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Mongolian Ger - A home of Wood, Wool and Canvas.

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Project by CreekOne posted 01-06-2015 10:46 AM 2439 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ger is the name of a tent that the nomads of Mongolia have used for centuries when they move with there herds for grassing.
I built my first one in 2012, after almost a year of research in to these tents, seeking the magical rules that guide there construction. Looking at so called Yurts, yurt is not the name of the tent but a bad word used by Soviet Russians to downpress the herders, built in western world I could clearly see a lack of respect for the crafts traditions that go in to these tents.

So after a year of talking to people in mongolia I had found the “magic” measurements, its all Buddhist, it all have to do with how many wooden wall sections they have and the 15 crossings of the Han, steam bent wall slats. The Un, roof poles, have a specific Buddhist number in standard size Ger of 108, the Toono, center roof hub, is constructed like the Buddhist symbol of the wheel and also divide the heaven in morning and evening. There are a lot more of things that goes in to the design of a Ger but I don’t want to sit here and write a book.

Firs things first. By lots of wood, this is what will become the Un.

After a whole day at the table saw I finished cutting the Han slats

Next day I built a Han slat with nails for all the holes to be drilled, all the holes in the Han have different spacings so a Jig is a must, or I had to measure all 12 on 100’s of slats… One day of drilling.

Next is hand planing the Han, it had to look nice to.

After 3 days of hand planing the Han, I started with the Un, hand planing the tapering of the Un.
Un are 1/3 square and taperd down to the end and 2/3 rounded.

I dont have any pictures of the steam bending or the tying of all the knots that create a Han section from Han slats but this is the first one finished after a week more of work. Its standing on its own from the curvature of the steam bent slats…

At this time I went to Nederlands to fetch the Felt from Mongolia. The wool felt the most important part of the Ger, no felt, no Ger. The Mongols has a saying that the felt is the muscle of the Ger, not the fat! This is true as the Ger wont stand up to winds at all without the 3-5 cm thick wool felt.

After this trip I started with the door frame, its a bit different from a “normal” door frame as the frame holds the whole Ger together.

Door frame done, Han sections done, Un, rounded on a moulder, done and now for the Toono.
The Toono is a strange construction but really strong, I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures of the construction but the woodwork is done…

Night time test pitching of the Han and door frame.

Daytime test pitching the skeleton of the Ger.

The whole Ger packed and painting stared. First a white base paint.

Next the all so important and traditional Orange paint.

Finally, with the help of a friend, we pitched the whole Ger for the first time. Note that the door is not finished yet.

Door finished and I moved in.

This is what it looks like living in a Ger with all the mess one can have…

And finally a Swedish winter, living in a Ger.





24 comments so far

View DonB's profile

DonB

490 posts in 2160 days


#1 posted 01-06-2015 12:16 PM

Well there CreekOne – I thoroughly enjoyed the history lesson. Your research payed dividends. The detail and “rules” for construction and colors was interesting. Your work with the wood used to make this project and it was indeed a project displayed your dedication and above all, your patience. Thanks for sharing.

-- DonB

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3140 posts in 1337 days


#2 posted 01-06-2015 12:48 PM

Love this! Taking the tiny home movement back in time. Fantastic workmanship.

I’m guessing municipalities might give some grief over a structure like this. They like calling the shots. Not to turn this into a political debate, but I’d love to know how the neighbors, and your local municipality have greeted this structure.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View CreekOne's profile

CreekOne

113 posts in 841 days


#3 posted 01-06-2015 01:13 PM



Love this! Taking the tiny home movement back in time. Fantastic workmanship.

I m guessing municipalities might give some grief over a structure like this. They like calling the shots. Not to turn this into a political debate, but I d love to know how the neighbors, and your local municipality have greeted this structure.

- Buckethead

Well that is a good and valid question, first place we lived in the Ger we stayed on a year round Camping site and after this we pitched in a sheep pasture with the permission of the owner. Most people are curious and like the tent. Also we tend to keep to the countryside. Now we have our own land so there should not be any problem but still if the municipality want us to move it, we can always clam its a tent. One of the best things with living in sweden is that we have laws that allow people to pitch a tent almost anywhere with regard to farmland and gardens and as long as you follow the Allemansrätt (The Everyman’s right) which is a ancient rule about access to land. Not that this rule is not written in law and is open for interpretation. Land owners tend to be narrow and outdoors people tend to use it as much as they can…

Also note that a tent have to be able to move within 4 hours from a “eviction” or you need permission from the municipality. (4 hours is in my county, it may differ in parts of Sweden)

See:” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Sweden":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Sweden

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3140 posts in 1337 days


#4 posted 01-06-2015 01:17 PM

Thank you for the information! I didn’t realize you were in Sweden. For some reason I imagined Pennsylvania (USA).

I have read about Allemansrätt, and really like the concept. Something we in the US should take more seriously.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View drbyte's profile

drbyte

729 posts in 3530 days


#5 posted 01-06-2015 02:39 PM

Great build! I love your country, visited quite a bit in Sweden and Finland a few years back. I’d love to come over there during the Christmas Holiday Season! What area are you in? Care to give us a few dimensions on your Ger?

-- Dennis, WV

View CreekOne's profile

CreekOne

113 posts in 841 days


#6 posted 01-06-2015 02:49 PM



Great build! I love your country, visited quite a bit in Sweden and Finland a few years back. I d love to come over there during the Christmas Holiday Season! What area are you in? Care to give us a few dimensions on your Ger?

- drbyte


Thanks, you should visit northern Sweden where there are a lot of snow.

Ofc I can give you any measurements you’d like just ask for it. the dimensions are measured in a typ of Ger standard of number of Han sections, this is a 4-Han Ger and it is approximately 5m Ø and about 2.40m high, the Han is always 150 cm high, the door frame is about 155 cm high. a little higher than the Han. The Toono is 120cm Ø. Anything else?

View R_Stad's profile

R_Stad

374 posts in 1311 days


#7 posted 01-06-2015 03:43 PM

Great job. Thanks for all the information. It is really a beautiful structure. Your hard work and attention to detail has given you a wonderful place to call your home. Well done.

-- Rod - Oregon

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

1096 posts in 1172 days


#8 posted 01-06-2015 04:17 PM

Very interesting and well done. Thanks for taking the time to share.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

805 posts in 1372 days


#9 posted 01-06-2015 05:06 PM

What a neat project. I love this. Very good writeup as well with lots of information.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View deon's profile

deon

2510 posts in 2494 days


#10 posted 01-06-2015 05:16 PM

Great work. We have a sort of plan to put one up in the mountains nearby for a winter camp

-- Dreaming patterns

View Douglas's profile

Douglas

414 posts in 2028 days


#11 posted 01-06-2015 05:49 PM

That’s really well done – amazing job. I spent a month traveling in Mongolia in 2000, and saw many a ger. Yours looks perfect. But, every ger I visited or hung out in had the door facing south, and they all said that was a tradition they followed. Yours looks like its a north facing door – I’m not nit picking, just curious – as you seem to know way more about them than I do. Really nice to see this and it takes me back to my travels of yesteryear…

What an incredible amount of work. How long did it take you to complete?

-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com

View CreekOne's profile

CreekOne

113 posts in 841 days


#12 posted 01-06-2015 05:55 PM



That s really well done – amazing job. I spent a month traveling in Mongolia in 2000, and saw many a ger. Yours looks perfect. But, every ger I visited or hung out in had the door facing south, and they all said that was a tradition they followed. Yours looks like its a north facing door – I m not nit picking, just curious – as you seem to know way more about them than I do. Really nice to see this and it takes me back to my travels of yesteryear…

- Douglas

South is true and its usually set that way here too, but in the summer picture its facing east because we did not want to enter the Ger from the bushes. In the winter pictures its facing south but its in the shadow from 25 meter tall Aspen trees growing 10 meters away.

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1429 days


#13 posted 01-06-2015 06:29 PM

Very impressive. Didn’t realize until the end that you really did intend to live in it. Thank you for the detailed information.

View CreekOne's profile

CreekOne

113 posts in 841 days


#14 posted 01-06-2015 06:42 PM



Very impressive. Didn t realize until the end that you really did intend to live in it. Thank you for the detailed information.

- Tim

What can I say… I’m a bit of a hippie I guess… Just wish I had space for my workshop in there.

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

1344 posts in 2481 days


#15 posted 01-06-2015 07:08 PM

Nice Build. Great information and details. Great pictures. Ahhh … to be young again. Thatʻs some serious Swedish winter.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

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