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Bjurt Projects

Bjurt Yurts - Documentation - Setup

Tools you will need: If you are using pins and clips, then depending on your technique and finger strength, you might find a pair of needlenose pliers useful; if using nuts and bolts, you will need 2 socket wrenches; if using screws and nuts, a screwdriver and a socket wrench. A small hammer is handy for driving or knocking loose pins which might have gotten slightly bent and other similar acts of percussive maintenance. A step stool or ladder, depending on the size of bjurt and height of worker, may be necessary. For staking down the bjurt, you will need a small (three pound) sledge hammer, crow bar, and 8 stakes. Playa staples and candy cane rebar are both good stake choices for windy conditions.

The number of people required to erect a bjurt depends on the bjurt size and on weather conditions. A small bjurt on a calm day may be built by one person. A large bjurt will require a minimum of two, and more if it is windy. Always, the more the merrier.

The setup steps are illustrated with two builds: 17' bjurt with tarp roof on the left, and 10' bjurt with custom canvas cover on the right.

  1. The bjurt starts as a bundle, with the vertical and horizontal braces in separate bundles. If the top flanges have been pinned together at their wingtips for storage, undo those connections.

  2. Set the bjurt on its feet in the center of the area you wish it to cover and unfold it by walking it out. All persons helping with this step should position themselves roughly equidistant from each other around the bjurt, each grasp the poles of a cross piece near the center, slightly lift, then all together slowly walk out from the center. Stop when the cross bars are perpendicular. Do not worry about getting the size exactly right at this point. Even if only two people will complete the remaining steps, it is helpful to borrow several friends to accomplish this step quickly, especially in the case of a large bjurt. However, it is also possible to walk the bjurt out with two people, by walking it out a small way, setting it down, grasping a cross piece 90 degrees from the last one, walking the bjurt out another small way, repeat.
  3. Decide which panel(s) will be the door(s). You may decide on one door or two, to provide cross ventilation. Consider the direction of prevailing winds and the direction of sunrise. Ensure there is at least one wall panel separating the door panels.
  4. Attach all the vertical braces at the bjurt feet only, laying the braces down to the side for now. Note that braces attach to the outside of the foot (unlike the cross pieces).
  5. The next step will be positioning the roof, which will act as a sail in windy conditions. If this is a concern, stake down the upwind corner of the bjurt first.

  6. For large bjurts, put the roof on at this point; for small bjurts, you can throw the roof on later. If winds are high this step requires several people to control the roof. If using a square tarp, line up the corners of the tarp with four cross pieces none of which is slated to be the bjurt door. Attach these corners with ball bungees. In high winds, also attach the next set of grommets from the corner grommet.

  7. Assign one person to raise the center ring with a pole. If your ring is capped configuration (most likely), hook the pole onto the nut on the ring's bottom. If the ring is flow-through, use the provided fork. For most people a horizontal brace pole is long enough for this task, but if the person is short a longer pole may be necessary. Raise the roof slowly. The walls are going to move a bit as this happens, and other people should guide the walls to make sure stresses stay well distributed.

  8. While the roof raiser remains in place, everyone else should attach the tops of the vertical braces to the outsides of the top flanges, working far apart from each other so support is added evenly. The roof raiser may need to push up or let down the ring slightly to adjust alignment and allow the others to finish their task.
  9. At some point the vertical supports will be enough to hold up the roof and the roof raiser can remove his pole.
  10. Check that the roof is attached firmly enough given the wind conditions and that the structure is sufficiently staked down so it does not need constant supervision.
  11. Attach the horizontal braces to the outsides of the top flange wings.
  12. Remove the cross piece(s) from the door panel(s).

  13. Stake down all the corners.
  14. Finish attaching the roof.
  15. Attach the walls.

Teardown proceeds much as erection in reverse. No person with a pole is necessary to man the roof as it falls, but be aware that as you remove vertical supports, at some point the roof will come down. In high winds, unhook the upwind side of the roof and let the wind help carry that half over the top of the bjurt, then unhook the downwind side and remove.

You might want to print out the one-page erection instruction sheet and keep it with your bjurt.

This page Copyright © bender (Tom Roden) 2011.  Please send questions or comments to: