Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fitting the Canvas Roof

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
The yurt roof cover being fitted.

It finally got sunny outside and dry enough to take the yurt out and fit the canvas cover that I made almost one month ago. It started out flat - a bunch of 36" wide strips of canvas sewn together, so that when brought to a cone shape, there would be just enough overlapping material to cover the roof. I used Paul King's book and his 12 foot yurt patterns, although I didn't like following his measurements. If anybody is making their yurt roof canvas following his pattern, be aware that some dimensions are missing, and that you will have to make some of the strips considerable longer (he only marks the shortest dimensions). WARNING! Make sure you look hard and think about each strip before you cut. I almost screwed up.

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Don't look at my butt!

When fitting the roof material, you have to allow the shortest section to come right above the door. That's where the fabric comes and overlaps. That's where we pinned the overlapping flaps together with safety pins so that we could keep the roof on tight. It helped that it wasn't windy at all. It turned out a very nice, sunny, warm, and wind-free afternoon. We got lucky!

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Romy pinning some of the canvas in place.

You might also notice that there is an excess of fabric hanging off the sides. Not all of this is needed, but I am going to save about 8" to make a roof band. The band will have two layers, one to protect the side of the yurt when it rains, and the other flap to attach the yurt wall canvas to. I decided to go with the method that Colorado Yurt CO uses, which is to attach the yurt wall canvas directly to the roof instead of the khana (lattice wall). This makes the roof line tighter because there is an even weight always pulling down on the roof. The grommet work and ropes that connect the wall canvas to the roof canvas will be hidden by the flap of roof band that also serves to protect the the top of the walls from rain.

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Inside the yurt.

After pinning everything, I also had to mark out where the crown was, so that the fabric all bunched up on the top could be cut away, allowing a nice hole for the crown. I will later integrate a bug screen in the crown so that we can keep the crown 'open' but keep the bugs out. I will also make a removable rain cover for the crown, which can be thrown over the crown to keep the rain out (or keep extra heat in).

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
The characteristic rainbow arc, created by the seams of the roof canvas.

If you use the strips of canvas pattern, made popular by Paul King, you will find these beautiful rainbow arcs that are created by the seams in the canvas, where each strip was connected to the next. If your seams are tight and straight, it looks awesome! Some yurt companies make custom roof covers which have an insert of heavy duty clear plastic instead of one of the canvas strips, so it looks like you have a rainbow of sky!

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Jenn noting some measurements/dimensions.

When we built the roof this time, almost all of our poles fit how they should, so we got it in the circle shape better. Our roof angle ended up being 35 degrees exactly. The canvas roof cut off angle ended up being between 110 degrees and 112 degrees. Paul King suggests 117 degrees in his pattern, but this must correspond to a roof angle closer to 30 degrees or so. Since we had a slightly higher angled roof, our cone must be tighter, hence the smaller cut off angle.

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Canvas material all bunched up over the crown.

At the park that we built the yurt, Robert's Regional Park in Oakland, the rangers and the managers already know us! The first time we came there, last month, the rangers and other park patrol people kept talking to us wondering what we were doing. But when we fit the canvas, they didn't bother us, except for the one manager on his golf cart (he didn't bother us, he just came to talk to us). He came as we were packing up, and was upset that he missed seeing the yurt up with the roof. He really liked the yurt, and told us that next time we come, we should let the rangers in the office know so that they can take pictures and put it up on the park website! Haha, my yurt will be famous!

Fitting Yurt Roof Cover
Marking the crown.


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