Before entering into discussion of the method of erecting a tent, let us note a few of the common terms that are used. For instance, the long guys are the ropes used to sustain the center Pole. The short guys are the ropes that extend from the edge of the tent to the stakes. A section in a tent is the space between the ropes extending from the center of the tent to the edge of the tent. The wall pole holes are the holes at the edge of the tent, and at the end of the ropes extending from the bail ring to the edge of the tent. The rim rope is the rope put on to the tent at what would be called the eaves of a house. The lace rope is the rope used to lace sections of a tent together.
With this explanation, let us prepare to pitch a tent with round ends, and a splice between the round ends. And what will apply in this case will apply to large and small tents of this make—with a center pole, or poles, as the case may be. Most tents built for Seventh-day Adventists by the larger tent companies have two widths of cloth in a section. A 40-foot tent with this width of section has 14 sections in a round end, and a 50-foot tent has 17 sections in a round end. Let us consider a 40-foot tent, for example.
Determine where the center pole should be. Drive a stake into the ground temporarily and put a nail in the center. Hook the tapeline over this nail. The edge of the tent will be 20 feet from this stake. If the wall of the tent is 8 feet high, then extend the tapeline out 7 feet more, and set a stake so it will be at right angles with the second center pole of the tent. Then use mathematics and divide the circumference of a circle whose radius is 27 feet, or diameter 54 feet, by 14 spaces (the number of sections), and set the stakes temporarily for this circle. The first stake set and the last stake should be in a straight line with the center-pole stake. Sometimes there will be a little variation, owing to the stretching of the tapeline, or a little inaccuracy in handling the tapeline, but by going over this the second time, those little differences in the setting of the stakes can be easily cared for.
With the half circle laid out, then measure the splice, set the second center pole, and lay out the second circle of the tent the same as the first. The splice will always fit in without any difficulty whatever if the distance between the center poles is exactly the same as the width of the splice.
At this point the center poles should be set up. Each pole usually has three long guys, but four guys are far better. Each corner of a splice, or a round end, usually has a short small rope. These ropes are not to tie the corners together. Do I hear you ask, "What, then, are they for ?" We shall explain. Each of these corners has a wall pole hole, and in order to hold the tent together firmly, the wall pole should be put through both of these wall pole holes, and then the little rope can be used to hold the top section, or round end, as the case may be, to the pole—that is, in these wall pole holes. There should be holes in the wall poles about 8 inches below the edge of the tent. The short ropes that are placed in the tent wall should be put through a ring that is usually fastened into the rim rope and extended through this hole in the wall pole, and this rope should never be tied in a knot. It is not necessary, but, if it is put through this hole and then brought back halfway around and placed between the wall pole and the rope, it will hold without a knot. Then when the tent is taken down, it is very easy to unfasten.
A square tent is very easy to pitch. If the dimensions are not known, the first thing to do is to spread the tent on the ground. This will give the measurement of the sections in the tent. Set the short guy stakes out from the edge of the tent one foot less than the height of the wall. For example, if the tent wall is 7 feet, set the guy stakes out 6 feet. If the tent wall is 8 feet, extend them out 7 feet. This distance will give the best results.
The following suggestions may also be a help. In setting stakes, put them as straight into the ground as possible, but if it is thought best to put them on an angle, be sure they slant toward the tent. Sometimes small boys like to cut the short guys, but if a wire is properly woven into the rope, so that it cannot be seen, it will save the guy rope from being cut completely off, and will also dull the edge of the boy's knife.
The larger tentmakers attach the bail ring to the tent. This is called a "separable bail ring." This ring was first made in Battle Creek College shop, and can be had on any tent if specified when the tent is ordered.