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Re: "Making a Medieval Single Pole Pavilion"

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

On Tue, 28 Jul 1998, Tim and Carole  wrote:

> 	The plans that I wish to use are contained in David Kuijts' article
> "Making a Medieval Single-Pole Pavilion".  The first couple are probably
> more directed to the author David Kuijt, but anyone who has used these
> plans could probably answer them.

David Kuijt speaking, known as Master Dafydd ap Gwystl in the SCA.

> 1.   In the section "Spoked-Wheel Pavilion Structure" it is mentioned that
> a 10' rope comes out from one end of the spoke (which I assume to be a
> guide rope). Later in the article, under "Sewing Notes", it says to sew
> loops outside the eaves if ropes are desired.  Is there a preferred method
> or are both equally as effective?

No ropes are necessary if the walls are up.

All the four or five pavilions currently being completed in the area based
upon these plans have no ropes at all.

Holes through the walls at the eaves are not quite as nice (even with
grommets) as without.

Note, however, that the grommetted holes through the eaves solves the
problem of how best to cup the ends of the spokes.  That problem has not
been fully answered yet; current solutions work OK, but are not ideal.

> 2.    For the spokes, the article suggests to use 2x4's cut in half to make
> 2 2x2s. Has pine be found to be a reliable wood or do I need to use
> something more stronger like oak?

Balsa wood is acceptable :^)

Cheap-ass 2x4s cut in half are more than strong enough, so long as they
aren't split or have a weak knot in the center.  And they cost $2.50 or so
per 2x4, which is only $15 for all 12 spokes.

The pressure on these poles is linear to the spoke, not transverse.  Wood
is very strong against linear compression.

If you wanted to save packing bulk you could even make the spokes out of
3/4" or 1" oak or ash poles rather than larger pine/spruce that
construction-grade 2x4s are made of.

> 3.    Lastly the article suggests not to skimp on the canvas.  I agree, but
> I'm also on a budget. Anyone know of a good substitute for canvas, or maybe
> a good outlet source?

For outlet sources I cannot help you, but I strongly advise you not to
skimp on the canvas.  You are going to be spending 40-100 hours sewing
this thing, and maybe 10+ hours making the wood pieces.  That is on the
order of $1000 worth of labour at normal non-expensive rates.  If you make
this out of unacceptable material that time and effort will have been
wasted.  The canvas will only cost $250 - $350 even if you buy good stuff.
Why save $100 or $200 on canvas, at the cost of risking $1000 worth of

I strongly advise you to buy a sunforger-type pre-treated canvas that is
resistant to mildew and rot, as well as waterproofed.  The waterproofing
isn't as important as you might think -- canvas is quite waterproof by
itself.  But you will rue the day you built it when it comes back
mildewed.  I am speaking from experience, here -- I will never make
another pavilion that isn't pre-treated.

Good luck!  Feel free to ask me in private if you have any further
questions on the pavilion design.

Dafydd ap Gwystl

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