Re-Thatching the ridge on our cottage.

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Camile
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Re-Thatching the ridge on our cottage.

Post: #42505 Camile
Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:36 pm

Hello,

Here is a small article on the art of thatching if some of you are interested.

It's not as green as can be because the reed has to be imported from Turkey or Poland due the amount of nitrate in the irish rivers, that makes the irish reed not strong enough for that kind of job.

We recently had to redo the ridge of the roof (every 5-6 years), even though the roof itself needs redoing every 20-25 years because they are now using reed that lasts much longer than straw.

So here is a picture of it before any work started (this picture is actually from a year before):
Image

This is a flush ridge so there isn't a big difference of thickness between the thatch itself and the ridge.

The first thing to do was to setup some sort of scaffolding:
Image

The best would have been to scaffold all around the house so you wouldn't have to dismantle everything and reassemble it when doing the hip and back side of the roof.

Then we had to remove the old ridge (it's incredible the amount of reed used in that part of the roof).
Image

Then you had to cut the bundles of reed at more or less the length required to be able to work properly from the scaffolding (these are 4ft):
Image

Our roof being a really old one (200-300 years old), the method used for thatching is with scollops, that you twist and bend to make some sort of U shape, and you basically push them through the thatch in order to hold the metal bar or thick wire, that is used to attach the reed onto the roof (the old way of doing it is with some hazel stick, but wouldn't last as much):
Image

Then it's time to redo the ridge itself:
Image

We used thin wire in between the metal bar (one underneath the reed, and one on top) allowing you to "compress" the reed and allow it to stay in place. This includes loads of "fishing" through the reed to find the bar underneath.
Image

You need to tie it a bit first, just enough so that the bundle stays in place, then you undo the bundle, dress the reed as required, and only then you can tie it strongly. And believe me, a gale force 10 wouldn't get any bit of reed off the roof.

Once the whole roof is done, and the very top part of the ridge is dressed and fully finished. It's time to trim it so that it looks good.

What we did was a block ridge instead of a flush ridge, that makes it stand out more (about 5cm), and the difference of color makes it look great.

We used roughly 120 bundles of reed to redo the whole ridge, and god knows how many scollops and meters of wire.

I will edit this post once I have a picture of the finished roof.

Camile

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Post: #42508 Shirley
Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:20 pm

Great pictures... I think it's fascinating to see how such roofs are constructed.

Your cottage is adorable!!
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Camile
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Post: #42509 Camile
Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:26 pm

It is fascinating indeed !

and the best part is that he showed me everything for the ridge .. and his taking me "under his wing" for the next roofs he does because he kept on repeating that it was great to be the 2 of us on the roof .. you get the job done so much quicker .. and it will definitely saves us money on the long run .. because I will be able to do it myself the next time !

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Post: #42510 red
Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:15 pm

excellent. - and learning a skill into the bargain :mrgreen:
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Post: #42721 Boots
Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:48 pm

WOW! That was Excellent Camille! We don't have those roofs here, I don't think... Really, really cool. So the same principle could be used for fences then? I have wondered for some time how to get that effect, and am now wondering if we have the reed stuff. I guess we would have something like it. Will have to keep my eyes out.

Thanks heaps for sharing it.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz


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