I have grown up with thatched roofs in my mental landscape, perhaps not exactly in the middle of Copenhagen but definitely knowing they were there in the smaller towns and villages, out and about. I saw this project being underway while visiting my mom on Reersø over the last couple of days, and I had to take the dog for a walk to investigate.
I learned lots over the 30 mins or so I spent talking to the main guy on the roof. For instance that the reeds used for thatching are wild growing, the ones he was using here were from the Turkish coast line around the Black Sea, he prefers these. In Reersø there are many old buildings with thatched roofs, some of them sporting reeds from Rumania, Ukraine - potentially other places too.
The constantly working partner of the two, using the clapper to smooth out the ends of the reeds. The trick is to be able to have as minute a portion of the side of each reed sticking out as possible, that way the roof deteriorates much slower. The clapper has a sheet of metal on the side that touches the reeds.
Using the 'needle' a metal tool which looks a lot like a horse shoe, originally used to 'sew' the rope around the bunches of reeds as they are fastened to the rafters underneath. It seems to me smaller ones of the same type are used in leather work, saddle making etc.
He is only letting a bit of air in amongst the tightly packed reeds, a modern roof thatcher uses a drill and metal line to fasten the bunches into the rafters instead of around the rafters.
Bunches of short reeds, harvested and brought to Denmark from Poland for the top part of the roof (and it has a special name but I have forgotten it) by the ever working one alongside Uwe, whom I spoke to.
Exciting textures for my weaving eye.
And Uwe's first project in '92 he thatched the historical sheep house on Reersø, and has done many of the houses in the area since then.
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