Thatched Roofs

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by billk, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. billk

    billk Active Member

    Anybody got any good ideas on how to model these (in N scale)?
  2. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    I'm just guessing here, but it seems like it would be a good idea to use the same materials folks use when making reeds. (Twine, is it? or something like that?) Would be interested to see your results, whatever method you decide to try... :)
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have some articles, somewhere in my collection, on how to do it.
    I think they used plumber's hemp (probably illegal in the US ;) ). I'll see what I can find tomorrow.
    Do you have a picture of what you want to model?
  4. GNRail

    GNRail Member

    Would that be like sissle?? rope? That tan fibre rope that you see on cat scratching posts?

  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Love to see those articles 60103.

    Another material that would work well would be the green or tan hair sold in a little bag by WS. It's for making tall grass.

    Hey, my plumber used to sell that. He's in the Big House now. :D :D :D
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    How about those whisk brooms you see in craft stores? The local $ shop has them in a reasonably large size for the standard price.


    Attached Files:

  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I think that would be a little chubby for "N" and probably for HO, although it's hard to tell in a photo.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Some of the brooms that are meant to be crafts, rather than real brooms, get pretty fine. However, it is a suggestion aimed at actually replicating the full scale practice, rather than finding something to model it.

    The actual straw used in thatching is about the diameter of a drinking straw, so scaled down, you'd be looking at ~1/87 of 1/4"? The craft fur is probably a good suggestion, because if you wet it down with thinned glue, you will probably be able to "comb" it into an approximation of real thatch.

    Neat topic! Brings back memories of past vactions in England!

  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Ya, it would be neat to see how it turns out too!
  10. billk

    billk Active Member

    I don't have anything specific in mind (yet) - just thought it would be good for making a funky building of some sort. If the reeds are approx 1/4 inch diameter, that scales down to 0.0015625 of an inch in N scale (but what's a few thousandths?)

    Obviously I would need some sort of material to make the reeds from, and there's been a lot of good suggestions. But are the reeds gathered into bundles, which are then put onto the roof? What's used to hold a bundle together - rope or twine maybe? Are the bundles overlapped, similar to shingles?

    Color is another thing. From what I recall, they age to a dark gray color, maybe a little brown mixed in.

    Here's an interestting site that showed up on a web search:

    We could learn some new techiques from the war-gamers.
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    We sure can. I see he's got a big ole bag of that hemp there too. Did you see the corrugated roof at the bottom of this page?
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I visited the "Weald & Downland" open air museum when I was in England this past summer. The have an interesting display on thatching. The bundles are often tied together with more of the same - straw. They are then hooked on little iron hooks (like a bent nail) that is sticking out of a lathe running across the roof. Once hooked inplace, I think they were also tied down by weaving rope or cord under and over to attach them to the lathes. The subroof looks kind of like the grid you put up when installing a metal roof.

    The whole thing is then trimmed once the bundles are in place so you can no longer tell where one bundle ends and the other begins.

    I don't think any buildings that were in existance during the railroad years in North America (1840 to date) were thatched. England and Europe is another story of course. My aunt lives just up the road from a house that was built in 1320! That's almost 700 years ago!! :eek:

    Sounds like a cool project. Let's see some pictures when you decide what to do with the idea.

  13. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Bill,
    I made a thatched roof years ago using very thick 1/8" string. when it was unravelled, I rolled it with a wallpaper roller and starched it (Wife will tell you about the starch she uses in your collars when ironing :D) when the string has been ironed, it can be cut to shape and inlaid on the roof piece by piece. Looks effective.
  14. billk

    billk Active Member

    Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of Middle Earth in the Fourth Age (or later) .:D
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Coooool........ :cool: :p ;) :D :)

    Do the trains then belong to "the forces of evil", since they seem to go for all things infernal and mechanical ?

  16. billk

    billk Active Member

    No, the "forces" were defeated in the Third Age. The following Ages were peaceful, leading to such things as the development of railroads etc. Ain't history a wonderful thing when you can make it up yourself?
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Riiiiight... I missed that "Fourth Age" reference. Well, that should cut down on travel between the Shire and Minas Tirith... And think of the cool interchanges at the Grey Havens and other shipbuilding harbours in southern Gondor.

  18. George D

    George D Member

    Shamus, that sounds tedious – maybe that’s why you now model U.S. stuff – we keep things simple. :)

    I don’t know how they did it, but the Pendon Museum in England has done some beautiful thatched roofs on some of their buildings. Just take a look at their site to see what I mean.

  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have just been into my copy of Cottage Modelling for Pendon and he has 14 pages on building thatched roofs. He uses the plumber's hemp, says he used to use human hair. The hemp is rolled into bundles and then cut short and clumps are glued to the sub-roof.
    I don't think they'd appreciate my posting the pages here, and I don't think they'd post in a large enough form.
  20. billk

    billk Active Member

    Thanks a lot, 60103. That book must be about the same place (the Pendon Museum) that the web site is from that George posted. A great site, btw. Has anybody been there?

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