Building a Thatch Roof House: Full Bushcraft Shelter Build with Hand Tools | Saxon House


Building a Thatch Roof House: Full Bushcraft Shelter Build with Hand Tools | Saxon House

We build a bushcraft saxon house with thatch roof using just simple hand tools. Inspired by anglo saxons, this iron age bushcraft shelter was built by a father and son using natural materials found in the surrounding forest. We used spades to dig a deep pit which was to be the foundations for the bushcraft shelter. The saxons built their houses over pits so that they did not need so many materials for their roof, and also to maintain a consistent temperature inside all year round. We then added four foundation logs to form the perimeter of the house. Using a chisel, we made some simple mortise and tenon joints and built a basic post and beam timber frame structure. We used the drawknife to peel off the bark which helps prevents bugs from eating away at the wood and rotting it quicker. We burnt the ends of the posts that went in the ground using an ancient Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban. This helps to make the wood more rot resistant when it goes into the ground. We then made some rafters and attached these to the frame. For the walls of the house, we used hazel and birch sticks. These are flexible and bent around the upright supports. We sourced some clay and straw and mixed these together and put this on the hazel walls. This is also and ancient technique known as wattle and daub. Once the clay had set hard, we focused on building the front and rear gable ends of the bushcraft shelter. We built these with pine logs, and rather than use vertical logs we used them horizontal to make a more solid structure. This gave the appearance of a log cabin. Now that the whole frame was complete, we built the roof. For the roofing material we used water reed to thatch it. We attached the thatch using hazel spars and liggers and we lashed this to the frame.. Again, a very traditional building method. To cap the ridge off, we built a ridge roll of water reed and then used long straw to form an “A” shape over the ridge. This made sure that water would run off the roof and down the outside of the thatch. To make the structure warmer, we used moss to fill in the gaps in the wall logs. Later we will add clay to this to weather seal it. Once the thatch was on the roof, we dressed it smooth so water would run off easily.
This was a really fun bushcraft project which I did with my Dad. We built it over the period of a few months using basic building techniques, some diy and simple hand tools such as: axe, saw, chisel, spade, auger, drawknife and a few others. Thank you for watching.

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