Home > Techo stuff > A new roof

A new roof

September 28, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

We’re being rethatched. And a very interesting procedure it is! But never fear – I’m not going to give you a straw-by-straw commentary. And while our expert thatcher is at it, he’s replacing many of the original roof timbers from 1860 (ish) which were hewn by hand from trees in the forest right here. The ‘good’ stuff which he leaves in place is extremely hard, almost defying his drill.

The thatch itself is Chinese these days. Why? Because local reed beds produce a much shorter stem which is more expensive to install – covering only half to 4/5ths of the area per bundle (see above).

So I’ll try to take some pics when it’s done – already a tribute to the craft.

Categories: Techo stuff
  1. O Zangado
    September 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    When I saw your piccie I thought, “That’s a pretty substantial thatch. How bad can the weather in Denmark be”, but then I realised what’s occurring. I’m all in favour of traditional crafts, my own stone-built garden walls being a case in point, and look forward to further updates.


  2. September 29, 2017 at 7:24 am

    OZ, in Derbyshire we had dry-stone walls which I enjoyed repairing (or trying to repair) from time to time.

  3. O Zangado
    September 29, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Mine are not dry stone, nor are they the usual cinder-block and cement core with a thin stone cladding. They are solid stone faced by hand from front to back and from foundations to capping. Some parts are nearly three metres high and they cost a fekkin’ fortune. I may be moved to post a piccie.


  4. September 29, 2017 at 10:58 am

    A moody morning start to the renovations……

    Does that ‘move’ you? 🙂

  5. September 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Talking about new roofs, I have a viewing for a place Sunday.

  6. September 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Good news, CT. Are you going for a home of character or one with all mod cons? 😉

  7. September 29, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    It’s only a rental. It’s a mid-century terrace house that’s in a good state of repair and well-appointed. Most importantly, it’s in DT1.

  8. September 30, 2017 at 8:04 am

    if it’s the one I found (!), it’s perfect!

  9. September 30, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I won’t disclose addresses — especially as I haven’t confirmed it yet. But if it works, I will stay in Dorset for years to come. Somehow, I fit in here better.

  10. October 1, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I get it, CT! I avoid publishing mine too. Welcome home, perhaps.

  11. October 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    It will have to be. My connexion to California is broken and I refuse to go to Germany again. I have nothing but Dorset at this point. Necessity is the mother of all invention.

  12. October 1, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    The viewing was a success. We will meet Wednesday afternoon to sign the papers.

  13. October 2, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Janus, how old is your house? From the pics, if it were In the UK I would assume it to be Tudor but is that the same in Denmark?

  14. October 2, 2017 at 7:08 am

    James, no, it’s mid-19thC. No stone hereabouts; local materials are timber, brick, tile and reeds, used extensively by ‘workers’ for their homes until the end of that century. Reeds for this house were sourced originally from a string of shallow lakes only a km. away; timber from the forest surrounding us. I believe that as forest workers they were allowed materials free-of-charge.

  15. October 2, 2017 at 8:35 am

    CT, excellent.

  16. Boadicea
    October 2, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Congrats Christopher. Nice place Dorset.

    That’s a pretty big job there Janus… but I guess it will last some time.

  17. October 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Boadicea and Janus: Thank you. It’s in southern Dorchester, thankfully not Poundbury, and is close to the countryside. It’s no more than 15 minutes walking distance to central Dorchester.

  18. October 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Boa, yes, it is likely to take about eight weeks in total, excluding rain breaks which after 3 weeks have taken up 4 working days. The thatcher works alone because the Danish employment regs/union rules make hiring occasional help impossible; and taking on an apprentice prohibitively expensive.

  19. October 3, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    And I’m back to the beginning again. The offer was rescinded at the last moment and I, with two full days left before leaving the UK for about a month, have no clue as to where I am to go upon my return. Reassuring.

  20. October 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

    That’s a shame. Maybe there’s a holiday let in the area which you could have at a fair rent during the off-season?

  21. Boadicea
    October 4, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Janus – why oh! why do Regs make taking apprentices expensive. Just where are the craftsmen to come from? When your thatcher goes – who will replace him?

    What a shame – the UK property laws are (in my opinion) appalling. A holiday let is not really what you want – but at least you will be in the area to grab whatever comes up.

  22. October 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Janus and Boadicea: I agree. In some jurisdictions once an offer is made — and accepted — it’s legally binding. I don’t expect special treatment or any favours from the world, but not getting constantly jerked around would be a pleasant change. The innkeeper “might” have something that would work short-term. He has some cottages that are used as overflow during peak season. Since we’re far from that I might get a discounted rate — without cleaning services or breakfast — on a week-by-week basis until I find something.

  23. October 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    That’s the kind of deal I had in mind, CT.

    Boa, whereas the thatcher himself gets paid per squ. m. of roof, contract by contract, an apprentice has to have a guaranteed monthly salary, rain and shine, winter and summer. So the fixed costs of the business rise without any guarantee of extra income. Our man, now about 55, is sure his generation is the last.

  24. October 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Another dull day, but progress continues. Almost topping out on the north side.

  25. Boadicea
    October 17, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Looking Good!

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