The crown, or roof wheel is the most difficult part of the yurt to make. It consists of a wooden "wheel" two and a half feet in diameter with hub held ten inches (25cm) above the height of the rim by eight spokes. The rim has 32 holes drilled at an angle in the outside edge to take the roof poles. The finished crown is elaborately decorated to form the major feature of the inside of the yurt (see Douglas, 1962 for inspiration).
Figure 6. The crown.
The rim of the crown is made in sections, you will need twelve sections if you are using one inch (25mm) timber or eight sections if you are using one and a half inch (38mm) timber. To make these sections you will need a template;
Draw a circle two feet six inches (76cm) in diameter on a flat surface, then draw a circle two feet (60cm) in diameter inside of the first one, now divide these circles exactly into quarters. Trace one of these quarters onto paper and cut it out to form the template. For a more durable and accurate template use thin plywood or hardboard.
Place the template on the timber and carefully draw around it. Cut out this shape using a coping saw or an electric jig-saw, repeat this operation until you have the required number of sections.
The sections should now be glued and clamped together. Remove the clamps when the glue has set. For extra strength drill two holes through each section into the one below and glue a dowel into each of these holes, or use screws.
When the glue has set fully, tidy the outer and inner rims with a plane, spokeshave or electric sander. Mark the outer rim of the crown with thirty two equally spaced points, just below the middle of its width. Using an electric drill or a bit and brace, drill thirty two one inch (25mm) holes. These holes should point upwards into the crown at an angle of about 25o.
To make the crown centre cut out eight spokes of 1½" (38mm) square timber 13 inches (33cm) long with one end cut at 25o and the other at 115o. Drill and countersink each end (Fig.7). Make an octagon of wood 2 inches (5cm) thick and 5 inches (12.5cm) across. Screw and glue the spokes, octagon and rim together as shown in figure 5.
Thin willow or hazel rods can be used to make a more simple, but equally effective raised centre to the crown.
Figure 7. One of eight spokes connecting the crown rim and centre.
Either paint the crown or give it a few coats of clear yacht varnish.