Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Medieval 12 spoke and Star Pavilion Pavilion Construction and Techniques

Medieval single pole 12 spoke pavilion construction, six and eight sided star pavilions

Instructions on how to build your own pavilion, including furniture photos to give your campsite that Bing!

To return to main site go to

A Touch of Renaissance

Site presented by Mistress Christiana Elizabeth Constable of ye Phasiani lacus Manerium

Since the time that this web blog was constructed, Mistress Christiana has moved on to the Adrian Empire - Duchy of Connacht and is now referred to by Mistress.

In using this site, to see other further information on pavilions go to blog archieves or to Newer and Older Posts. Please note that from time to time this site will be updated as more items of interest in pavilion making and photos will be posted to the web blog. Section 4 - 12 spoke pavilions has been updated with instructions, photos to follow soon. (March 5, 2011)
Prelude to the 12 Spoke Medieval Pavilion

A new tent? Medieval Center pole 12 spoke pavilion. Reasons and Introduction into why I Lady Christiana, am building this style of pavilion.

 Designing and preparation for construction of the 12 spoke Medieval Pavilion.

After my experience with an anachronism event known as End of Summer attended September 2010 up in Vernon, British Columbia the roof of my tent began to leak after a full day of Saturday rain. Everything would have been wet, but in mundane life I use to own a construction company, and usually carry tarps in behind the truck seat. The tarp that I have forgotten about save the day. The canvas of the five year old star pavilion tent one could see daylight, when it was taken down on the following day, and knowing that it was the almost the end of the year except for one more camp out, it was time to consider either a used RV, or replace the canvas on the star pavilion, but there were other things to consider and one of these was the lumber yard that had to be carried to every camp out event, and the other factor was to obtain help in setting up and tearing down the star pavilion.

In setting up the star pavilion, unless one has help, one can be looking anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes just to set the frame and install the canvas, if by yourself. If you have at least between 3 to 4 people it could be possible to setup within 30 minutes, but I Lady Christiana does not have that luxury. With the advent of the Medieval pavilion, it should cut this time down to 20 to 25 minutes for setup, along with the camp furniture, which some of the piece I have made, shown at the end of this website, will undergo modifications to cut down the time in setup, one and I mean one person may have everything set up in between and 1 to 1 1/2 thus cutting the time factor down from 4 1/2 hours for me to setup by myself. When the star pavilion was constructed it was the time that the household was in formation, and there were a few members that had joined, but it was unfortunate, that a few members had move mundanely to Sask. Therefore I had lost my help for setting up the star pavilion.

Examination of both the pop up tent which was showing stress on the frame work from winds, and the aspect of the star pavilion requiring new canvas back at an October 2010 anachronism camp out, it was time to refer back to the interviews with other members that I Lady Christiana have met in October 2009 and June 2010 the Medieval pavilion to begin the designing process.

It was said to me at an anachronism event October 2010 that my campsite looked to mundane, account of the kitchen that I must drag around with me, account that most breakfast and day foods that are serve at these events are either pancakes and sausages along with buns, bread or and sweets. My personal food taste does like some of these foods, but the foods don't like me in the form of food allergies and cramps. In short I have to carry a kitchen with me, however that is another story.

In considering that 1) carrying of the lumber yard, 2) lack of help or thereof, 3) the aspects of either new canvas, RV which is expensive, or a new pavilion. This would sit with me for the next few months for a decision. Back in late October 2010 I begun the designs from the research, and interviews of other members that had the same style of tent, and from the Internet, I set forth my pencil and begun designing. In searching the web, I have manage to find instructions for the eight spoke pavilion, but for a 12 spoke pavilion, one would have to do e-commerce to purchase the plans and instructions. I Lady Christiana have had a bad experience with e-commerce on the web, and my policies, I will only deal with brick and mortar stores,when it comes to the exchange of currencies, and besides that if I did purchase the plans over the Internet, they had to come for the most part, from the United States, as seems most of the other items that is require to create props for anachronism events. This site is free to use to construct your own pavilion!

One of the reasons why it had taken so long, before making a decision to go ahead, was I spent 2 years in researching this style of pavilion, and finding Canadian Suppliers. Some items are easy to find, but other items became difficult, and even some were not available. I am currently having problems tracking down a local supplier for Celtic Harp Hardware which is another story.

In designing the 12 spoke pavilion and with interview with other members, have come up with a method that one person can set up this style of pavilion. In making the frame (Section 2 frame) it took just a few minutes to set up the frame for photos. The installation of the pavilion fabric may add a few more minutes to the setup time, and there is no tools required, other than a hammer to set the tent pegs. In using regular sail canvas, one must deal with the weight of the materials. In searching I have come across the white poly-fibreglass tarps (similar to that used on portable garage shelters) in as large as 50ft x 60ft for an approx cost of 160.00. This material is strong, resistant to mold, and is water proof, and requires no additional water repellent. It was one of these tarps that I had used at an event that prevent rain from ruining items and garb inside my pavilion which gave me the original idea. With the cost of canvas somewhere between 12 to 25 dollars a meter, it can become expensive - somewhere around the 600 dollar mark for starters. But if you wish to use canvas please contact me for the Canadian supplier located in Edmonton Alberta. I can forward you an email for contacting the supplier. The only other supplier that I have been informed of is located in the Seattle Region in WA and from what I have heard it is 12 dollars per yard. Remember if ordering from the USA there is duty possible, definitely both taxes other than Alberta which is the GST and brokerage fees, which can mount up.

To give the interior a little Bing and to give color, I Lady Christiana will also be installing an inner lining which will serve as a barrier and insulator to the cold, and draft from the exterior of the tent. The model shown in Section 1 - Designs, shows the inner lining. Lining materials can be purchase at Fabricland - Drapery section and can range from 6.00 dollars and upwards. This is depended on your taste.

As for the materials for framework, I finally settle on wood dowels, but in researching and looking around there are other material that would serve the function as well, and cost wise these materials vary slightly. The reason of choosing wood has two advantages, 1) it doe not attract cold like metal does, and 2) if god forbids a structural member breaks, it is easy to get another wood replacement - even at a campsite, as there is usually a lumber yard or hardware store nearby - for a quick and temporary repair. However square and round aluminum tubing is available and it comes in a length that one can make three lengths 80 inches long. For an idea of cost the square tubing is .09 x 1 1/4 in tubing and cost about 2.00 per foot. The cost of doweling ranges from 1.55 to 2.10 per foot pending if it is 1 5/16 to 1 1/2 inch diameter respectively. As one can see the cost is similar. I have also seen top rails of chain link fencing used for the center pole, and yes I think it could be used for the spokes, but other than the center pole, which has an advantage because one end is taper to accept another length of top rail would be the weight. If you are using the top rail of chain link fences, by all means use the center disk mention in Section 2 but omit the center hole.

Below is the list of instructions on how to make the 12 spoke Medieval pavilion, and I Lady Christina will in the next few months will post some photos of the completed pavilion.

To contact please email pheasant01@yahoo.com (numerical 01)

Medieval center post - 12 spoke pavilion
Section 1 - Design
Section 2 - Frame
Section 3 - Fabric and Patterns
Section 4 - Options
Section 5 - Setup and takedown instructions
 12 spoke Medieval center pole pavilion
Section 1 – Design
Section 2 – Frame
Section 3 – Fabric Measurements and patterns
Section 4 - Optional

                                                      Section 5 – Setup and teardown

Instructional documentation compiled and researched
By: Lady Christiana Elizabeth Constable of ye Phasiani lacus Manerium

Section 1 Design  medieval single pole 12 spoke

The designing of this tent begun some two years ago when I seen the first one of these in detail and setup. With permission from the owners of this tent I had taken photos of key elements of this style of tent, but with my economic situation of 2008 could not start the construction of this style of tent, and besides the star pavilion was still in good shape. It was in the May of 2008 when Lady Christiana seen a medieval center pole 8-spoke tent and later the 12 spoke design in October of 2009. After seeing the tent up close I started to surf the web, but the only information at the time that was available for free including the calculations and material list was for an eight spoke design medieval pavilion. To small for my likes I put the design aside but did not forget about it. The 12 spoke design is available online for no charge, from Lady Christiana’s web site on tent construction and I Lady Christiana other than the calculations and formulas will not cover the 8 spoke tent.

Lets begin: There is two ways to calculate the fabric and the framework. One of these methods is by mathematics and trig, and the easy way is simply draw it to scale. In my calculations I used both methods to determine materials required for the pavilion. Note that most canvas is 60 inches wide, and it is advisable not to exceed the 20 ft diameter at the base, as this is the max. Size before adding seams in the middle of the fabric panel. REDUCE the number of seams, reduces the number of leaks that can result, and stress on the panels from weight and wind. Also do not cut the fabric out at this time until the frame is made. Once the frame is made assemble the top portion of the tent frame consisting of the tinker toy, the spokes and the upper center pole.

Roof calculations and design

Step 1) The tinker toy and center upper pole - I will be instructing about the 20-foot diameter tent within this article. The first will be the designing of the tinker toy, which is the heart of this design. It is such a simple design for setting up the tent. The roof design is simple to determine, as we will take the number of spokes divided in 360 degrees. This will determine the angle required for the tinker toy and the base, which is 30 degrees for the 12 spoke. The more spokes the less the angle, the fewer spokes more the angle. Please keep in mind that if you are on the base line (spoke) and it is 7 ft radius – diameter at eve of tent will be 14 feet at the eve line, the upright which intersects the tinker toy, less insert length should be 7 ft. +. This will work out to be very near 45 degrees in reality as there made be variations in the setup of the pavilion.

Step 2) Spokes and determine segments - First we must determine what width on materials at required. We will deal with 2 segments of the circle; the eve line, which will be known as base of the triangle known as (Bi) and the base segment line at the base of the tent to be known as (Bb). Lets begin with 3.14 x the diameter divided by 12 spokes, to determine the width for both the eve line and the base line.  173.5 inches x 3.14 = 544.79 inches divide by 12 spokes = 45.40 which is 3 ft 9 7/16 inches for (Bi) overall measurement (segment line of eve). The same calculations will be used for the base circumference. This is part of the circumference and later when the frame is set up we will take the actual measurements from spoke to spoke (segment line Bi) to determine width to be for transfer to the fabric pattern. See pattern and fabric instructions for more detail. This is an approx. measurement of the base, but please keep in mind that (Bi) measurement is not the final figure portion of  (Bi) measurement and is in fact 1/12 of the circumference. We need the segment measurement to work and this will be determine in the setup of the frame for final measurements.

To determine Ci we will need the spoke diameter, which will become the base (Bs) of and the vertical height (As) of the upper center pole from the tinker toy to the top of the upper center pole. With the formula of Bs 2 + As 2 = Ci 2; take the roof of Ci. Example (As) = 85 inches and (Bs) = 86.75 inches. Therefore (Ci) will equal 121.45 inches or roughly 10 ft 1 ½ inches.

Now we must take the eve segment measurement of 45.5 inches and divide by 2 which = 22.75 inches. This measurement will become (Bi). We now have (Ci) derived from above and with the same formula we now would use Bi 2 – Ci 2 = Ai 2; take the root of (Ai) to determine length of fabric needed. More will be cover in the fabric section. When calculated Ai = 88 inches approx.

Draw a line to represent (Bi) eve segment and insert a vertical at center point of (Bi); this will be (Ai) than draw line (Ci). This should be drawn to scale and also full size, as this will have the correct angles for the roof panel when it comes to cutting out the pattern.

Using a tape measure from the center point at top of pole down to the outer point of the spoke verify the measurements.  This will be known as (Ci). Verify the measurement of the segment for the eve at this time by spreading the spokes out in an equal measurement from the hub. They should closely be to the measurement derived in dividing the circumference by number spokes. In this case actual measurement of  (Bi) is 45.25 inches. The segment measurement should be smaller than 1/12 of the circumference (12 spoke design).

Wall panel calculations and design

Now that we have determined the isosceles triangular roof fabric panels, it is now time to determine the wall panels. This is relatively simple as we subtract the difference from the roof eve radius measurement and the base (ground) radius measurements. Our radius eve measurement is 7 ft and our ground measurement is 10 feet leaving the difference of 3 feet. This will be our base line known as (BB). We will also need the height of the pavilion living area or what will be known as the lower center pole (AA) again we will use the measurements of the actual tent been (BB) = 3 ft (36inches) and (AA) = 6ft 6 inches (78 inches). BB 2 + AA 2 = CC 2; take the root of CC 2 and transfer to (Ab); Ab been the length of fabric for the wall panel. (CC) also known as (Ab) will equal 85.91 inches.

Take the base Circumference and divide by number of panels to derive the length require for the base of the trapezoid. 20ft x pie divided by 12 panels = 5.23 feet.  Also take the eve line segment measurement than subtract the eve segment from the base segment. The difference is to be divided by 2 of which will make the measurement of (Bb). Base measurement 62 ¾ inches - eve measurement segment 45.5 inches = 17 ¼ inches. We will divide this by 2 which will be 8 1/8 inches been (Bb measurement. We now have (Ab) = 85.91 inches and (Bb) = 8.125 inches which will give us (Cb)
The formula again is Ab 2 + Bb 2 = Cb 2; take the root of Cb.

Draw the segment line base of 62 ¾ inches and a vertical line through the center of the 62-¾ inch segment line. Draw a perpendicular line to the length of fabric (Ab). At top draw a horizontal line parallel to the base segment line. The Eve (Bi) is to be divided in half. If done correctly you should come out with a trapezoid.

Using the height of 78 inches from ground to eve, and using the differences of eve and ground radius of 36 inches we will be left with a tight measurement of 85 7/8 inches. Again we will divide the base lateral perimeter and eve perimeter measurement to determine the centerline of the wall panel. In this example we divide 44 inches by 2 and the base measurement of 62 inches by 2 leaving us with 2 parallel lines – top one been 22 inches and the base 31 inches. We now connect the top parallel lines to form the outside edge of the panel. The base and eve line must start at a perpendicular line right angle to each base and eve line. Mirror the other side and you should have two sloping lines that if continue from the eve line would eventually intersect, if you have done it correctly.

 Drip edge calculation and design.

Use the same calculation as above but change the height to height of drip edge except the base. The angles will be the same, just that  (Ab) (Bb) and (Cb) will be different. We know that (Bi) is constant as this is the eve segment, and we know that (Ab) is your choice of length for the drip edge. Therefore we will use trig to determine the new Ab of the angle and add this measurement to the segment length of (Bi) at either end. This will create a narrow trapezoid pattern.

 Scaled floor plan of medieval tent showing spokes, eve and base circumference, and furniture placing. This drawing was scale to ¾ inch to the foot

Cross-section of medieval pavilion. The brown lines are the frameworks; the black and red lines are the canvas.

As further aid in setting this type of tent up, I have included rope positions. It may not be period, but it does aid in transferring the stress points from the tinker toy to the center pole. Keep in mind that the opposite spoke is set up the same way, thus creating balance, and transferring the stress to the center pole. This also aids in reducing tension on the canvas, and to prevent a failure when either setting up or tearing down, on the tinker toy. With these adaptations it is possible for one person to setup this tent. The ropes once connected with the spokes and upright should be a close as possible to the 45-degree angle, and since gravity pulls downward, ropes will take the tension and allow for flexibility in windy conditions. Lets say that the weight is 1 lb to the foot transferring out from the tinker toy. This will create a lever action on the holes the spokes go into on the tinker toy, and may in time fail at the holes. This extra insurance will counter the foot-pounds away from the holes and transpose it to the center pole.

After during the calculations and thus the pattern, we now have the roof panel and the wall panel. Once you have completed your drawing, it should look similar to this one. You may notice a middle drawing. This drawing is the roof drip edge taken from the wall panel, to allow rains water to be shedded. This one is designed to be 1 ft wide.

At this stage, we should now have a working drawing to scale, and the necessary angles to design the canvas panels. DO NOT CUT YOUR CANVAS AT THIS STAGE, as the slightest measurement variations could result in the canvas not to fit properly. You may at this stage make a scale model, like the one shown at the top of the article. Some may even venture to the one shown below, to check measurements and assembly. To determine amount of fabric needed please go to fabric layout for medieval center spoke pavilion.

Shown here is the scale cloth model of the tent, for final positioning of the canvas, and any minor changes to be made. In this case after designing and making the model, I will incorporate storm flaps on the opening to make it nice and comfortable inside. Scale of model is 1 inch to 1 foot. All angles for roof and walls will remain a constant to the full size version, unless the vertical or base measurements are changed. It should also be noted that the red panels is the inner lining. Outer panels, which would have been white, are not shown here.
 Shown in this photo are the tinker toy, center pole, spokes and rope arrangements, all to scale. Also is the inner lining panel. More on inner linings will be cover in options. Scale of model 1 inch to 1 foot.

A view into the model’s interior showing the lining and framing.

As one can see there seems to quite a bit of room in the pavilion, and there is, but there is one disadvantage to this design and that is the center pole. This tent is not a clear span type, and for those that wish to have a clear span please check the article on star pavilions. However for those that wish for this amount of space assuming that the base is 20 square feet, it works out to 314 square feet. The star pavilion shown below is roughly 153 square feet. In short this style double the square footage, and one other advantage on the 12 spoke, it can have separate rooms, partition by drapery.

Now that we have a design, and I will mention, this design can be applied to fewer spokes of more spokes. If you wish to have more spokes within the design, consider that the tinker toy will have to be increase in diameter. The min. diameter using a 2-inch depth hole is 16 inches. When making mine, I made it to the width of the plywood I had on hand, which work out to be 22 inches.  I believe there is enough room to do an 18 spoke design on this style using the same diameter tinker toy, thus increasing the size of the tent to 28 feet in diameter base, however it may be required that the doweling would have to a larger diameter to handle the stress loads and wind loads.

Because of materials required and the need to transport, and that it is most likely I Christiana will have to set this pavilion myself. To fit the current furniture I have, and to max available space, I had chosen the 20-foot diameter pavilion. With this in mind, we will now proceed to the framing package.
Photo of  the scale 3/4 inch to 1 foot framework showing the details, including the ropes to support the spokes, tinker toy, and base disk

Section 2 - 12 Spoke Medieval Pavilion Framework

We now move unto making the frame. The measurement above in designing will be used in the fabric stage and are not critical at this time. So lets get our hands dirty and make some sawdust. Shown here is a scale model of the framing package, showing positioning of the spokes and center pole and the different hubs. Please keep in mind that all the weight of the tent is going to be transposed to the center, and in short all the load weight of the canvas, wind load and moisture load is going to exert pressure on the ground. If the center pole is to small a diameter, it can do two things, BREAK due to stress loads, or SINK if the base is to small to support the weight on the ground. Manufacturing, a 10 inch disk, this would transfer the weight of the tent though to the ground over a larger area, and prevent the center pole from sinking into the ground, and to add further protection in stabilization of the tent frame. The diameter of the center pole from the tinker toy down to the base is 3 inches while the top center pole is 1 ½ inches diameter.

The material package.

Use straight and clear lumber. The better the grade of lumber and species of lumber the stronger it will be. In such a structure, unless using larger diameters, and now that brings us to weight, and volume, it is possible to use pine or spruce. If you do not mind the cost and if available maple or oak would be the superior, but that also brings on the handing weight issue. I had found that Douglas fir would probably be the best, both cost, strength and weight. Below is a list of materials that one would need. I have included Canadian Supplies and where they might be available for a reasonable cost. Some of these suppliers may not exist in your location, but there are box stores that may carry the same product for around the same cost.

This is not all the materials, but is roughly 3/4 of the materials required. I had my supplier for the dowels cut them to size. The center pole 7 ft. length and the 7 spoke of the 12 – the remainder still to come for Jan 2011 at 6 ft 6 inches. I also included a banner pole to go on top of the pavilion in setup for the heraldic device.

Quantity                     Materials                   Approx Cost              Supplier
12 – approx 7ft            1 5/16 dia. fir dowel            1.36 to 1.80/ ft             Builder’s Mart, Rona   
                                                                                                            Home Depot, Home  
Note – you may be able to save money by order 6 13ft lengths and cut in half for the 20ft diameter pavilion.
7 to 8 ft                        1 ½ inch dia dowel            2.10 to 2.28/ft              Builder’s Mart, Rona
                                                                                                            Home Depot, Home
3 to 4 ft                        1 or 1 5/16 dowel            1.00 to 1.80/ft              Builder’s Mart, Rona
                                    Optional *(banner pole)                            Home Depot, Home
12                                Finales             varies 1.75 to 5.00 ea            Fabricland – or
                                                                                                            Drapery Shops.
Tip - I have found Fabricland to be the least expensive for this item.
13 pc.                          ¼ inch long threaded inserts        0.89 ea         Home Hardware
                                                                                                            part no 40-6207
Tip: Have found these inserts available in a package of 4 with the tool to screw in the insert. Average cost per package is 2.60 each. They are available from most Builders’ Marts. Richelieu ¼ - 20 (724636 03652)
4 pks (4 package per unit) ¼ inch lag, and bolt ¼ x 20                         Home Hardware
                                                                           connectors 3.00 pk.
1 liter                            stains or paint (exterior)            approx 20.00   your option
I myself prefer Cloverdale Paints or Flecto
(Tremco) - Flecto http://www.varathane.com/
1 roll                            natural fiber twine                    approx 10.00   your option
1 small bottle                white (good quality) glue      approx 8.00     your option
½ sheet                        ¾ or 5/8 exterior grade ply            approx 15.00            Builder’s Mart,
                                                                                                            Windsor Plywood
24 pc.                          1 ¾ inch no 8 Robinson Screws 2.50             Any lumber shed
12 inches                      1 ½ ID if possible otherwise 1 ½ OD                  Minus Muffler
                                    Steel tubing. 1 ½ Exhaust pipe works well

Tools required (basic)
Robinson no 2 screwdriver – tinker toy assembly
Sandpaper 80 grit up to fine grit
Miter box and saw  - cutting of dowels to size
Plane  - used to shave down one end of dowel to fit loosely into tinker toy
Scroll saw, or saber saw, or band saw, or a router with radius cutter – tinker toy
Drill – 1 ¼ and 1-½ drill bits (tinker toy) 3/16 inch for screws – 5/16 inch drill and 3/8 drill for inserts for dowels and finales
Clamps and hammer
9/16 wrench

Before starting the frame, make sure to have materials on hand, as sometimes the harder to find materials are not easy to obtained.

Tinker Toy – The heart and main support of the pavilion
In preparing the framework, I begun with the tinker toy, as I had the materials on hand. Cutting the 5/8 spruce plywood to 22 inch squares, and drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner to find center, I used a ½ in router with a circle jig to make the tinker toy. Once the pieces were made, I had taken one of the four pieces, drew the locations of the spokes and made a small saw mark as to aid in keeping the drill in line perpendicular to the circumference. Once completed I place this disk with the marks of the saw blade pointing to the outside edge and attacked a second disk. With the other two disk of the four I made I glue this to the face covering the saw marks. The saw mark ends should be visual in the middle of the four layers. Clamp all disk together drill the 3/16-inch holes between each of the spacing between the spoke hole placing. Use a 1-¾ inch Robinson screw from both sides. Allow the glue to set, before drilling the 1-¼ inch holes on the edge of the tinker toy. Once set drill these holes where the end of the saw marks are to a depth of 2-inch min. Also at the center of the tinker toy drill a 1-½ inch hole through all 4 layers. This will be used for the center pole.

Once holes are drilled, finish with sandpaper and finish with your choice of finish.

The tinker toy, a major assembly for the medieval tent, is shown here finish with a stain and waterproof coat of liquid plastic. On the edge are located the holes for installation of the spokes, and the center hole to receive the vertical pole. The diameter of this tinker toy is 22 inches, and is made of 4 layers of 5/8 plywood, screwed and glued together. This will be the heaviest piece of this style of tent.

The spokes:
In keeping the tent eve diameter to 14 feet, and with the aspects of the tinker toy now made, the final measurement for the spokes of been 6 ft 4 inches. I decided to leave mine at 6 ft 6 inches thus giving me 4 more inches of roof to the already 14 ft diameter. The spokes, and some of the tents in this style I had seen were made of 1 ½ diameter dowel or 2x2 with the edges milled at 45 degrees making them eight sided in profile. I myself choose 1 5/16 dowel, to keep the weight issue down. Once cut to length either paint or stain them before going to the next step.

One will need to have patience for the next step. As wood is a natural product, and the grains may have a tendency to split after time, I borrow an idea from the era of the Romans and that was to use natural fiber twine to add in the strength of the dowels. At either end I wrap and glued the twine around the dowel to give extra strength. At one end before wrapping twine, taper the dowel down so as to fit loosely in the tinker toy. You do not want this to be a tight fit, as wood may swell in damp conditions when set up making it nearly impossible to disassemble. When wrapping twine on the taper end start back the depth of the hole and work back leaving the taper exposed. The end that holds the canvas can be wrapped right at the end. Once the glue is set on the twine, drill a 3/8-inch hole at least 1 ¾ deep and insert the long insert into the dowel. This will is where the finale is attached and will aid in supporting the canvas to stay on the ¼ inch x 3-inch thread rod pin. To cut these pins use a fine tooth metal cutting blade. Make sure to have a ¼ inch nut on each of these pins to aid in threading the rod. You may have to use a file to clean off any burrs that may be on these threaded rods. Check these rod pins to make sure they thread easily. Place pins aside once tested. You made also at this stage insert the inserts into the finales once a 3/8-inch x 1 ½ depth hole is drilled. Be careful, as most finales are only 2 inches in diameter at their larges diameter and are anywhere from 3 to 4 inches long.

From left to right – the center base pole, less the 9-inch steel insert that will aid in supporting the tinker toy and upper center pole. Next to the center base pole is the upper center pole, center is the banner pole, and the 2 dowels to right are the spokes with the finales shown in the bottom right hand corner. On all poles and spokes is shown the twine wrapping for extra strength and optional features for hanging lamps, and to secure the spokes to the tinker toy.

The center pole – base and upper center pole.
The base shown above is constructed of two 2 x 3 s glued together than milled with 45 degree corners to both reduce weight, and to give an artist appearance. This pole is made to a length of 6 ft 6 inches for ease in set up, as my height is 5 ft 9 inch. You may change the heights to suit your needs for the base center pole. The center pole will have a 9-inch length of thin wall 1 ½ steel tubing inserted and glued 3 inches into the center pole at one end, and a 1-½ dowel inserted and glued at the bottom end to be able to insert into the 10-inch disk. This disk is to spread the weight on contact with the ground and to aid in stabilization of the tent.
Hole drill in top of lower center column, ready to receive 1 ½ OD steel pipe. Use either epoxy or polyurethane glues to hold the pipe in the column. Make hole the size of pipe OD so that the pipe will be tight fitting. You may have to use a wooden mallet to set pipe in hole been careful not to break the glue seam of the two 2x3s that are glued together to form the column.
 The final fitting of the metal tube within the base column: finish the steel tubing with a waterproof finish to prevent rusting. Check for fit with other parts required for this assembly
 Drill hole at least one inch into bas of column to receive a short piece of 1 1/2 inch dowel on the base end. The dowel should not extend past the column base anymore than the thickness of the column base disk. Make the hole a tight fit in the base column and glue the dowel within. Tip: finish the dowel with a waterproof finish, as this will prevent the wood from absorbing moisture from the ground. Tip 2: Twine is also used at both ends of the column to help reinforce the column from splitting, from torquing in the wind and in the handling of setting up the tent.

Fit the base plate to the column base; make sure that it is not a tight fit, as this disk will help to spread the weight of the frame and tent evenly over the surface area.

 Shown is the ten inch ground base disk, the base support to the base center column pole. The hole in the center is a positioning hole to center the base center column: made of 5/8 inch spruce plywood. If you are using a 1 1/2 inch dowel on the column base, drill a two inch hole in the center of the ten inch disk. Finish with a good waterproof finish on all sides
 On the bottom end of the upper center pole, in this case a 1 1/2 inch dowel mill to thickness of the ID measurement of the steel tube the distance of the length of the steel tube insert of the base column. This area of milling on the dowel should not be tight, but not excessively loose. When the tinker toy is inserted through the center hole, and the tube will accept the upper center pole, no screws or bolts will be required to hold the pole assembly together. Gravity is what will hold this assembly together when set up vertically within the pavilion.

 On the other end of the 1 1/2 dowel of the upper pole drill a 5/16 inch pilot hole, than a 3/8 inch hole 3/4 inch in depth to receive the insert as shown above. This will accept a finale or the banner pole. Keep in mind that the bolt the will run from the finale to the center pole must be long enough to accept the guild rope disk. This disk will be used to secure the guild ropes that help stabilize the center pole while setting up the pavilion.
 Here we are checking the fit of all the parts for the center column. Shown here are the base column, the tinker toy and the upper center pole.
The guild rope disk; as in most cases I am usually the only one that is setting up the tent for myself at anachronism events, and require some shore of device that aids me in setting up the tent. Tied a rope to each of the eye screws (these screws should be at least 1 inch long and a ¼ in the thread part) shown here and run out at 120 degrees approx. These ropes should be long enough so as not to hamper in the setup of the tent. Min. length since the tents overall height is 14 ft high would be at least 25 feet long per rope.
The disk is made of 2 5/8-inch plywood, finished with an exterior finish, and because of the thickness of the two layers drill one of the disk with a 1-1/2 inch hole. The other would be drilled with a 5/16-inch hole. See section on setup for more details. You may wish to make a round disk, but in my case I wishes to keep the diameter overall to 6 inches. Tip if finishing with a finale, do not drill a 1-½ inch hole in the first layer. Only drill a 5/16- inch hole through both layers.

 Check fit of the rope disk. In this case the fit is checked with the banner pole been attached.

The final product when all parts are put together for the center column. Here we are looking from the base to the top. This photo also shows the banner pole assembly as well.

The upper center pole contains at one end and insert and rod to support the banner pole and to aid in keeping the roof and inner roof fabric in place. No bolts or tools will be required to set this arrangement up. For more information of setup please go to set up of a 12 spoke center pole pavilion for detail photos.

Hardware for frame
Not much hardware will be needed and the beauty of this method of construction, after been made, the only tool needed will be a hammer and that is to set tent pins. The hardware required will be 13 inserts and 13 bolts with a screw thread on one end and a bolt thread on the other.

To set hardware lets begin with the inserts. I used the ¼ inch ID threaded insert that will require a 3/8-drill bit. Drill a single hole 5/16 inch first to a depth of 2 inches at one end; center on the dowel spokes. This is where the twine that is wrapped on the ends will help to prevent splitting. Follow this with a 3/8 hole roughly ¾ inch depth. That a 2 inch ¼ inch bolt and thread two ¼ inch nuts on to machine bolt and thread roughly ¾ down the bolt, and jamb the nuts against each other. Thread into insert and than thread the insert carefully into the dowel to the insert is slightly below the surface of the dowel end. You will need a 9/16 wrench to thread the insert. Once installed loosen the bolt; the jamb nuts will usually free up when loosing, thus eliminating much of the chance of threading the insert out. Tip: use a bit of Weldbond Glue on the outer threads of the insert as a lubricate and when set, will prevent the insert from accidentally been thread out when disassemble begins. Repeat process 12 times for spokes and once for top of upper center pole.
 The tool I made for inserting the threaded inserts into the spokes and the upper center pole. Shown here is the bolt, the two jamb nuts and the threaded insert. Some suppliers may even supply the tool to install these inserts.

Shown is the connector bolt inserted into the finale and the dowel with the insert. You may wish at this time glue a rubber O ring to the finale to prevent leaks into the tent in rain events.

The next step will be to take the 13 finales if not using a banner pole otherwise 12 finales and the banner pole. These type of connectors are ¼ inch bolt thread on one end and lag screw thread on the other end. For ease of installation of these connectors, drill a 3/16 hole about 1-½ inches deep. These holes will act as pilot’s holes to guild the lag screw end of the connector. Do not thread these right down to the bolt thread end, as you will need a little excess to allow for the recession within the finale, which is about a ¼ inch deep, and for the grommets  - two for sure, but if choosing the optional liner add an extra 2 which can use up to ¾ inch in thickness. The combined would be 1 inch, and these connectors overall size is roughly 2 ½ inches long. Tip: For instillation of these connectors use two ¼ nuts and thread onto the bolt end of the connector. You only need to flush the last ¼ inch bolt on the connector. The first nut, jamb it against the second thus creating a head to use the 9/16 wrench to thread the connector into the finale. Use glue to lubricate the lag screw end, been careful not to get glue of the thread end. The same method if you are using the banner pole instead of the 13th finale.

Banner Pole - Optional
This adds a nice touch, but it is optional. You will need one piece roughly between 3 and 4 feet in length and roughly 1 5/16 diameter or better. Glue a bit of twine on either end to prevent splitting, but with the top end before gluing, halfway on the length of twine – roughly 3 feet in length make a loop, big enough to accept a snap ring. Do so with the other length of twine that will be roughly 5 inches up from the bottom of the base of the banner pole. At the top of banner pole you may want to add a finale to give it the finishing touch.

Packaging and handling of frame – this includes the optional banner pole
When completed there should be at least 12 spokes, and 2 center poles, along with the tinker toy, and ground base disk if choosing the option the banner pole, along with 12 finales. In short this packs down into a bag 7 ft long x 6-½ inch square. This means less lumberyard to carry verse the star pavilions. If making a bag, it is suggested to place plywood ends –at least of ¼ inch plywood to prevent the dowels from projecting if one hits the brakes. This now becomes a stable package, and is easy to load. Approx. weight should be around 20 lbs. The disk somewhere around 10 lbs.

With the finales, make a box that will fit 12 units complete with the bolt attachment

Shown is the bag that contains the framework of the medieval center pole tent less the tinker toy and base. The finales shown to the right will go into another box, with the threaded rods, and tie ropes measuring approx 7 inches x 12 inches and 6 inches high.

This is where your taste can vary. I myself like the appearance of wood grain brought out by dark stain, but it is a must, because these frames are subject to weather changes, be it temperature or and moisture. Even though the frame may not be exposed to rain or snow, it is subject to humidity in the air, and to stabilize the wood it is a very good idea to seal the wood, either through stains and vanishes or through a good quality exterior paint. With varnishes it has an advantage over paint, as it can take a bit more abuse, and does allow for the warn tones of the natural materials to show. It also acts as a further bonding agent on the twine that is wrapped on the dowels for reinforcing.

Finishing of the frame should be done before setting the frame up for the first time to finalize the fabric pattern. Allow at least a few days to past for the finish to set, before handing and setting up. If the finish is not completely set or dried, it is easy to damage.

Now that the frame is complete we now move onto the fabric canvas covering for the tent. Here is shown the bag containing the bundle of spokes and columns, and the required disks, along with the tinker toy and the box that contains the 12 finales. For an idea of the size the bag shown the measurements are 7 feet long with the end been 6 1/2 inches square. The tinker toy is 22 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick.
Section 3 - Fabric (Fabric measurements and layout)

Warning: (READ FIRST BEFORE ATTEMPTING Fabric Portion). This is very important. BEFORE GOING TO THIS STEP, pre setup the roof frame part of the medieval pavilion and check all measurements. It is far easilier to make measurement and measure ofter, before cutting of fabric. Make as many measurements and verify, but only cut once. Refer back to section 1 and review the information. If there is a different, please go back to section one and re calculate using the actual measurements of the frame to make the roof panels. This may also change the eve circumference measurement as well. Base measurement should remain the same, unless the eve circumference is larger than the base or unless you wish for a larger diameter tent. Calculations of the fabric are simple as most canvas type fabrics are 60 inches wide. Once the pavilion frame is setup - primary the roof section, let each spoke come to rest and block so as not to move and measure the distance between each spoke and record this measurement. Do not worry if they are not all the same distance at this time from each other on the eve circumferance. Measure from each spoke center to the other along the circumference and add these measurements together and divide by the number of spokes of the pavilion to have equal distances. This will verify the segment measurement at the roof eve before drawing the pattern. Now take a string and secure at one end - the upper center pole with a bolt installed into the insert, than make a loop at the other end were the roof will meet the eve. Check all spokes to see that the distance are of equal length. The length of the string is the perpendicular center line of the roof panel. With these measurements we can now make the outer roof panel pattern. Allow 1 inch for French seam ease allowance on either side. Draw up part of the wall panel - the upper part for the eve, and attach to the roof panel to complete the roof panel pattern. Most eves are 12 inches wide, and by having it as one piece with the roof panel, this will prevent possible leekage through the roof eve. You will need to draw the wall panel as well, to determine the eve panel.

If you wish – you can set up ½ of the framework for the tent to verify measurements. You only need the roof frame section for verifications of measurements.

Roof fabric calculations - Use the measurement of (Ai) vertical, and the width of the canvas known as (Bi). Used this measurement (Ai) x 6 and allow for seams and easement of the fabric. Also include the drip edge flap x 2 and x this by 6, if it is of the same materials. This will mean that every second panel will have a center seam. If you do not wish for a center seam than times the length including flap x 12. Once calculated divide by 39.5 inches to determine meters. Once this is calculated you will know the cost and amount of materials required for the pavilion. With inner lining and to achieve the draping effect add a min of 3 inches to the length, but do not exceed 5 inches.

Wall fabric calculations - Walls are easy to calculate. This is determine by the length (Ab) drop from the eve lined to the base. Add 10 inched to the base, as this is the mounting base to be tent pin to the group, and to allow for any differences in ground elevations, than times by the number of spokes (in this case 12) divide by 39.5 to obtain the meters. For inside lining add 2 to 5 inches more per panel.

Optional materials substitute for canvas - There is another material that is available and is somewhat lighter, and may be stronger than canvas, and it is definitely waterproof, and does come in white, for the better grade. These are called tarps and they are available up to 60 ft x 50 ft. (average cost 160.00 dollars). From calculations – one of these tarps will most likely do the walls, roof, and floor of this size pavilion. In keeping my cost down, I will be using this white poly bunal, fiberglass-reinforced tarp. This is the same material that is used on portable garages. From section one and section 2 we now draw up the full size pattern on paper (newsprint paper is the cheapest, and is at least 24 inches wide, and is available as newspaper ends from most newspaper publishers). Allow at least 1-inch seam allowance, as we will be doing French seams, to prevent leaks through the tent panels.

Lets begin with the materials list – Although I am not using canvas, I will be using fabric for the inner lining which uses the same volume of materials. Keep in mind that canvas materials can range and in priced by weight and thread count. Cost begins roughly at 8 dollars per meter and will range as high as 25.00 per meter. In my travels and contacts I have found a supplier in Edmonton, Alberta, that sells sail canvas at 12.00 per meter. If you wish to pay the goof ball duties and taxes and broker’s fees, it is available from Seattle, WA. 

Tools required
A HEAVY DUTY sewing machine, - you can do it be hand, but it will take forever.
A Good sharp pair of scissors – one you are comfortable with. A disk cutter can be used, but you will need a very large cutting mat.
Good quality 3 ply thread.


This list is for use for canvas and inner liner (optional) and is met for the tent that is decided here within

Quantity                                  material                                              
22 meters                                 18 oz sail canvas (roof) 2nd roof panels have center seams
31 meters                                 18 oz sail canvas (walls)

Optional (no center seams) roof – you will have lots of waste unless materials is 70 inches wide. If so it will only take 22 meters.
44 meters                                 18 oz sail canvas (roof)

54                                            Large grommets
6000 meter roll             Poly 3 ply thread (you may only use half of the roll but it is far less expensive than buying small spools.

Velcro sew on min ¾ inch (used for entrances)
1 entrance will used 2 ½ meters of the hook and 2 ½ meters of the hair. Multiply this by number of entrances you are using.
There are numerous suppliers that sell the above fabric list of  materials and notions, and as such they are not all  listed here except for the  store locations of Fabricland. http://www.fabricland.ca/
Note if you are making inner panels add 2 meters to the above measurements. All fabric here is assumed to be 60 inches wide. Verify measurements of frame according to design calculation before cutting fabric. Measure as often as you want, but cut once!

Now that we have our pattern, and our fabric, it is time to cut the fabric, but please remember the 1-inch seam allowance on all sides. Once the fabric is cut, it is time to sew the fabric together. You may want to reinforce the seam ends where the dowels come in contact with the fabric. These are basically 6 x 6 inch squares for the reinforcing. Note on some medieval tents, instead of the finales, pockets are made out of these reinforcements to secure the dowels. I prefer the finale method, as it allows a couple of wall panels to be removed on hot sunny days, giving a form of a porch. The pocket method will not give you this opportunity ready easily. In constructing the wall panels they will be sewn in a configuration of 5 + 5 + 2 panels. This will allow for cross circulation of air on those hot days and to give the added feature of a built in porch, and is easier for installing the wall panels. Instead of handling 63 feet + of fabric, it will cut this down to about 25 feet of fabric per section with the front 2 panels roughly 10 feet.

The tent roof will be made of 12 panels if full panels, otherwise sew the 12 ½ roof panels to form the 6 remaining full roof panels giving 12 roof panels. This will get tricky, as each seam will have to be French seamed before sewing on the next roof panel. You may wish to make to halves than sew the two halves together. Place at least a 6 x 6 reinforcing panel where are seams intersect at middle of the roof panel. This is where the roof is center on the upper middle pole. Note: If drip edge is a separate piece to the roof panel, sew these together as one strip, then fold the panel in half so that it is at least 12 inches wide and baste stitch. The drip edge will be made from a min. 24-inch wide band. This band will be the total length of all 12-eve segments. That means it will be roughly 63 feet long and 12 inches wide. Sew this to the completed roof panel with a French seam. When all sewing is done on the roof panel, it is time to apply the grommets at the key points of where the dowel ends come in contact the fabric. Make sure the grommets have some ease allowance and able to accept a ¼ inch bolt. You will need one at the center and 12 along eve circumference (the eve where the drip edge begins) equally spaced.

The wall panels will be slightly easier to handle. Sew two 5-panel units and one 2-panel unit. All narrow ends to the trapezoid (Bi) should all be at the top. Use French seams on the side seams. Two reinforce the top end, fold at least 1 inch over and stitch after the middle seams are completed. Now add ground skirting; a 5-inch strip at the bottom (base), which is folded from 10 inches of fabric and stitch to the wall panels. After sewing of the wall panels is completed. Fold the outer seams at the end of each unit and stitch. Here we will attach the Velcro. Velcro is not exactly historically accurate, but it is lot easier to close the opening entrances at night or whenever. Our wall unit is now completed except for the grommets. You will need a grommet for each wall seam at the eve line, and also one at each seam on the base with the exception of one in the middle at base line. Therefore with 3 units; 15 grommets at the eve line, and 27 grommets at the base line. The extra grommets in the middle will allow you to secure the tent better to the ground, and prevent the wind from lifting. I have seen this lifting on tents, and it is not pretty, as this acts like a parachute and in some cases can flip a tent over.

Tip: You may wish to apply 1-foot lengths of Velcro on both the roof eve and the wall panels in the middle to give extra support and insurance against the winds. 

Tip: When installing the grommets on the bottom of the wall panels – base line, you should not install than on the base seam but rather at least one inch down from the base line of the ground skirting.