Platform Construction

by jean-paul | January 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM | categories: yurt, building, vermont | View Comments

Over the last week we've gotten a whole lot done on the yurt - in fact, the platform is almost completely done.

In the last post, Jericho mentioned we're building 13 "pie pieces" to use as the yurt platform. Here's a visual aid to help explain that:

We made twelve of these out of twelve sheets of plywood. They're eight feet long and four feet wide at the base. Jericho used a circular saw and a track to cut triangles out of the plywood:

jericho cutting out the last piece

Then we screwed 1x4s onto the edges, and a couple more pieces in the middle to provide additional support:

After cutting a triangle out of a piece of plywood, there are two pieces left that can be combined into another triangle of the same size. We'll use those pieces to cover the opposite (bottom) side of each pie piece.

Twelve of these don't quite make a complete platform, though. We need one more, but it doesn't come out to be the same size as the others. To determine how big to make the last piece, we loaded up the first twelve on Jim's truck and brought them to Newark school's multipurpose room (it's not just a gym!):

loaded into the truck

At the school, we set up the platform and measured the size of the gap:

assembled at the school

Then we loaded them all back up, brought them back to the garage, and assembled the final piece. Now we have all 13 pieces of the platform.


We still need to do a few things to each of these. We're insulating them with dense-pack cellulose, so we need to cover the open side, blow the cellulose in, and then screw on the remaining pieces of plywood. The plan is to take care of those steps this week - and then the platform will be completely done!

Cellulose seems like a pretty awesome insulation material. Dense-pack has an R-value around 3.8 per inch (we're doing 4 inches, so our floor will have an R-value of around 15, plus whatever minimal contribution the plywood makes), plus it remains effective at sub-freezing temperatures (whereas fiberglass loses some of its effectiveness). The cellulose is 100% recycled newspaper, it's much less expensive than most other kinds of insulation (partially because much, much less energy is needed to make it), and it's a lot safer to work with and be around than some of the alternatives. Plus, blowing it into the platform pieces requires playing with a big machine.

Concurrently with all of that, we've actually gotten a bit of snowfall and accumulation here in the Northeast Kingdom:

snowing quite a bit

It actually feels like winter most days now. Of course, it was nice when it warmed up a bit, since most of the garage where we're working is unheated. Fortunately the next step of yurt construction mostly involves working in Jim's heated workshop, so we can appreciate the snow and not freeze our fingers.

We've also been working on the khana, cutting the lattice pieces and drilling holes in them.

me drilling holes

The longest pieces are nine feet six inches and need nine holes drilled them (for a total number of holes somewhere around 500 - thank goodness for power tools). We diverged from the original plan a bit to make the walls seven feet tall, so we've had to figure out the number and size of these pieces ourselves (a task involving a lot of graph paper, calculators, and time). We're converging on a final design, so now we just have a lot more cutting and drilling to do.

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