Yurt: Ease, Planning, and the Time/Money/Quality Constant

Before I started this project I basically had one book on yurts, set one up once, and a handful of common sense. All the tools I rented or borrowed, and my workshop is a small one car garage in a government worker bunkhouse crammed full of junk and old furniture. I’ve some basic experience with power tools, enough to stay safe and not need supervision, but not enough to remember what that doo-hickey was called. Everything else I picked up through some quick research in blogs or a few forums, and, I have absolutely no knowledge of Mongolia, Turkey, nomads, or anything relating to the long, illustrious history of these nomadic shelters. Don’t get tricked by the fancy titles and commercial companies selling them for thousands and thousands, this shit is easy.

But boy oh boy did I spent a ton of time planning! And drawing comics, but mostly planning!

Seriously, it’s been my experience so far that as long as you’re willing to put in the time to pick out decent materials and be consistent, the yurt structure itself is pretty frickin’ forgiving. On top of that, you can make this project as cheap or as expensive as you want. You just have to keep the “time+money=quality” constant in mind. Basically, if you want a certain level of quality, you’re either going to have to put more time or more money into the project. I’ve seen people haunt the “free” section of craigslist for months salvaging and scrapping enough materials of good or bad quality to put the project together. They’ve had to do a lot of running around and more work to get their materials ready than say someone who just goes down to the Home Depot to buy everything outright, but their costs are nil. I’ve seen people pay a thousand dollars to get the same amount of wood I get for a hundred dollars but they are buying nicer stuff that is probably knot-free, pre-sanded, and less likely to rot (hardwoods like oak, beech, etc.), while I’m buying the cheapest stuff possible (softwood pine strip) and having to take time to fill-in knots, varnish, and will probably need to replace parts after 5-10 years. It’s a balance. Since I’m saving up money, have long 3 day weekends, but a limit on how long before I have to move out, live in the boonies where there’s less easy salvage, and this is my first (less tears if I fuck it up), I went the cheapest route while still paying for all my materials outright.

So don’t get daunted! Just do all your planning in advance, which will be easy since there are tons of resources and materials to help you out without having to subscribe to “woodworkers usa” magazine or bury yourself in a pile of books on yurts, unless you want to. Did I mention I did a lot of planning? I did so SO much planning.

Anyways, good luck!


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