A video about the CampingYurts.com, the family business of instructor Richard Waters.

Portland Learn to Build Your Own Camping Yurt

A Yurt is one of the most appealing and attractive of shelters. Born out of the need for a lightweight, portable shelter, they became home for the nomadic, high desert dwelling people of Mongolia.
The modern permanent yurts you now see in State Parks and campgrounds are the West’s re-invention of the classic yurt, but a Camping Yurt on the other hand, is a return to those age-old traditions.
Being lightweight and portable, a camping yurt can be loaded onto the smallest of car roof racks and are perfect for camping, or temporary accommodation in the back yard. 

The one day workshop will provide you all the information knowledge and skills necessary to build your own camping yurt. It will be a hands-on, experience, with guidance from Richard Waters of Camping Yurts, the class will make and set-up a yurt in a day. You will even get your own set of plans to take home with you.

We cover the different types of yurt , their design features, structure, sizes and construction. We look at the different sources of wood that can be used; new lumber, reclaimed, coppice and even pine saplings. We discuss the positives and negatives associate with all of them and how each is used differently.
The class learns how to make all the parts; roof poles, lattice wall sections and door frame. The roof wheel is always the centerpiece of a yurt and we look at the various methods of making one depending on the available wood, tools and equipment.

No particular woodworking skills are necessary – it’s all basic stuff!  All materials and hand tools are provided, just bring some leather gloves, a chair and a hat if sunny. You will learn to use the high technology of the 14th Century in the form of a Shave Horse which was in common use in the middle ages for all kinds of wood craft.

The Class

Through a mixture of hands on activities and presentation students develop a basic foundation of wilderness survival and primitive skills. Our goal is to have you complete the class and be well on our way to more advanced work.

Learn to Build Your Own Camping Yurt

Contact Us
Ages Adult $125
TBA 9am-5pm
The Trackers Homestead, Sandy, Oregon
Please Note This is a learning workshop. You do not take home an actual camping yurt but you develop the skills and receive plans to build your own.

Ages Adult Wilderness Survival & Primitive Skills Basics includes

Introduction: Discussion on Yurts We look at the different types of yurts, their design features, structure, sizes, construction methods and the plans for the yurt we are about to build.

Putting up a Yurt Before we start any woodwork, we put up a yurt and look at the various parts. This helps everyone get a clearer picture of the parts they are about to make.

Wood Selection Wood to make a camping yurt can come from  many sources, new lumber, reclaimed wood, coppice and even pine saplings. We discuss the benefits of each and how they are used differently.

Lattice Wall: Preparation Although students will not be using a table saw or machinery, they will learn how to rip lumber to get the most from the different types of wood available. The workshop provides pre cut wall laths which will require sanding, edging and hole drilling.

Assembling Wall Sections The laths are now assembled in a crisscross pattern to make two wall sections. Rope is used to secure all the intersections.

Making a Door Frame There are several ways to make a door frame. Each is discussed and the class makes the simplest door frame.

Roof Poles Pre cut roof poles require some finishing in the form of tapering one end, rounding the other, sanding and rounding edges and drilling holes. Modern tools can really speed up this process, but for the workshop, a Shave Horse and spoke shave is used.

Roof Wheel We discuss the various methods of making a roof wheel depending on the tools and equipment available.  Explanations on steam bending a single piece of green wood to laminating multiple layers are covered. For the workshop, the class will make a block and plywood design which is the simplest and most cost effective method without the need for building a steam box, special molds or the use of more specialized tools.

Canvas Cover Sewing a canvas requires an industrial sewing machine and so it isn't practical for most to even attempt this.  Explanations are given on how to position the canvas on the yurt to cut and sew in the most economic way. Traditional alternatives are shown on how to utilize tarps and ex military canvas to cover a yurt frame. Tying down the canvas is also an import area that is covered.

Final set-up Having made all the yurt parts, we now set it up. We cover all the little tips and tricks that make setting up a yurt easy.

Accessorizing the Yurt Ideas inventions, gadgets and neat furnishings for the yurt.

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