Jurta Refurbishing–A New Roof Ring

February 6, 2012

Jurta at nightWe haven’t had to do a lot of repairs to the jurta since my husband and I build it in 2000 despite a near catastrophic accident several years ago when the tension band gave out after the yurt was fully set up.  That resulted in a roof ring splitting out and a few broken ties on the jurta walls.  We repaired the roof ring with strapping tape.  Believe it or not, that repair held, ugly as it was, and it got us through another five years of camping.

For the last two years we’ve noticed that the leather ties on the khana wall were breaking and even though we replace them, it was becoming clear that the jurta needed refurbishing.  This past autumn, my husband undertook the jobs of building a new roof ring and retying all walls.

He had been researching options for roof rings for several years.  As a fine woodworking fan, he frequently peruses woodworking catalogs and websites for fun.  A few years ago, he bought a laminated table apron or skirt.  A table apron is the framing that secures the legs to a table top.  You can buy steam bent round table aprons and he thought that would make a pretty nice roof ring.

yurtringshippingThe first one he ordered was out of laminated wood and it set in the garage for several years until he finally gave it away to friends of ours that were building a yurt.  When he was ready to embark on this new project, he order a solid wood round table apron from tablelegs.com.  We have a pretty big yurt, so we ordered the 46 inch diameter apron in Oak.  We also ordered two sets of apron cleats.  We only needed one, but he wanted to have a backup.

It was shipped in a very large rectangular box.  When we unpacked it, the two apron halves were spooned together with the ends wrapped in newspaper to protect them.

The apron comes with pocket holes pre-drilled for screwing into the underside of the table, which we pretty much ignored since we’re not doing that.  They are only visible from the inside diameter.

To assemble the table apron/roof ring you butt the edges together and use the apron cleats to secure it.

ring ends secured.

The cleats come with pre-drilled holes which we did use. It helps to clamp the pieces securely when attaching the apron cleats.


My husband (the perfectionist) wants you to know that the ends won’t butt together invisibly.  Personally, I think that is pretty good.


Our roof poles have pins in the end.  Let me tell you, fitting a 1/8th inch pin on the end of a 9 foot pole into a hole in the dark is no easy feat.  For this new roof ring, my husband wanted bigger holes.  The holes are drilled at an angle and he used a counter-sink bit to widen the holes on the outside of the roof ring.


roofringassembled.It rains a lot where we’re from, so my husband treated the wood with a one step polyurethane gloss finish in “pecan” by Minwax.  He also used a Minwax pre-treatment solution before applying the polyurethane.  In the Conquest, they probably would have used boiled linseed oil or something similar if they treated it at all.

This is what the finished roof ring will look like.  The cross-pieces are domed which is an important feature when you have a ring this size.  The doming keeps water from pooling on the smoke hole cover.

To achieve the bent pieces, dowel was cut, soaked in water and formed in a jig (which happened to be my warping board).  I guess you use what you’ve got on hand.

To read about my jurta when we first built it back in 2000, check out this page.

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One Response to Jurta Refurbishing–A New Roof Ring

  1. Sasha
    February 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hmmm. The table apron looks awfully familiar…

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