Setting Up a Yurt
Before we explain how to assemble a yurt, let us introduce the parts of a yurt. Yurts consist of the following parts.
1. Wooden frame
- Crown or Roof ring (toono), 1 piece.
- Rafters or Roof poles (uni), 20-120 pieces depending on the number of wall segments of the yurt.
- Lattice Walls (khana), 3-15 pieces depending on the size of the yurt. The joints of the wall are held together with camel-leather lacing.
- Pillars (bagana), 0-4 pieces depending on the size of the yurt. For yurts with four wall segments, you do not need the pillars. Yurts with six and eight wall segments normally have two pillars. For yurts with ten or more wall segments, four pillars (p40) are needed.
- Door (haalga). You can order a sheep-wool curtain instead of the usual wooden door. The advantage of a curtain is that it will makeyour yurt more atmospheric and easier to transport whendisassembled. A curtain, however, makes it impossible to lock your yurt and may not keep out cold drafts.
2. Soft coverings
- Inside cotton canvas
- Sheep-wool felt for the roof
- Sheep wool felt for the walls
- Waterproof canvas
- Outside cotton canvas
- Crown sleeve
3. Inner and outer fastening ropes (straps), eight pieces (horse, yak, and camel hair).
Following are the steps required to assemble a painted or carved yurt. Instructions for assembling a travel yurt are included with the yurt itself.
Assembling a yurt can be quite tricky on your first try. However, after you have done it once, it is something you can do in less than an hour. It is better to have two or three people to help with assembly of an average-sized yurt. For a yurt of ten or more wall segments you will need more people. For yurts with four wall segments, two people will be enough.
- Choose an area of flat ground slightly larger than the floor area of your yurt and as dry as possible. It is particularly important to choose a flat piece of ground if you are assembling a large yurt. For smaller yurts, including travel yurts, the ground does not have to be perfectly flat. If you are going to keep your yurt assembled for only a short period, try to choose a spot that is slightly elevated so that rainwater will be deflected. If you are going to keep your yurt assembled outside permanently, it is better to prepare the ground in advance. You may prepare an elevated base for your yurt, for example, by pouring cement or making a wooden floor.
- Unfold the lattice walls and interlock them to form a circle. Leave an open space for the door, making sure that this opening is the same size as the door and is located where you wish the door to be.
- Fasten the joints of the walls using shorter ropes supplied.
- Place the door in the space left for it and tie it to the walls.
- Adjust the height of the walls so they are at the same level as the top of the door. In doing so, make sure that the walls form an exact circle. The upper edge of the walls should all be at the same level.
- Using two of the long straps supplied, encircle the walls to lash them into place. One of the straps should be placed about one-quarter of the way up the wall from the bottom and the other about three-quarters of the way up the wall. Make sure these straps are tight enough to allow the yurt to maintain its round shape and for the walls to stay at the same level as the top of the door.
- Put the crown inside the wall circle upside down and attach the two pillars tightly. You will need two or three people to do this for an average-sized yurt. Attach one pillar first and then, as someone holds the pillar that has already been attached, attach the other. If you are building a four-wall segment yurt, which does not require pillars, you can skip this step.
- Raise the crown and pillars and set them carefully in the middle of the circle created by the outer wall. Leave one or two person(s) inside the wall circle to keep the set stable while you are connecting the walls and the crown with the rafters. If you are erecting a four-wall segment yurt, which does not require pillars, just ask the other person to raise the crown above his head while you are connecting the crown and the wall.
- Attach the rafters. Start attaching from opposite sides of the circle so that the crown will not be tilted to one side. The narrow end of the rafters should be put into the holes for this purpose found in the crown and the thicker end should be attached to the walls with the loop in the rafters. In this step please be careful that you are connecting the appropriate hole in the crown to a corresponding point on the wall. The connected rafters should look straight; the easiest way to achieve this is to begin with the rafters above the door. The rafters that connect the door top and the crown do not have a loop at the thicker end of the rafter. Instead of the loop the end of the rafter is shaped so that it fits into the mortise on the top of the door. Connect first the mortise in the right middle of the door top to the corresponding hole in the crown and next connect the crown hole and the point at the top of the wall directly opposite the first rafter. When you have attached enough rafters to support the crown, the person(s) holding the crown and the upright supporting set (or the crown in the case of yurts of four wall segments) can help with placing the remaining rafters. Connect all the rafters.
- Now that you have erected mainframe of your yurt, you can start dressing it. First tie the inside white cotton canvas to the top of the wall and the crown using the straps attached.
- Next, take the rectangular sheep-wool felt segments and put them in place, overlapping them slightly and securing them by using the long straps attached to the felt segments.
- Next, attach the two semicircular felt segments to the roof beginning with the one that is cut to fit around the crown, which goes over the side of the yurt on which the door is found. Overlap this with the second felt roof segment, which goes over the side of the yurt opposite the door.
- Next, place the waterproof canvas sheets on the yurt. Overlap the sheets slightly where they meet. As with the felt roof segments, there are two semicircular waterproof canvas sheets, one with a space left for the crown that goes over the side of the yurt with the door.
- Put the outside cotton canvas on and tie it to the crown and bottom of the walls.
- Wrap the three long straps provided around the entire yurt. One strap goes around the top of the wall and one around the bottom. The third one goes around the middle of the wall. Fix the ends of the straps to the rings attached to the doorframe.
- Put the crown sleeve on and fix it to the outer straps and the bottom of the walls using the straps attached to the crown sleeve.