Mine has flattened horseshoe nails in the head, each acts as a mini
hammer on the butts of the (Norfolk) reed dressing it into position,
it is swung like an axe in the direction of the length of the reed.
A manorial inventory of1 1100 has a drawing of almost exactly
the same tool, cuts in the face, metal rings, even cast aluminum are
Used to restrain the edge of the thatch you are working on and as a
temporary fastener usually 4-6 are used. Can have a hole drilled into
the sharp end and used as a stitching needle. Most common use is to
locate the centre of rafters to apply fasteners and measure thickness
by scribed marks.
3) Shearing Hook
Mainly a combed wheat reed tool, the blade has two compound curves
on its sickle shape, one from point to handle, the other from back to
front of the blade. Difficult to describe how it is used, the effect
is to shave off the very end portion of the whole roof.
Not really a tool but often used as one as a temporary fastening, a
split quadrant of hazel sharpened at each end an twisted in the middle
into a 'harepin' shape.
5) Eaves Knife
General purpose thatch cutting tool but mainly for cutting the eave
and gable on straw roof's probably derived from a rick trimming knife.
Some use an eaves hook, this has a curved blade.
6) Side Rake
Heavy duty rubbish removing rake from the face of long straw, also
used to compact the roof, mine is a natural bent hazel branch with 3"
7) Sheep Shears
Trimming odd little bits of material, just large scissors
8) Spar Knife
Lighter than a billhook it is used to split hazel to the correct size
and then point and trim spars, liggers etc. mine is only ever sharpened
one side so that it acts better as a plane.
9) Spike/Thatching Nail
Again used as a permanent fixing but frequently employed as a tool
to temporally hold courses in place. 6" to even 18" long.
Most thatchers could operate with such a toolkit plus usual woodwork
tools, the designs have stood the test of time with some variations to
suit local style of thatching. Names and styles vary according to
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