Introduction: How to Build a Sami Hut in Wood!

Picture of How to Build a Sami Hut in Wood!

This is a description with pics of how i built my Sami hut in wood.

What this hut has as a raw model is the hut that our Swedish indigenous people called Sami, have built and used for many centuries.
This type of building is/was also (to some degree) used by the Inuit, Aleut and Yupik peoples.

As i made it from reprocessed wood from torned down houses and other buildings this is a totaly green project.

Tools/materials you need is a hammer, saw, knife, drill, spirit level, nails, tarpaper, wood and alot of patience!

As a non American/English i use the metric system, so i had to use an online converter to be able to present the messurements in inches.

So please dont mock me for my English as i am from Sweden.

Step 1: Step One:

Picture of Step One:

The most important step is to get the ground where you want your Sami hut horizontal (level).
I did that with bigger stones placed at the outer rim as a stop for the smaller stones/gravels (30 millimeters in size).
This ground made of gravel/stones is also important because the need of drainage.
Heavy rains will now float under the gravelbed and not make your feet wet.

The bottom frame that the hut is going to stand on, is made of 8 pieces of 2 by 6 inch pressure treated beams with both ends cut at 22,5 degrees angle.

You nail them together to the shape of the octagon you see in the pic.

The length of all 8 bottom frame pieces is 2.0 meters (78.74 inches), messured from the both outer edges of the 22.5 degree angle cuts (see drawing).

Step 2:

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In this step you will will make 8 pieces of 2 by 4 inch elevationbeams as seen in the pic.
On these 8 beams you will have to mitre a angle at the outside edges to get a nice fit for the sheathing that you will mount in step 5.
I did this by hand with a knife, but you can offcourse use a handheld planer to do the job.

The length of all 8 beams is 4.70 meters (185.04 inches), messured from the inner edge of the first 27 degree angle cut, to the outer edge of the second 27 degree angle cut (see drawing).

In the next step you will make the top frame that you will connect the 8 elevationbeams to.

Step 3:

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Here you see the topframe with the 8 elevationbeams connected to it.

You make the topframe by nailing 8 pieces of 2 by 4 inch beams together.
The length of all 8 pieces is 36.3 cm (14.29 inches) messured from the outer edges of the 22,5 degree angles (see drawing).

This is also the time to make one more of this topframe and cover it with some board, because this will later be mounted at the top, making the smoking lid.

Step 4:

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In this step we will make 7 pieces of 2 by 4 inch elevationbeams that will be mounted between the ones previous mounted.
The reason that it is only 7 pieces (and not 8) is that you have to leave one opening for the door.

The length of this 7 pieces is 4,63 meters (182.28 inches), messured from the inner edge of the first 24,5 degree angle cut, to the outer edge of the second 24,5 degree angle cut (see drawing).

Step 5:

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Now it is time to build up the walls of the Sami hut!
This is the fun part, but tidious, if you like me using small and thin pieces of wood.
Here you can use whatever dimensions u have.

Step 6:

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After a couple of days of hard work and blue thumbs, the Sami hut is now fully clothed except from the door, top front and the top smoking lid.

Step 7:

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Here i will show you pics of how i mounted the doorframe, but i will not give you any measurements because they will depend on what kind of door you find/buy.
As you can see i decided to put the door invards the hut to shield it from hard weather.

Step 8:

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I just had to testfire the hut, so i brought in an old trash can and lit a fire upon it... looks nice...

Step 9:

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Here you see the door in place and the top smoking lid (described in step 3), mounted at the top.

Step 10:

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The last but very important thing to do is to cover the hut with some protection against weather and rain.
I choosed to cover the hut with tarpaper because its easy and cheap, or you can paint the hut directly with tar if you want, but it is a messy project to do that....
You can see that i have nailed some ribbons over the tarpaper that this summer will be used to mount some (i have not decided what type yet) outer panel on.

That ugly monster you see in the last pic is an experiment to see if the arrangement could store some heat for the night (you make the fire around it), it works, but i will later on test an idea that makes use of self circulating water from an accumulator tank and radiators under the lavas (where you sit and sleep) .

Another very important thing to do is to install air intakes at the bottom sides of the the doorframe to feed the fire and to get air to the inhabitants of the hut, and to drill 3-4 pieces of 1/2 to 1 inch holes at the top smoking lid to act as vents.
You dont see this on the pics because it was added after the last foto op.
You can if you want, lead in air via a pipe digged down into the gravels if you dont want to have vissible air intakes.

You are now the proud owner of a unique Sami hut that you can use as a guesthouse or maybe a cool looking sauna.....

PS. If you dont want to turn yourself into a smoke-dried fish, you MUST USE WELL DRIED and WELL SPLITTED wood.


PaulM129 (author)2015-09-21

When I saw that last pic in the instructable, my first thought was "Hey, that's a sauna!" Except that it's too tall, you lose a lot of heat - As you may guess, some of my ancestors come from the next country to your east :) Finland, although I'm 3rd generation in America and a "Euro-Mutt" (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Irish - those are the ones I know of). I must say, the only part that caught me off-guard was your use of the word "Sami" - I'm used to seeing it spelled "Saami", but maybe that's a difference between Sweden & Finland, haha. I really like this hut, though. Thank you for the steps.

ChickenJo (author)2015-08-17

Awesome instructable! Also you have better English than about half the native English speakers I know.

daxxvondrachen (author)2014-08-31

This is so cool!!!! I saw some company at a trade show selling them for 20-30000$ But this could be built for less your way I'm sure. Your English was fine and no problem to understand and better than my Swedish I'm sure. I want to build one and trick it out big time....Thanks for the education

magnostags (author)2013-10-27

Awesome.. this just answered the feasable "fort" for the kids... I will be trying to build this over the summer. thanks.

pasojanice (author)2013-02-23

Your instructions were great! Love this concept and really liked the one I saw that was in the ground. Good idea for a prepper. Thanks so much!

AriedeB (author)2012-03-29

Makes me want to have a giant backyard.
I'd build 2 of them, one Sauna and one guest house ;)

Liked the instructable a lot.

Wasagi (author)2011-10-16

This is fantastic! It has that timeless appeal, and it's simple, I really enjoyed reading this instructable.

jsimonsen1 (author)2011-07-24


wæþelson (author)2011-07-09

good evening , i send my thanks for showing how to make this type of hut..truly goodly and kind of you.what are the messurements of the thin pieces of wood you had used to make the walls?

bless be well

Chin797 (author)2011-05-30

Love the idea, I'm working on a plan to make a couple of these and connect them together, to make a sort of house for in the summers with friends, and put some electrics in it for light a tv and more, of course with a big Sami in the middle for tv and stuff like that.

Keep going on like this, because this is such a great design.

hhostel (author)2011-05-19

This is REALLY cool! Now I gotta show it to my husband so he can build us one in East Texas Piney Woods! I love this design! Thanks for sharing!

kimpappa24 (author)2010-12-27

I recently completed this project for a christmas gift. its alot more work than it seemed to be but im very happy with the end results. in total it cost me about $430 american dollars. i bought everything i needed at Home Depot besides basic tools like screwdrivers and saws. i think it tool apr. 30 hours to build total. we did do it in the winter so it was quiet cold and if done in the summer it would have been more fun and leisurely. we are going to add onto it and make it to our preferences like making the door come out instead of in and figuring what stain we want, ect. overall it was awesome and thnx for the plans!

Rabarbervin (author)kimpappa242011-03-28

I would love to see some pics of your building!

kimpappa24 (author)Rabarbervin2011-03-31

I'd love to show some..were do i upload them?

Vinsu (author)2011-03-27

In Finland we call these "kota"s. This is by far one of the most beautiful ones I've seen.

Rabarbervin (author)Vinsu2011-03-28


Quinn Z. (author)2011-03-19

This looks very challenging

sta2butler (author)2010-12-01

very nice!!!!

Kohler (author)2010-06-16

most of sami's live in finland -.-

big trav (author)2010-06-12

That is awesome, I want one!! the missus would shoot me if I built that though instead of the kids cubby house. Well done it looks cool!

larksid7 (author)2010-06-07

this teepee could be covered in pieces \of junk sheet metal which is easy to find and then stccoed and painted...needs a vent to at top or near it for ventilation....and of course it needs to be insulated

CHIEFGR8TWOLF (author)2010-03-03

Has anyone tried to build this yet? If so tell us of any issues you may have encountered. I am looking into my local building code requirements before proceeding. But after looking at this Instructable I have been drawing my plans up for presenting to the codes office. I will be adding a dormer and breezeway at the door, building a 3 foot vertical base wall for better headroom, an enclosed  wood / coal stove for control of the temperature, and lastly I will be extending two walls to give it an oblonged shape instead of a round one. It will look more like a Long House than a Tepee.  Thanks for starting me on my way.

Chiefgr8twolf , I am a Native American (Conoy Tribe), gotta love it just like anyone out there we should all be proud we belong to the "Human Race."

It feels great to be able to make a building that influence you and other to build one of their own.
I would LOVE to see some pics of your building when you start building it!


Rabarbervin (author)Rabarbervin2010-03-04

By the way... what´s a "dormer and breezeway"?

urwatuis (author)2010-01-22

I think the base or sill should be pressure treated lumber as it will get wet quite frequently. Nice idea overall

Rabarbervin (author)urwatuis2010-01-22

It is!
Though i didnt mention it in the instructable.

Will fix this!


geros59 (author)2009-11-21

In case of using your project as a sauna, would you need other kind of protection for the wood? I mean, with the steam the wood could be ruined, wouldn't it? which one would you recommend?

rbenkhe (author)2009-04-30

First off...anyone picking on this guys use of a word, should take a close look at how rudely they belittled the guy. Come on, grow up and stop acting like the class bully who picks on the foreign kid. Second off...FABULOUS JOB ....I am building one in sections so that it can be moved from location to location on a flatbed trailer. I have designed it to connect together internally with some Z brackets and externally with some "office divider panel connectors" that I am picking up from Bakers@work in Cambridge ontario. They are a hammer in plastic connector that works fine in the summer but will probably be replaced with someing else for the winter. As a modular unit, I do not need a building permit if I put it up on our property, and the floor deck will be modular as well so that I can set it up anywhere and still be high and dry off the ground. I will post pictures when I am done. Thanks for the inspiration God Bless Pastor Robert Benkhe Killaloe, Ontario, Canada

JakeOlsan (author)rbenkhe2009-11-20

 Word. This guy made a great Instructable in his second or possibly third language, that is super respectable. It would still be great even if it were in pidgen. 

dustyplans (author)2009-10-07

VERY COOL.   Do you need to insulate this??

SETHARMSTRONG (author)2009-08-16

really love this.... plan on building one for myself... what was the cost???

I made it from reprocessed wood from torned down houses and other buildings so the cost for this building was almost nothing. But i´m building one now for a friend with everything bought from store and it looks to be just under 30 000 kronas wich is around 4000 Amerikan dollars. Bear in mind that this is Swedish prizes... maby it´s cheaper where you live?

right... i think i can get ahold of all the wood for the skin for free so really i just need the 2x4s and 2x6s... thanks

tlowery04 (author)2009-06-03

your comment about the fish has me wondering... could this be viable as a smoke house?

Rabarbervin (author)tlowery042009-06-04

Yep! I know of smaller ones that is used as a smoke house, but you could off course use my hut as well, but i doubt you have the amount of fish and meat to smoke that would need the size like this... i would scale it down if i wanted to make it for smoking fish and meat.

tlowery04 (author)Rabarbervin2009-06-06

yeah i think i would have to cut it down by roughly 1/2 to 2/3 just to start with, however i do really like this design and it might have a full size sister structure in the woods in Oklahoma some time soon.

jamesdouglastx (author)2009-06-04

I think that the middle picture should be labeled 135 degrees instead of the 45 shown. Saying this just in case someone needs that angle.

wobbler (author)2009-06-03

They can mock you all they like on your english, but they can't mock you on your design! Great job, I want one!

thelame1 (author)2009-05-14

Your english is very good. A very interesting building.

meginski (author)thelame12009-05-28

This is great! I only wish I had some place to build one.

isabellayessi (author)2009-05-26

so cool.I will try to do this when I have my own house and not renting.It looks so fun and is like a tree house.

Yes! It´s simple to build and doesnt cost so much to build.

unclejack (author)2009-05-07

Great looking project, I have a small camping hut back in the woods, but this might be a new project! Thanks for the idea.

brenryan (author)2009-05-02

Excellent Instructable. What's with all the irrelevant comments? I am so fed up of people getting offended on other peoples behalf. Acting so PC, its absolutely ridiculous.

tbor62 (author)2009-05-01

Do you have any more photos of the interior, and any instructions on how to build the circular bench? P.S. I voted for your entry.

Tommyhzy (author)2009-04-16

Please do not use the word "Eskimo", it is a racial slur as unfriendly as the "N*****" word. Please change the word to "Inuit", as that is what they prefer to call themselves and it is the official term. Awesome concept though!

Rabarbervin (author)Tommyhzy2009-04-16

The primary reason that Eskimo is considered derogatory is the FALSE perception that it means eaters of raw meat.There are two different etymologies in scientific literature for the term Eskimo. The most well-known comes from Ives Goddard at the Smithsonian Institution , who says it means Snowshoe netters. Quebec linguist Jose Mailhot, who speaks Innu-aimun (Montagnais) (which Mailhot and Goddard agree is the language from which the word originated), published a definitive study in 1978 stating that it means people who speak a different language.

Tommyhzy (author)Rabarbervin2009-04-16

OH, Sorry. I might have misunderstood. I live in Canada, and speaking to native Inuit in person, this is what they told me. Maybe other types of first nations people take that word a different way.

leprasmurf (author)Tommyhzy2009-04-16

Just because you speak to a specific selection of people, doesn't mean you're an expert. ( do some research. Calling the people you know Eskimo, as opposed to Inuit would be closer in nature to someone calling a person from Puerto Rico, Mexican. It's not a racial slur, it's a matter of different regions and different people.

leprasmurf (author)leprasmurf2009-04-25

my turn to apologise. I thought you were being sarcastic with your apology. I realised my mistake after reading some of your other posts below. Sorry to jump on ya.

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