Making a Yurt is an art-form. It must be made from local materials to ensure that the wooden frames do not warp or bend under the local climate (humidity can play havoc with some imported timbers). Yurts for Life yurts are made using traditional techniques such as steam bending combined with modern machinery to cut and shape to ensure a reiable and handsome product.
The crux of the Yurt is the central wheel. It must be perfect to serve as a keystone for the entire structure. All of the ribs, the long strips of wood that extend to the trellis, fix into the central wheel. The wheel is steam bent from ash or sweet chestnut of the very straightest grain and then fashioned by wheelmaker Tim (below left) into a thing of beauty. The slots for the ribs are burned using a red hot poker or "dragon" so called due to the flames, smoke and roaring noise it makes as it burns into the wood (below right) We leave this wheel visible but covered in a clear, waterproof panel so that its stunning visual impact can be enjoyed by all who enter. This serves as a light-well, giving beautifully even light throughout.
The trellis is handmade (as are all our parts!) with individual strips being secured by attractive bronzed studs. When finished, a piece of trellis concertinas down and up, which making it easy to lift and transport . A 16 foot yurt trellis will typically fit inside an estate car, or onto the back of your average yak, whichever is your local mode of transport!
Yurt ribs are the long pieces which fasten to the top of the trellis and are held in individual holes in the central wheel. These are also steam bent at one end. It is this curve which gives the yurt its distinctive shape and creates the extra headroom in a yurt. Yurts without this feature (mainly gers) tend to have less headroom and a totally different feel. To produce a rib, the wood is steamed and then clamped in a former to stabilise the shape. It is then hand sanded and oiled to bring out the beauty of the wood grain and to create a durable, water-resistant finish.
Doorways are built into the trellis to give structure and strength and all doors are made of local hardwood. Using local wood is essential for us, as we can guarantee the longevity and quality of the finished product, giving you years of trouble free enjoyment. Doors and windows can be of any design. The yurt at Occombe, for instance, has two opening windows whilst the yurt at The Quiet View near Canterbury (below right) has gothic arched doors and window, The picture shows the yurt being installed onto the special floor designed to help create an indoor labyrinth.