Making Thatch Spars

The process starts in the woodland, preferably managed coppice, where the hazel grows from the stool and it takes about 7 years to get to the right size.

Sticks are cut from the woodland using a hand tool like a bill hook, and then sawn to the correct length for spars, to make the spar gads.

The gad is then taken and split, using a spar hook along the natural grain of the wood.  Each gad is split into the appropriate number of spars.  Gads may be split into fours, sixes, eights up to even  sixteen’s.  The higher numbers are for the more skilled spar makers

Each split spar is then given 3 points using the spar hook which is very, very sharp.

Spars are normally bundled up and tied with cord or string and sold by the thousand.

The thatcher uses spars by twisting them to form a U shaped peg which is used as a fixing for coat work and ridges.  The spars are not bent but skilfully twisted to form a twisted spar.

Several thousand spars are needed for ridging, as they are also used as pegs and often liggers for the ridge and eave patterns.

Click here to see a video of a thatching spar being made.



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