I'll mostly let my pictures do the talking (a rare treat!) from the night the tipi went up. It's not a difficult maneuver by any means, even for a construction-challenged girly girl like myself. But definitely recruit someone who knows how to do common-sense things for assistance and muscle.
If you get your tipi from the completely and totally awesome Nomadics Tipi Makers, you will receive a detailed instruction manual. Read the hell out of it, because Twig sure won't help you later.
After your poles are completed (a task I will explain with painful and excruciating detail later), pick your three "best" to arrange as the tripod. These are the North, South, and Door poles. A clove hitch holds them together, which is what is being executed by my #1 sidekick, Trip. He's much more knotty than me (Ha! Get it?).
The poles are carried to their final resting locations to be lifted by the rope.
Upon lifting, commence juvenile behavior.
Every pole has a certain place. You get to know them, who their friends are, and place them in their permanent seating arrangement accordingly. Then you wrap a rope around them so they don't try to run away, like a cowboy with a lasso.
The frame. The spine. The fruits of many hours of labor.
The canvas cover is laid out on the ground. Twig found a muddy spot, despite it being bone-dry, and put paw prints all over it while chasing fictitious things. Uuuugggghh.
I didn't get any pictures of the stoutest pole doing it's job as the Lift Pole while hoisting the canvas onto the frame of poplar. Oops. But here is the canvas on the poles before staking it. See how sloppy and lopsided it looks? Had to call it a night after this. The sun got sleepy, and so did we.
The next day I staked it, kind of like you stake a tent. But this is before you push the poles out to meet the canvas and get the crisp look.
From inside, push poles into canvas as hard as you can. Cover is then complete. Holy mackerel! It's a house!
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