NationalGeographic
hassomeniceillustrations.
Bottomendofraftershowingnotchwhererafterrestson
pe-
rimeterhoop.Topendofrafter,showingmetalrodthatinsertsintothecentralring.
Above:The
completedrafter.Right:Detailshowinghowtherafter
tits
intoa
hole
drilledinthecentralring.
SacredSpaces
e
1_.119'Spring199
Pege6

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