Cold Fingers, But Lots of Progress

by jericho | January 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM | categories: yurt, building, vermont | View Comments

I forgot how tiring working in the cold can be. At first, I was feeling very wimpy for being exhausted after a day spent using a power drill, but then Mom reminded me that my body is working hard just to keep warm all day (thanks Mom!). It is similar to that wonderful dreamy exhaustion that I always attribute to evenings after a day of downhill skiing, but even better because I know that I have gotten some really good work done. This week, that "really good work" was getting the platform done!

On Tuesday, Dad and I drove down to Varney and Smith's in Lisbon, NH (but basically in Littleton) to pick up the dense pack cellulose blower, a bunch of cellulose, and some insulweb fabric. The insulweb (which it turns out is pretty much exactly the same thing as agricultural fabric, or row cover) got stapled to the uncovered side of each platform piece (as shown below) so as to create a cavity that we could fill with insulation.

When one is attempting to install "dense pack" cellulose the idea is to pack in about 3.5lbs per cubic foot. The blower (big blue box shown above) didn't have any kind of button labelled "3.5lbs per cubic foot" and also didn't come with any kind of manual so Jean-Paul called the company to find out if there was anything special that we needed to do to make it do "dense pack" as opposed to something else. They said to just start it one third of the way open and see how that goes... Our best bet for something that could be "one third of the way open" was a bright orange metal piece toward the base of the machine that could slide in and out so we went with that.

Of course, that really only determined the rate at which the cellulose was leaving the machine and the only measure of how much we were actually getting into our platform was the "pressing down" measure. In other words, press down on it and see if it feels full enough. All a bit vague really.BUT, we did it!

Then we just had to put the final pieces of plywood over the top of the cellulose to seal it all in and voila! A yurt platform! Well, at least the segments for a platform. We will put it all together when we get ready to put up the yurt.

Speaking of which, in the midst of finishing up the platform we have also been making progress on our wall sections. This is where a part of my brain that has been relatively unused for the past 10 years or so was put to the test. In "The Complete Yurt Handbook" (which we have been using for much of our design) the wall sections for a 16 foot yurt are only 5 feet high. We envisioned much head bruising as a result of not stooping down quite far enough to get in the door so we decided to raise our walls to 7 feet. This meant not only longer full-length strips of wood, but also a different number of full-length strips and all different measurements for the shorter lengths as well. After much trigonometry and graphing we finally came up with some approximate measurements to test out. In the pictures below you can see how we laid out the lattice in order to check and see which strips needed to be longer or shorter.

Then we made a full cut list and on Thursday I was able to get all of the strips cut out. Now they just need to be drilled and then let the assembling begin!

With only one week left in January, it is looking like we won't quite finish this up by the end of the month, but we are getting close. With warmer temperatures forecast for Monday and Tuesday this week we should be able to get quite a bit done before JP heads to California for work. Now that our canvas has arrived (just yesterday!!) I will get that started next weekend and then hopefully we can set everything up when he gets back so that we can fit the canvas and put the finishing touches on our future home. Enjoy the winter weather everyone! -Jericho

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