Building a Yurt Floor, Part Three

Yesterday was a big day for trips to town. I woke up early, and was able to get on the road before Donna and Kenny were even awake yet.

I managed to get back to Home Depot and loaded up with the remainder of the insulation, as well as the plywood to go on the bottom of the yurt floors to prevent insects and rodents from entering. It was nice that the rain held off.

I checked out the options for flooring on top of the joists, and returned to Mummu and Grandpa’s with the knowledge that OSB was $13 a sheet, tongue and groove plywood was $23 a sheet, and good one side plywood was $45 a sheet.

Donna quickly researched OSB, as the price definitely put it into the front running. After determining that it would suit, I headed back to town to lighten my wallet even further.

I took the chance to stop in at some of the woodstove shops in town as well, and was pretty chagrined to learn the prices and involvement in setting up a woodstove now. It was much more involved than I expected, and the prices that I was quoted were truly sobering.

I next stopped at ToolTown, which is Thunder Bay’s answer to KW Surplus.

It was timely, they had on sale tarps, of which I needed three. One to cover the tent (it had a number of small holes in the roof), and two to cover the yurt floors as we constructed them. It’s been a very wet week, and there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight.

They also had on sale their utility trailers. Again, timely, as I had already decided to purchase one to use on the homestead behind the tractor. I purchased the larger one, after having observed just how much we had stressed Grandpa’s smaller trailer.

Next I hit up Home Depot to get the OSB. 13 sheets of very heavy 4 by 8 sheets. It took me quite some time to get served there, and then to find someone to help me load it. Luckily I had bought the tarps first, as the rain began to pour down just as I began loading the wood. I tried to cover it in tarps as best I could, and then strapped it down as best I could, and took off for home at a conservative pace.

I knew that we were having roast beef for supper, and was in the mood to have horseradish on it, so I stopped at Arby’s on the way home to score some of their packets. I didn’t feel comfortable going through the drive through, and wanted to take the opportunity of stopping to check the load anyway. I was very weirded out as I walked to the front entrance – the restaurant was nearly full, and everyone, and I mean everyone, turned and watched as I walked to the entrance, entered, and walked to the cashier to order. I suppose they had a very exclusive, very regular clientele that didn’t see strangers very often. Then again, perhaps I still feel like a bit of a stranger in a new city.

The rain let up a bit when I got back, and Grandpa was kind enough to help me unload the OSB. Once that was done, we began to work together to assemble the trailer.

The rain returned, and I installed a reinforcing bar upside down. Upon realizing my mistake, Grandpa took that chance to head to the house. I stayed out, and Donna was kind enough to bring me a warm tea and stay with me to keep me company while I tried to assemble as much as possible in what had by now become a downpour.

I managed to get much of the trailer assembled, except for the rear panel, before the supper bell rang. That was enough for me for one day.

This morning I again tried to be up in good time, and headed back down to finish the trailer. I moved one group of bolts for the third time, cursing the assembly instructions which were actually just a parts list. In the meantime, Grandpa was off checking to see the condition of his driveway, and picking out a tree to fell to use as edging on the yurt floor.

The official Yurta instructions called for plywood to be ripped and curved around the outside edge of the yurt floor. I had noticed that my green lumber, when sliced thin, was terrifically flexible yet strong. I decided to improvise and use my own lumber, rather than purchase more plywood, for this purpose.

Grandpa felled another Jackpine quite close to the sawmill, and he used the tractor to get it up onto the skidway.

The butt of the log supplied enough slabs to completely enclose the circumference of the larger yurt – so I quit sawing right then.

I had marked out the large yurt to cut off the excess on the ends, and was disturbed to find that some of my stringers were too close to the end, and had to be removed and replaced further from the circumference. I’d suggest that one could use a tape measure and pencil and mark out the circumference before putting in the stringers, to ensure that they were far enough back that they wouldn’t get cut.

After moving the stringers, first tried my circular saw to cut the ends. I know that a hard core carpenter could likely have done the job with a handsaw, but my skills just aren’t up to that yet. I couldn’t get the circular saw to do more than score the ends of the joists anyway, and so I resorted to an elegant solution – I fired up my brand new Stihl MS170, and put the job behind me in just a few moments. I’m definitely going to keep in mind the chainsaw in applications like this in the future – it worked a right charm!

Once the ends were bevelled correctly, Kenny and I grabbed my cordless drill and driver, as well as my cordless circular saw, and made quick work of cladding the ends with a 3/8″ thick band of pine. This provided really surprising structural support – serving to level off the ends of joists to a remarkable degree. Once finished, it looked totally awesome!

I disconnected the four sections, and then realized that my count of cladding for the ends was woefully short – I forgot that I had to put on two layers of the cladding! I returned to the sawmill, and was able to slice up about 16 more slabs within an hour.

It’s really remarkable how you can just picture what you need, and, with the sawmill, have it ready to go in such a short time.

Kenny and Donna and I managed to slide the large yurt floor about a foot off of its beams, making room to flip over half of the smaller yurt floor, and I arranged it on its own beams. I screwed the two halves together temporarily, and again, with Kenny’s help, managed to mark out most of the circumference of the circle. First thing tomorrow morning, I get to fire up the Stihl again, and trim things.

Grandpa is ready to hook up my new trailer and use it to begin transporting the plywood to the yurt site.

We’ll have to see what exactly the weather permits us to accomplish.


4 thoughts on “Building a Yurt Floor, Part Three”

  1. That Yurt floor looks amazing buddy! That's so cool that you milled it all too! Very impressive. It's so huge too! You could have some fun square dances on that floor….er, round dances ; )
    Hey, I think it's about time your photographer appear in some photos too don't you? Don't hog all of the glory! 😉 Miss you guys!

  2. I will let my photographer know you said so… Kenny deserves all the glory! He's the most photogenic of all.


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