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Author Topic: Thatching Spars
Ken Hume
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Posts: 431
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Post Thatching Spars
on: January 9, 2015, 17:52
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A pollarded hazel woodland boundary hedge needed to be cut to faciliate the movement of a local farmers combine harvester up the lane beside the hedge. Rather than simply let the farmer shred this hedge it was decided to harvest 5 year old hazel rods and use these to make thatching spars and other coppice products like bean poles and peak sticks.

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Andrew Jarvis - a local hedge layer was given the hazel rods in exchange for providing the service to re pollard the hedgerow.

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Once the hazel rods were cut these were cut to length with the tops being laid aside to serve the pea stick market.

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The short rods were taken back to Andrew's woodworking shed where these were split and worked up into thatching spars using a billhook to split and point the spars.

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The spars were then delivered to the thatcher who bent these into "hairpins" that were driven into the thatched ridge using same to hold the thatching liggers in place.

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This cooperative venture has demonstrated that multiple benefits can be derived (woodland owner / coppice worker / thatcher / house owner / Chilterns AONB) by starting to rework and utilise this long forgotton woodland asset and in so doing maintain and develop local coppice woodworking skills, i.e. one of the very necessary craft techniques needed to maintain the traditional woodland, hedgerow and building features that can be seen and is aesthetically valued by all in The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty today.

Ken Hume - OWG

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