The Lesser Known Tools of Yurt Makers (or any woodworker for that matter).

Yurt Makers and their tools…

Everyone knows of the saw and the drill, but, unless you are a wood-worker, you may not have you heard of a Billhook, an Adze or a Draw Knife?

(null)
The Billhook is used by yurt makers to chop the small side branches off coppiced trees, and is also often used to chop back shrubby undergrowth.

(null)
I prefer a billhook to an axe for chopping small logs and kindling, maybe because the longer blade gives you more chance of striking the wood.

(null)
When making a coppiced yurt, yurt makers need to peel all those poles and a Draw Knife is the best tool for the job: much easier than a simple knife. It’s a flat blade which is held between two handles and pulled towards you, also great for peeling tipi poles.

(null)
Our favourite draw knife is a really small, light one which we found many years ago in a tool stall in a market in Mostar, Bosnia.

For my first yurt frame, we cut a big ash tree then shaped the wood for the door and the wheel with an adze.
An adze is an ancient tool, similar to an axe but with the blade perpendicular to the shaft, like a garden hoe. A foot adze is usually held with both hands and swung between the legs, as you stand astride the wood.

(null)
http://admiralavtomaty.com/novomatic-besplatno/aztec-treasure/

Spirits Intent Yurt Covers

Perfect yurt coverWe have been sewing Yurt Covers in our way for many years and have never really written about how we do it and what makes us special. So here goes…

The main thing that makes us different from other yurt makers is that we usually make our yurt covers without seeing the frame. “So how do we do this”?, you may ask. Well it is a fine art that we have refined and fine tuned over the years, and have now made (literally) hundreds of canvas and felt yurt covers in this way.

Yurt covers

It is an ancient recipe starting with a measurement sheet which we send to be completed by the yurt owner, with lots of clear instructions to ensure the process is idiot-proof (although there have been a few cases…). We then add lots of circle geometry, a bit of algebra, Pythagoras theorem and sometimes some trigonometry, before getting out our amazing Vietnamese scissors to start cutting the canvas, the webbing, the cord and all those little bits and pieces which make our yurt covers so delicious.

Making yurt covers on siteTop quality canvas is an important ingredient in the pot. We usually make our yurt covers from 12oz polycotton canvas which is flame, water and rot-proofed, and have worked with the UK’s canvas proofers to raise the ‘water head’ (level of water proofing).

And we make our yurt linings with a really snuggly wool felt.

We have two trusty sewing machines, both walking foots (feet?) which means that the heavy fabric is always held tight from slipping. One is a Durkopp-Adler, and the other a Seiko. The Durkopp is the Rolls Royce of sewing machines (which means a tiny screw can cost £75), and is fast, good for the long stretches. It can also sew through a surprising number of canvas layers. The Seiko is better for detailed work like windows and it is lighter to move around so is the one that usually goes out on missions.

Yurt cover sewing machine

Sewing yurt covers
Windows are nice in the yurt covers: as our late friend, Bill Coperthwaite used to say ‘there is something indescribable about the view through a round window’ and I would also recommend opening ones, which we used to do only rectangular, until we worked out that a round hole with a rectangular PVC opening bit was much easier and nicer etc

Window in yurt cover

Round yurt window
…and we like doing decorative details..it makes life interesting.

Coloured yurt coversWe decided a few years back that it was time to share our secrets with the world so we wrote ‘The Yurt Cover Sewing Course’ which reveals all tricks of our trade.

It is always a lovely moment when the cover is all packed in the bag, and ready to be picked up by our latest friendly courier. As we make our yurt covers at a distance, we don’t usually get to see them up, so it’s good when customers send us photos and feedback. We will always hear when something is wrong, but not always when things go right. It’s often a case of needing to hold the intent until we get the thumbs up.

Yurt cover bag
Now, once again the wild Easter sewing rush has begun, so we have sharpened the scissors and got our thimbles out to be ready for the storm….

Yurt Cover tools

Europe’s best mountains

I have been travelling for almost 20 years, mostly in Europe, but elsewhere too, I have a love for the mountains because people tend to be more open and hospitable, and much simpler, so I have traveled through quite a few ranges over the years.

Driving through the Apennines was a real voyage of wonder for me, here was a long range of mountains going through my favourite country in Europe and they are….. amazing, and I never new about it, thinking them to be a little range of hills.
IMG_2435.JPG

We drove into the mountains just after Assisi, famous for St. Francis,
Instead of going up to chiusi della verna (where he got his stigmata wounds), like we did last time we came here.
We chose to continue down the road a little and enter into the mountain there.

IMG_2436.JPG

Reaching the mountain top I was amazed by some of the scenes, like the grand plane (piano grande) in the south of the monte sibilini national park. The scenery looked as if it could be in Mongolia, with horses roaming free and open grassy planes with Shepards walking their flocks, although the distinctive hill top village was looking like something out of the Middle Ages and very European.

IMG_2437.JPG

IMG_2438.JPG

We left Umbria at Forca di presta, another amazing mountain overlooking the hills, covered with hardwoods.

We entered Abruzzo by Lago di campotosto, back in the UK this would be a tourist hot spot, here it is quiet and on it’s own, the snowy cap of the gran Sasso mountains can be seen and one starts to appreciate the diversity of Abruzzo, with it’s high mountains and national parks it is becoming one of my favourites, very slow and very spectacular.

All in all the mountains here are such a wealth, it’s Northern Europe nestled inside the meditarenian, so one can walk through beech forests one minute and be next to cane and fennel the other, from broad oaks to fig trees, it’s got it all, with wild goats, and deer, and even a few bears, and of course plenty of wild boar.

IMG_2440.JPG

IMG_2439.JPG

IMG_2444.JPG

Live-in trucks

We have moved into the trucks again.
The lovely long summer seems to have come to a finish the moment we put the stove flashing in place. An almost frosty morning, as if the weather has been waiting for us to be ready. I say ‘as if’ because some people do not believe in having a working relationship with the weather, so this is for you. Do not be offended, after all the Welsh love it when it does not rain.
IMG_1874.JPG

Having just been to the Overland Adventure Show, it was interesting to see how others convert their live-in vehicles, how other people like to travel: there seems to be more travel focus than living focus for most.
Sitting in 6 wheel Land Rover Defenders that have more kit I would dare jam in a full size truck.
I guess people like their gadgets. I like having space, and a stove and a cabin-like feeling. I think we only really feel at home, on some level, in the trucks so we keep them home like, with loads of wood all around.

Some Live-in trucks from the show

IMG_1201.JPGIMG_1183.JPGIMG_1195.JPG

IMG_1164.JPG

IMG_1202-0.JPG

Open Fire Yurt II: Flames Within, Flames Without

 

Our open fire yurt, based on a yurt of the Firuzkhui from northern Afghanistan, finally went to its rightful/leftful keeper. So we moved it to let it go on…

The bottom picture shows the yurt in its new home and the one above it is a true yurt. *The word ‘yurt’ comes from a Turkic word which means the imprint left on the ground by a moved ‘yurt’ (the round tent with vertical trellis walls and conical roof), and extends to meaning  a person’s homeland.  In modern Turkish the word “yurt” is used for a homeland or a dormitory. It has become used in many other languages as the tent-like dwelling which we all know and love.

open fire yurt

 

 

 

open fire in a yurt

Canvas roof and felt walls

 

yurt felt

Just the under clothes

 

A little lizard living under the canvas

A little lizard living on the felt under the canvas

 

yurt felt

Felt coming off

 

afghan yurt

 

afghan yurt frame

 

 

yurt frame

 

 

a yurt

 

 

fire in a yurt

 

Blog | Spirits Intent - Part 3

The Lesser Known Tools of Yurt Makers (or any woodworker for that matter).

Yurt Makers and their tools…

Everyone knows of the saw and the drill, but, unless you are a wood-worker, you may not have you heard of a Billhook, an Adze or a Draw Knife?

(null)
The Billhook is used by yurt makers to chop the small side branches off coppiced trees, and is also often used to chop back shrubby undergrowth.

(null)
I prefer a billhook to an axe for chopping small logs and kindling, maybe because the longer blade gives you more chance of striking the wood.

(null)
When making a coppiced yurt, yurt makers need to peel all those poles and a Draw Knife is the best tool for the job: much easier than a simple knife. It’s a flat blade which is held between two handles and pulled towards you, also great for peeling tipi poles.

(null)
Our favourite draw knife is a really small, light one which we found many years ago in a tool stall in a market in Mostar, Bosnia.

For my first yurt frame, we cut a big ash tree then shaped the wood for the door and the wheel with an adze.
An adze is an ancient tool, similar to an axe but with the blade perpendicular to the shaft, like a garden hoe. A foot adze is usually held with both hands and swung between the legs, as you stand astride the wood.

(null)
http://admiralavtomaty.com/novomatic-besplatno/aztec-treasure/

Spirits Intent Yurt Covers

Perfect yurt coverWe have been sewing Yurt Covers in our way for many years and have never really written about how we do it and what makes us special. So here goes…

The main thing that makes us different from other yurt makers is that we usually make our yurt covers without seeing the frame. “So how do we do this”?, you may ask. Well it is a fine art that we have refined and fine tuned over the years, and have now made (literally) hundreds of canvas and felt yurt covers in this way.

Yurt covers

It is an ancient recipe starting with a measurement sheet which we send to be completed by the yurt owner, with lots of clear instructions to ensure the process is idiot-proof (although there have been a few cases…). We then add lots of circle geometry, a bit of algebra, Pythagoras theorem and sometimes some trigonometry, before getting out our amazing Vietnamese scissors to start cutting the canvas, the webbing, the cord and all those little bits and pieces which make our yurt covers so delicious.

Making yurt covers on siteTop quality canvas is an important ingredient in the pot. We usually make our yurt covers from 12oz polycotton canvas which is flame, water and rot-proofed, and have worked with the UK’s canvas proofers to raise the ‘water head’ (level of water proofing).

And we make our yurt linings with a really snuggly wool felt.

We have two trusty sewing machines, both walking foots (feet?) which means that the heavy fabric is always held tight from slipping. One is a Durkopp-Adler, and the other a Seiko. The Durkopp is the Rolls Royce of sewing machines (which means a tiny screw can cost £75), and is fast, good for the long stretches. It can also sew through a surprising number of canvas layers. The Seiko is better for detailed work like windows and it is lighter to move around so is the one that usually goes out on missions.

Yurt cover sewing machine

Sewing yurt covers
Windows are nice in the yurt covers: as our late friend, Bill Coperthwaite used to say ‘there is something indescribable about the view through a round window’ and I would also recommend opening ones, which we used to do only rectangular, until we worked out that a round hole with a rectangular PVC opening bit was much easier and nicer etc

Window in yurt cover

Round yurt window
…and we like doing decorative details..it makes life interesting.

Coloured yurt coversWe decided a few years back that it was time to share our secrets with the world so we wrote ‘The Yurt Cover Sewing Course’ which reveals all tricks of our trade.

It is always a lovely moment when the cover is all packed in the bag, and ready to be picked up by our latest friendly courier. As we make our yurt covers at a distance, we don’t usually get to see them up, so it’s good when customers send us photos and feedback. We will always hear when something is wrong, but not always when things go right. It’s often a case of needing to hold the intent until we get the thumbs up.

Yurt cover bag
Now, once again the wild Easter sewing rush has begun, so we have sharpened the scissors and got our thimbles out to be ready for the storm….

Yurt Cover tools

Europe’s best mountains

I have been travelling for almost 20 years, mostly in Europe, but elsewhere too, I have a love for the mountains because people tend to be more open and hospitable, and much simpler, so I have traveled through quite a few ranges over the years.

Driving through the Apennines was a real voyage of wonder for me, here was a long range of mountains going through my favourite country in Europe and they are….. amazing, and I never new about it, thinking them to be a little range of hills.
IMG_2435.JPG

We drove into the mountains just after Assisi, famous for St. Francis,
Instead of going up to chiusi della verna (where he got his stigmata wounds), like we did last time we came here.
We chose to continue down the road a little and enter into the mountain there.

IMG_2436.JPG

Reaching the mountain top I was amazed by some of the scenes, like the grand plane (piano grande) in the south of the monte sibilini national park. The scenery looked as if it could be in Mongolia, with horses roaming free and open grassy planes with Shepards walking their flocks, although the distinctive hill top village was looking like something out of the Middle Ages and very European.

IMG_2437.JPG

IMG_2438.JPG

We left Umbria at Forca di presta, another amazing mountain overlooking the hills, covered with hardwoods.

We entered Abruzzo by Lago di campotosto, back in the UK this would be a tourist hot spot, here it is quiet and on it’s own, the snowy cap of the gran Sasso mountains can be seen and one starts to appreciate the diversity of Abruzzo, with it’s high mountains and national parks it is becoming one of my favourites, very slow and very spectacular.

All in all the mountains here are such a wealth, it’s Northern Europe nestled inside the meditarenian, so one can walk through beech forests one minute and be next to cane and fennel the other, from broad oaks to fig trees, it’s got it all, with wild goats, and deer, and even a few bears, and of course plenty of wild boar.

IMG_2440.JPG

IMG_2439.JPG

IMG_2444.JPG

Live-in trucks

We have moved into the trucks again.
The lovely long summer seems to have come to a finish the moment we put the stove flashing in place. An almost frosty morning, as if the weather has been waiting for us to be ready. I say ‘as if’ because some people do not believe in having a working relationship with the weather, so this is for you. Do not be offended, after all the Welsh love it when it does not rain.
IMG_1874.JPG

Having just been to the Overland Adventure Show, it was interesting to see how others convert their live-in vehicles, how other people like to travel: there seems to be more travel focus than living focus for most.
Sitting in 6 wheel Land Rover Defenders that have more kit I would dare jam in a full size truck.
I guess people like their gadgets. I like having space, and a stove and a cabin-like feeling. I think we only really feel at home, on some level, in the trucks so we keep them home like, with loads of wood all around.

Some Live-in trucks from the show

IMG_1201.JPGIMG_1183.JPGIMG_1195.JPG

IMG_1164.JPG

IMG_1202-0.JPG

Open Fire Yurt II: Flames Within, Flames Without

 

Our open fire yurt, based on a yurt of the Firuzkhui from northern Afghanistan, finally went to its rightful/leftful keeper. So we moved it to let it go on…

The bottom picture shows the yurt in its new home and the one above it is a true yurt. *The word ‘yurt’ comes from a Turkic word which means the imprint left on the ground by a moved ‘yurt’ (the round tent with vertical trellis walls and conical roof), and extends to meaning  a person’s homeland.  In modern Turkish the word “yurt” is used for a homeland or a dormitory. It has become used in many other languages as the tent-like dwelling which we all know and love.

open fire yurt

 

 

 

open fire in a yurt

Canvas roof and felt walls

 

yurt felt

Just the under clothes

 

A little lizard living under the canvas

A little lizard living on the felt under the canvas

 

yurt felt

Felt coming off

 

afghan yurt

 

afghan yurt frame

 

 

yurt frame

 

 

a yurt

 

 

fire in a yurt