i have a new yurt door!

i still have to paint it, and the screen door will be installed sometime this weekend, but my insecure, leaky sieve of a door has been replaced by a very sturdy solid-core door with a smaller window and much prettier frame.

the most exciting thing about this was that we pulled out the old door frame — a load-bearing piece of the yurt structure — and replaced it, with the yurt still standing around us. it didn’t even quiver! most successful.

here’s the door we removed:

which Matt is taking back for parts. he’s a great recycler, and will find new uses for every bit of it.

because the plan included removing a load-bearing structure, once we had the door itself out, we started by attaching the tension cable to itself with a heavy duty strap clamp, to maintain the tension between the roof and walls. my yurt has some additional structural features, such as L brackets around the base, and the central post of the chimney, which could take some weight as a load-bearing structure for the duration of the project, though it’s not really designed to do that for long periods. Nevertheless, the tension cable is critical to the yurt staying upright — without it, the roof would push too hard on the walls and splay them outwards and drop the whole thing (seriously; i’ve seen it happen). So we secured that first, with some trepidation — but the yurt did not so much as bat an eyelash. not a quiver from my solid little house.

having done that, Matt began to unscrew the kanas (lattice-walls) from the door frame on the interior, while I took apart the canvas from the external door frame, exposing the insulation and allowing us to remove the frame.

then we removed the door pole, the roof pole that attaches to the top of the door frame. Mine are not screwed into the hub, as they’re quite solidly socketed together and i’ve never had a need to do that, so we were able to wiggle it out like the giant tinker-toy that it is.

that done, Matt pulled the old frame out, and we walked the new frame over and hefted it into place.

the longest part of the afternoon involved getting that frame installed. Matt drilled counter-sink holes for the bolts into the frame (this happened at this stage, rather than earlier, so that they could be placed exactly where the kanas came together on this particular yurt — every yurt is slightly different, it’s the blessing of a hand-made house — it hasn’t a single standardized piece), and we screwed eye-bolts into the frame, then pushed the bolts for the kanas through the eyebolts and secured them. This took hours; it’s a very fiddly business, and there are 10 of them. If you were installing a new yurt, that did not already have insulation on it, this would go much faster.

then we spent another hour fussing with the tension cable. the thing is sized quite exactly for the circumference of the yurt, and we had changed it’s hardware, so we needed one more inch of length out of it on the south side. we had the slack on the north side, but that meant tugging the slack around the entire yurt to the other side. again, if this were a brand-new install, that would take mere moments, but instead, it’s been my bedroom for 3 years, and the kana tops are covered with hanging things. hats, coats, scarves, lights, jewelry, feathered masks, all manner of things. so those mostly had to move, while we clambered over and among the furniture to move our inch of slack around a 50′ circle. twice. then finally it hooked together!

here’s the whole thing.

with hardware detail, because construction is cool. :)

then we attached the hardware cloth to the frame, layering it in such a way that the hardware cloth is sandwiched between two layers of the door frame, making a smooth, invisible transition, and a thief-proof attachment. thief-proofing is the point of this stuff. we also fitted it onto the bolts that hold the kanas to the door.

then we put the frame together.

and, finally — we hung the door!

from the inside, before the weatherproof edging on the exterior was installed:

(and with the flash on)

isn’t it cute? here Matt is installing the knobs.

we had the edging on, knob and bolt installed, and weatherproofing in, all shortly before sundown. here’s what the new door looks like from the interior (note that we put the door-pole back on, which was blessedly simple and free from fiddly bits, the whole day having been made of fiddly bits):

isn’t it cute? it’s solid-core, and the window is too small for thieves to enter through. it’s also 4 inches taller, which means I can stand upright in the frame and not graze my head on the top, and the tall people have to duck much less than they did.

some cleaning and reorganization later:

somehow these photos don’t communicate how much *space* there is in here now. not because of the door, but because i moved all the dressers. but still.

looking from the door:

the next day:

and then i went to Seattle for four days, and I came home to this wonderful surprise!

a screen door, and everything painted blue! both were in the original plan — i like blue for a door. it looks good, and it traditionally repels evil. i haven’t convinced everybody to paint the house doors blue yet, but the yurt i can do whatever i want to, so blue it is. I told Matt what kind of blue I liked, and then forgot that he was going to come by while I was gone and install the screen — he picked exactly the right color, and got all the painting done as well as the screen door installation!

from the inside:

the last details on the screen happened today, so no pictures of those yet. If i’m home during daylight hours this week, I’ll get some new wall pics, too — that is coming along splendidly out front.