October 2011


In truly unbelievable act of generosity, one of our favourite neighbours gave us a tractor that looks exactly like this:

Renault tractor buffs will immediately recognise an R 7051 – but that’s not important right now. Blog followers will spot the cut off plastic bottle preventing rain getting into the air intake and killing the engine (I’m not getting caught like that again) – but that’s not important either.

What is important is that this new toy – includes bucket (but no battery) – has made our big winter project of collecting rocks from the field and dumping them on the road through the woods far, far easier. After only a few days it already looks like this:

Next year’s guests can look forward to their own access – and écovallée parking (thanks Simon) – when visiting the yurt camp. Which currently looks like this:

Now that I’ve made a raised wooden platform for the play yurt,


a beaten earth platform with dry-stone retaining wall for our 18-foot yurt,


an 18-foot beaten earth platform with woven chestnut retaining fence for our first guest yurt,


a wooden platform for our second 18-foot yurt,


and a second 18-foot earth platform on a slope for our second guest yurt,


I feel qualified to write a fairly definitive guide to how to build a yurt platform. I’ll be happy to answer questions if anything needs clarification, time permitting.

Before I started my latest platform, I bought:
o Thirty 2.5-metre lengths of rough 7.5 cm by 4 cm douglas fir from a nearby woodyard
o A six-litre tin of treatment against wood-boring insects
o 27 square metres of pine flooring, 23 mm thick, 10 cm wide and 2 m long
o A five-litre tin of protective treatment for the finished floor – oil with a white pigment
o A box of 200 screws 70 mm long, 5 mm wide
o A box of nails 40 mm long, 2 mm wide

On day one, I laid down and levelled the floor joists 61 cm apart, and screwed noggings between them to strengthen the frame.


I was lucky enough to have almost level ground to work on, and some old tiles and bits of wood lying around. Levelling an area like this takes a huge amount of work and is covered in other posts.


On day two, I joined the ends of the joists, trying to get these outside noggings as close to the finished edge as possible.


The weight of the yurt will be resting on this edge, which is why I put supports at the top, bottom and sides.


An important point here, in capital letters: THE FINISHED FLOOR FOR AN 18-FOOT COPPICED YURT IS 18 FEET 4 INCHES – the 18 feet is in the internal measurement. If you are using sawn timber, just add the wall width on both sides to your internal finished size.


On day three, I started laying the floor, aiming for as little wastage as possible, pre-drilling holes diagonally through the tongues wherever the boards crossed a joist.


This is what I can do in about 10 hours working alone.


On day four, I finished laying the floor while Her Outdoors applied the first layer of oil. Unfortunately, the oil had an eight to 12-hour drying time between coats, so this day ended up being quite long too. Rain had appeared on the forecast I use and we were now chasing the weather as so often happens.


On day five, I screwed 10 cm strips of 5 mm ply to the outside edge of the platform.


For some reason this doesn’t come up much in yurt books, or sites talking about yurt platforms, but we find it essential. The edge makes putting the frame up a breeze, doesn’t cost much, cuts down on draughts, holds in the insulation and even stops slugs coming in to eat the cat food.

If you have large items of furniture and small doors like us, you’ll want to move these onto the platform before putting your retaining edges on.

UPDATE

I’ve since discovered you don’t need to pre-drill those holes. Just make sure they are angled nicely into the wood. Saves a bit of time.