I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go…
Thatched roofs get holes in them. Especially at the very top of the roof at its ridge. Here’s the hole from the inside…
…and here it is from the outside:
The cap at the ridge of the roof has its fixings exposed to the weather. The wooden spars and sways (wooden rods) which keep the thatch will give way after a few years.
What’s a spar, you ask? Here’s a video of Justin making one:
Spars–sometimes called broaches–are like wooden staples securing thatch to the roof. These particular spars are made of hazel. They are relatively easy to make and each thatched roof in our re-created village should have hundreds and hundreds of them.
They’re weakest at the bend, however. That’s where they tend to fail. And that’s why roofs need their caps replaced more often than the coursework of thatch forming the pitch of the roof. There, the fixings are covered by the thatch.
Before we twist them, we soak them in water.
Once Justin has enough to keep him busy, it’s away to the roof with more cattail for the ridge.
Cattail, which we harvest in local marshes in the summer, is good for caps because it folds over quite nicely. We’ll blog about our excursions to the marsh for thatching material in the coming weeks.
A couple days of work and a roof is newly capped. Until the next repair…
Rick and Sarah Whitehead, friends of The Riven Word, are doing some really amazing things on a mountain in Portugal, not the least of which is building a timber-framed house using locally gathered materials and riving 7000 chestnut shakes! We encourage you to visit their blog: