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  1. #1
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    Default roofing shingles

    This YouTube video on the production of roofing shingles is interesting. I had an idea how these items were produced but had never seen an actual demonstration. I learned something.




    Making Roof Shingles With Hand Tools - YouTube

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  3. #2
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    I'm not certain but I think I saw Stan Ceglinski doing a similar demonstration at one of the woodworking shows many years ago. He showed how to make a few things using a froe and I reckon shingles were part of it. He made it look easy too.
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

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  4. #3
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    Yep. I also saw a bloke in Victoria, maybe Bendigo area, demonstrating it about 40 years ago.
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  5. #4
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    My Great Grand Mother was a post and rail splitter and split shingles for a bit of light relief. Only female in Qld I believe.

  6. #5
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    As a kid I used to watch my great uncles split shakes 60+ years ago.

    They always used what they called black wattle - presume it was acacia mearnsii - the bark was always kept for leather tanning and it was also regarded as the best firewood. Logs with 12-18 inch diameter were brought in from the bush, the bark was stripped off, then the logs were cut into 16" sections - locally shakes were always 16" long. Then they split the shakes using the halving method - their froes were like those in the video, except they used fairly large club hammers or the back of an axe rather than wooden mallets. Black wattle is hard, but splits quite straight.

    From memory, they used two cutting patterns - getting 16 shakes from smaller logs and 24 shakes from larger ones. Their method uses much less labour per shake than in the video - minimal cleaning up was done with an axe, never a draw knife - and they always cut around the centre pith. Shakes were 4-6 inches wide (varied) and when roofing, you made sure all joins were staggered. All offcuts were regarded as prized firewood. Logs were cheap, almost free, labour was in short supply.

    Shake Cutting Pattern.jpg

    The numbers refer to the order in which log was split.

    Larger logs were through split both sides of the centre pith and then quartered. In the middle bit, the pith was cut out, then both pieces were halved twice giving 4 shakes per side. The four quarter pieces were split 3" from one face, then halved twice giving 4 shakes per quarter. Total 16 shakes. Anything imperfect went in the firewood pile.

    Smaller logs were simply quartered, split 3" from a face, then each piece was halved twice, then any centre pith was cut out.

    At smoko, my grand mother would bring out tea and scones - and then get to work on the froe while her brothers rested. They always said more work would be done if she brought more tea!

  7. #6
    Boringgeoff is offline Try not to be late, but never be early.
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    Saw a bloke making them at the Steamfest, Sheffield, Tas' five or six years ago. I don't remember what the wood was but it split nicely.

  8. #7
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    Got an Inkling I had heard somewhere that Sheoak was used on occasion here in WA. Cant verify the veracity of this though.
    Johnno

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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Saxton View Post
    Got an Inkling I had heard somewhere that Sheoak was used on occasion here in WA. Cant verify the veracity of this though.
    I believe they were used in NSW too. Not sure where I heard that, maybe one of the historical villages we took the kids to many years ago.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexS View Post
    I believe they were used in NSW too. Not sure where I heard that, maybe one of the historical villages we took the kids to many years ago.
    Alex

    It may have been at Old timber Town near Wauhope as that is where I saw shakes made from She Oak demonstrated. They held the billet together with rope instead of the bicycle tube, which I think is better again. My impression has always been that shakes are the hand split item with bandsawn product called shingles. I was interested to note in the video that the hand split shakes absorbed less moisture and captured the tanins better than the band sawn product.

    At Old Timber Town the bloke used the froe to trim up the edges. The Casuarina Oaks split fairly easily. But in the video there was a huge amount of work to make even a single tile!

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  11. #10
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    Thanks Paul, I think you may be right about OTT.
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  12. #11
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    Default Spingle sh ting

    I read the post heading a few days back and ruminated on a reply.

    Was trying to recall the blokes name this morning and the Mrs said his wife Maree knitted lovely jumpers.
    He was a fellow member of the NSW Woodorkers Group.

    Anyho Rob Parker of Cockatoo Creek Timbers at Dundurrabin near Dorrigo.
    Rob split shingles in Casuarina and established the sawmill up there in the early 1980s.
    He worked with forestry and had great knowledge of the local species.

    Rob passed away recently, Leon Sadubin has written a nice tribute on the Wood Review site.

    Funny how this stuff repeats thereís a 2012 post re froes etc.
    H.
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushmiller View Post

    It may have been at Old timber Town near Wauhope as that is where I saw shakes made from She Oak demonstrated.
    My mother lived for her first ten years in the old homestead built by her Scottish great grandfather at Wauchope and it had a 'shingle' roof (and adzed wall slabs). She used the name 'forest oak' for the timber that was used to split the 'shingles' and said that the roof leaked because her g.grandfather used two nails to fix the shingles to the roof battens/purlins instead of one nail. If fixed with two nails the shrinkage in the shingle caused it to split between the two fixing points. That must have galled the old Scotsman to have the expense of twice as many nails than required and to end up with a leaking roof as a result of his profligacy!

    BTW, the blacksmith's shop at Timber Town is my g.uncle Dan White's that was moved there from town. I spent time in my childhood watching the blacksmiths in that workshop and it is a vivid memory.

    You might find his apprenticeship indenture, which I have attached, amusing...
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushmiller
    ... At Old Timber Town the bloke used the froe to trim up the edges. The Casuarina Oaks split fairly easily. But in the video there was a huge amount of work to make even a single tile! ...
    I also thought there was a crazy amount of time invested in a single shake. Great uncles would never have tolerated it, and their sister would have told them to get a move on ...

    Minimal tidying was done with the axe nad/or froe, never a draw knife. If a shake split poorly, had a knot or other defect it just went into the firewood pile. Their labour was in short supply, wood was plentiful and almost free.

    Their target was maximum number of shakes per man hour of labour.


    Quote Originally Posted by NeilS View Post
    ...She used the name 'forest oak' for the timber that was used to split the 'shingles' and said that the roof leaked because her g.grandfather used two nails to fix the shingles to the roof battens/purlins instead of one nail. If fixed with two nails the shrinkage in the shingle caused it to split between the two fixing points. That must have galled the old Scotsman to have the expense of twice as many nails than required and to end up with a leaking roof as a result of his profligacy! ...
    Thanks, Neil, brings back memories that I thought I had lost!

    The G Uncles also used a single nail near the centre of each shake - they were also frugal Presbaterians. Because of the way shakes overlapped, this meant the nail went into the minimal space between the two lower shakes. The next layer of shakes overlapped the nails and hid them. The uncles used heavy galvanised clouts.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I'm not certain but I think I saw Stan Ceglinski doing a similar demonstration at one of the woodworking shows many years ago. He showed how to make a few things using a froe and I reckon shingles were part of it. He made it look easy too.
    You're correct. I saw him doing it at a Melbourne Show some years ago.
    Tom

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  16. #15
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    Thanks for the follow-up posts. Seems there's a few "shingle" memories in the WWF community.

    I found the video interesting was because I had a picture in my mind that the shingles were split into thin triangles and laid with the thin end towards the roof ridge and the thicker end towards the gutter. Now I know better.

    I loved Neil's recollection about his GG-grandfather's use of two nails per shingle. Definitely sound like something I'd do - two nails must be better than one - double the holding power.

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