Well, the way we are doing it anyway, there are lots of different ways of doing this, the following is the method we are using…
Shingles are a sort of wooden roof tile, we need quite a few for our building, around about 15000, luckily we have lots of help from our volunteers, otherwise this would be an almost impossible task.
Ours are made by cleaving locally produced coppiced sweet chestnut, the trees are grown and harvested within a couple of miles of the project site.
First of all suitable material is selected out of the lengths of coppiced timber.
This is then cut into foot long blanks.
These blanks are squared up by splitting off the outer sapwood using a froe and a hide hammer, the same tools are then used to split the individual shingles off the prepared block.
The shingles then go over to the shave horses where the first job is to square up the sides using a side axe.
Next the face of the shingle is worked with the drawknife whilst it is held in the shave horse, this ensures the shingles will sit together snugly on the roof. We try not to work the side which is exposed to the weather so as to keep the grain of the wood intact, this should mean the roof will have a longer lifespan.
The leading edge of the shingle then has a bevel put on it, this helps it shed water.
When you have done ten they are tied up with baler twine and the bundle goes on the stack.
Wood which doesn’t make it into a finished shingle is bagged up as kindling to be used for firelighting.
I find it quite a theraputic task, its nice to get chance to be out in the wood’s listening to the world go by and utilising wood which came from the coppice stools that are regrowing all around you.