Tools and supplies for thatched roofs

For thatching a thatched roof the tiler needs special tools and consumable supplies, which we present you in the following paragraphs.

Tools

Before the tilers can start thatching or repairing a thatched roof, they need except for the roofing materials also a number of special tools:


Knives and reed cutters
Knives and reed cutters served in the past for shortening the stalks. The blades were manufactured from scythe sheets and provided with a handle. Nowadays the reed tilers usually use hedge clippers.

Breaking check mark
The breaking check mark is used to tear old reed cladding off and consists of a bent blade which is screwed together with a wood handle.

Knocking board, driver
An important aid for the thatching of thatched roofs is the knocking board, a board made of wood or aluminium, the length of which is up to 22 x 40 cm and which is provided with many recesses and with a handle and an awl at the top side. With the knocking board the roof skin is just knocked and the thatching material taken to a slippery surface, so that a better tension of the stalks can be created. The knocking board in the roof can be hanged up at the awl.

Deck chairs and run tree
Deck chairs are an important aid to move on the roof fast and with certainty. Reed tilers usually use two of these deck chairs, so as to be able to work without problems on the whole roof.

A deck chair usually consists of a stand space with three to four treads and has the form of a short ladder. At the underside there are pitons which are being hung underneath so as to prevent a slipping off. In the past were being used in addition to that run trees that are tree-trunks which are 4-6 m long and had been stuck with pitons behind the roof lathing.

Stuffing boards
Stuffing boards should not be mistaken for today's knocking board. The straw and reed tiler needed it in the past for interfacing and repairing small faulty spots in the roof. 

Hem stick, hold stick, blade of grass, Schägt or slaughter
One of the simplest aids to the low hold of reed and straw for sewn roofs is a planed lath which has to be as long as possible and to the one of its ends a bent handle (in the past often the top of a cow horn) is attached. That is called hold stick or hem stick. Many tilers use instead of the hem stick a galvanized full beam (rod wire) and farm hands today.

Hem check mark, farm hand, roof check mark
Hem check marks, also called farm hands, are at the upper end bent iron sticks (in the past wood sticks) of about 35 to 55 cm; to their lateral edges are attached barbs. They don not only serve as provisional fastening from open reed bundles but also for the adherence of the hem stick or rod wire. So as to be removed, the farm hands are being turned by 90° and pulled out again.

Spools
A spool is a kind of wheel, on which wire is spooled. With the help of a farm hand the spool is positioned in the reed, so that the tiler can easily unreel the required wire.

Flat-nose pliers, wire pliers and bolt pliers
The flat-nose pliers has flat pliers shoes and is used for the adherence of the attachment. The wire pliers have sharp pliers shoes and with the help of the wire pliers the reed bundles are cut open and the binding wire shortened. With the bolt pliers the rod wire or instep or hem wire is being entended.

Turned and straight binding needle with eyelet or barb
The binding needle with eyelet has usually a length of 60-75 cm and is forged by round-bar iron of 8 -10 mm and provided with a handle (in the past a cow horn top). It is used for bound and for sewn roofs and serves by the binding process to draw the binding wire through the reed up. At the bent binding needle the needle is bent to the lower end. The ends are levelled to the ground and provided with an eyelet, through which the binding wire is threading. This can also happen with the help of a barb.

Round needles
The round needle is mainly used for bound roofs. It usually has a diameter of 30 -45 cm, is manufactured from a strong round-bar iron of 8 -10 mm, is levelled at the end and mostly provided with an eyelet. The binding wire is drawn by the round needle under the laths through the surface layer.

Little ships
Little ships have a length of about 35 cm and are wrought-iron needles. A barb is forged behind the top of the little ships. 20-50 meters of binding wire can be wrapped on the shank of the little ship. The little ship is being mostly used in the German region Mecklenburg and makes this one dispensable. When one uses the little ship, he pushes it with the roof skin and when one touches it under the roof skin and the roof batten, it is drawn up again and binds so the shaft position.

Rödler, drill apparatus
The Rödler is an about 30 cm long apparatus with a plastic handle in which a milled spindle is placed with an automatic return pipe. There is a bent top at the end of the apparatus. For the screwed thatched roof the attachment is tightened by this apparatus.

Screw prolongations
Screw prolongations are approx. 40 cm for bits, with which one screws at screwed thatched roofs the screws into the roof battens. Screw prolongations are obtainable with Pozi (cross) and Assybits (Tolk).

To mention is the work clothing which includes now also the bend schooners. These should protect the trousers and particularly the bends of the reed tilers from injuries of the sharp edged gleans and additionally help at the process of squeeze binding the top layer together.

The reed tilers have always been working with this equipment in the same way. In the course of the time only small things have changed. Nowadays some of these tools are no longer being produced exclusively from wood but from metal, e.g. deck chairs made of light aluminum are available too.
But the tools still are manufactured by the reed tilers by themselves and are always unique prints.

Supplies

Rod wire, hem wire, shank
Rod wire is galvanized wire of 4 -8 mm which is used at the sewing or screwing of a roof. With the help of the rod wire the several reed layers are kept together with the sub-construction.

Binding wire
Binding wire is chrome nickel wire of 1.0, 1.4 mm which is used for binding, sewing or screwing. For the sewn and screwed roof the binding wire draws the rod wire to the sub-construction and retains so the several reed layers.