Helping You to Get a Yurt

Searching for the least expensive, most direct, simple, sustainable yurt solutions, to bridge you from longing to living, in the yurt of your dreams

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Workshop At Two Rivers Rescheduled for May

The workshop at Two Rivers in September has been rescheduled for May 18, 19, 20, 2012. We will then build the 24 ft yurt kit and yurt in two days for Two Rivers.

This workshop has not got off the ground and will not happen.

For answers or questions call Martin at

Food Works at Two Rivers Center
64 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Telephone: 802-223-1515
Toll free outside Vermont: 800-310-1515
Fax: 802-229-5277

Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00AM-4:00PM

I am not sure what happen to precipitate this second and final cancellation. Maybe it was the loss of Brian to Two Rivers. I was counting on him to carry a full share of the teaching load. Maybe Two Rivers got bogged down with building codes in Montpelier for a classroom...sprinkler system etc. Maybe Two Rivers decided that they would rather try to run a yurt workshop on their own. Or with someone else. Good luck to that. This workshop was on the edge of the possible and would take a lot of work, knowledge and organization to get it up and finished. Here is some of what it would take:

How to build a 24 foot Pacific Yurt in a 2 day workshop (or in 4 weekends with friends):

  1. Measure, carefully, a 24 foot Pacific Yurt.
  2. Get 16 to 24 people and divide into 4 work groups. (or get 4 to 6 people and plan to work for 4 weekends).
  3. Rip wall rods from 2X lumber.
  4. Make door frame, or two door frames or two door frames and two windows (Two Rivers Plan).
  5. Join steel-cable tension-band with swag nuts and swag machine (or swag nuts and hammer).
  6. Cut rafters
  7. Cut and fit lumber of snow load support.
  8. Make platform (see yurt companies for on-line plans)
  9. Join and install wall rods (60/30 degree angle diamond shapes with 30 degree angles on top and bottom).
  10. Make roof ring
  11. Make plywood ring to hold plexiglass dome. Join together.
  12. Install roof ring and rafters, use hard hats during this part of process
  13. Sew wall cover and install
  14. Sew roof cover and install
  15. Install dome
  16. Hug each did it!
Good luck

Monday, August 29, 2011


Its time to step up or step back on the TWORIVERSCENTER.ORG WORKSHOP in September. Consider writing the email or making the phone call to commit right now. (The recent storm in Vermont has knocked out my phone service. Call Martin at 802-223-1515 to join class).

Your participation supports kids learning to grow and eat good food. Your participation earns you plans and a know-how on making a real great yurt.

Sometimes it's not about the money; it's about being alive enough to do the right thing. See previous posts at this site for details.

Felters' Fling 2011: Yurts and Fleece

At the recent Felters' Fling 2011 at Williamsburg, MA, students learned about the craft of yurt making by constructing models and covering them with felt. These homes may be the ultimate in cozy, warm and comfortable, and in green, low tech, sustainable, easy to build and fun construction.

Annemie Koenen instructs students in felt making and sewing felt covers. She is in absolute command of all of the wonderful things a single needle, hand stitching can do!

What the models represent at a 7.666 ratio of small to big. Don't you think the big one needs a felt cover? The likely name for the large one is "The Hobbit Yurt!"

HOO-RAH for the hard working students who made models. The time and work to make a model is at least equal to that required to make a full size ger/yurt.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is It Possible to Make a 24 Yurt In Two Days?!?

OK. Building a 24 foot yurt that has some semblance to a US yurt company yurt and putting it up in two days edges into the impossible. This is what we are planning to do to help Two Rivers Center replace the Pacific Yurt they lost in last spring's flood. What we are counting on is this:
  1. We have an experience of producing three 12 foot yurts in two days in classes at at Yestermorrow and Spirit Hollow. Building a 24 foot yurt will use the same techniques in a larger format.
  2. We are counting on decades of experience in materials based education to organize this effort. Building the 24 foot yurt will require more organizational work before students arrive and more efficient communication to students about what is needed when they are doing the work.
  3. We are counting on a slightly bigger class size (a minimum of 16 students rather than 12) to get this done.

Why would we do this?
  1. Two Rivers Center really needs the yurt replaced to provide classroom space for its program which is a very worthy one.
  2. To demonstrate that the impossible is possible...that an individual, with a group of friends, can make a very good yurt in a weekend.
Our economy invites us to get the job done, in a can-do, no nonsense way. People need yurts. With hard work yurts can be had in a short amount of time. To answer the the question, "Is it possible to make a 24 foot yurt in two days?" We hope to show in our workshop that the answer is "Yes."

To get involved as a student or as a donor supporting the program or the material cost of building the yurt contact:

Martin Kemple 802-223-1515

Fees are $200 per person. Group Discount of 10% for 5 or more people. A few work-study arrangements are available.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Workshop to Replace Yurt Lost My Two Rivers Center

So today, while hiking, eight miles downstream from Montpelier, I found pieces of wall rods from the Pacific Yurt that was washed away from Two River Center by a spring flood...a yurt that my upcoming yurt building workshop in September will replace....what's with that? Life is an interesting mystery sometimes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

DIY 24 Foot Yurt Workshop in September






$200 Total, Group discount 10% for 5 or More

To Register Leave Message of Interest with

Martin Kemple 802-223-1515


Bruce Sargent 802-839-8497

Register Early, Limited Class Size

See details at

Build a 24 foot yurt like this one in two days, from lumber yard wood and ordered canvas to frame and covering and set up

Food Works at Two Rivers Center was founded in 1987 to address the root causes of childhood hunger by returning students and their communities back to the land through hands-on food and gardening educational opportunities.

Food Works lost their 24 foot Pacific Yurt in last spring’s flood. Our workshop will help them replace the loss with a similar DIY yurt. After working to help students learn to make the most affordable yurt at Yestermorrow and Spirit Hollow, Bruce Sargent is taking a new direction in helping students make the most affordable code compliant, diy yurt kit, like those produced in the US yurt industry.

Yurts have sheltered people since Heradotus wrote histories 2000 years ago. With minimal woodworking skills, a home of complex and magical beauty can be made at an amazingly modest cost, (roughly one fifth of the cost of a Yurt kit). In this workshop, you will gain an experience that will allow you to make your own yurt of any size and any design. This course will lead you through building walls, door frames, rafters, roof rings, domes, tension bands and coverings. You will gain an experience that will allow you to make your own yurt that meets your needs and matches your dreams.

Bruce Sargent, workshop leader, has built yurts and authored books and articles on yurt building and led workshops and classes about building your own do-it-yourself yurt. He has sought the simplest and most direct methods of yurt construction to create designs that anyone can build. He has shared his studies in workshops in Vermont at Spirit Hollow, Yestermorrow, and Hunger Mountain Food Coop and at his blog The workshop will build a yurt in a magical two days, course work developed at Yestermorrow in two workshops last summer. Bruce has authored a book on yurt building, For Love of Yurts, Building an Ultra Simple Yurt for Under $1000, published by Shires Press in Manchester VT, a book that some reviewers have felt inspires those who long for a yurt to build one.

Workshop Objectives

To learn how to build a simple, green, sustainable, DIY, code compliant, snow and wind reinforced, 24 foot yurt
To learn simple power and hand woodworking skills necessary to build a yurt
To experience the magic of wall rods, under tension, shaping walls
To experience the joy of lifting the roof ring skyward and fitting rafters to ring and wall
To gain a knowledge that allows you to create your own yurt

Suggested Reading

King, Paul. The Complete Yurt Handbook. Eco-Logic Books,
Mulberry House. Maple Grove, Bath BA2 3AF, UK, 2007
Kuehn, Dan Frank, Mongolian Cloud Houses. How to Make a Yurt and Live
. Shelter Publications, PO Box 279, Bolinas, California 94924, 2006
Lokey, Charles. Practical Mathematics in Yurt Design; A Detailed Discussion Following
Project GRAD
Kenai Peninsula, Summer Learning Institute,, 2004
Sargent, Bruce W. For Love of Yurts, Building an Ultra Simple Yurt for Under $1000, Shires Press, 2009 Stronach, David. On the Antiquity of the Yurt: Evidence from Arjan and Elsewhere. University of California, Berkeley.

Materials to Bring

  • Hearing and eye protection
  • Hard hat, bike helmet or climbing helmet
  • Protective shoes
  • Tape measure
  • Hand drill, bits or cordless drill
  • Pencils
  • Note book
  • Calculator
  • Sleeping bag and mattress pad
  • Cup, bowl and spoon
  • Pot luck food

There are motels and restaurants in Montpelier a short drive from Two Rivers should you prefer more comfortable accommodations.

Course Outline

Friday evening check-in 6-6:30 PM

Friday Evening Class 6:30-8:30 PM

  • Sharing hopes and dreams, discussing the history of yurt designs, looking at the math behind the plans, learning of traditional practices, viewing the weekend schedule and considering safety demanded by the project.

Saturday Morning

  • Constructing wall rods, assembling into V's, and assembling V’s into wall sections
  • Constructing door framing and window framing

Saturday Afternoon

  • Constructing rafters
  • Constructing rafter supports
  • Constructing roof ring
  • Constructing dome fitting

Saturday Evening

  • Questions and answers discussion. A time for expanding individual experience that will lead to building one’s own yurt.

Sunday Morning

  • Cutting and joining covering materials
  • Raising the yurt frame

Sunday Afternoon

  • Covering the framework
  • Reflecting on that we have accomplished: the nearly impossible feat of making and putting up a yurt in two days, and the wonderful knowledge that hands-on, materials based education has provided for you. Finish at 4 PM

To save on costs meals (Breakfast 8-8:45, Lunch 12-12:45, Supper 5:30-6:15) are pot-luck, so plan accordingly. Simple is good here. Coolers are available. Classes are Mornings 9-12, Afternoons 1-4:30, Evenings 7:00-8:30. Overnight by camping in communal spaces, or in your own tent or by staying in nearby motels.

Register Early. Limited Class Size

To Register Leave Message of Interest with

Martin Kemple 802-223-1515


Bruce Sargent 802-839-8497