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Thatch Panels

  • Thatch Panels at Forever Bamboo

    It used to be that, when thatch panels were needed to construct a roof or walls, it would take a village to craft the traditional building material. According to Guampedia, the work was so labor-intensive and required so many hands, thatching parties would be held to get the job done. Starting practically at first light, friends, family, and neighbors would arrive at the host's house to begin work. Similar to a barn raising, a thatching party was a social event with a festive atmosphere that included not only singing and feasting, but also indulgence in drinking, cigars, and tobacco, elements that were likely absent from traditional barn raisings.

    The leaves used to create panels of thatch had already been gathered, so the volunteer workers were able to dive right in, stripping leaves from stems and folding and sewing them over reeds. Those pieces were bundled together and dried in stacks before they could be used. The roofs of even small abodes required a minimum of 500 panels, illustrating the need for many hands at day-long thatching parties when a new home was to be built or fresh thatch was required to repair or replace older roofs, which might be necessary every 1 to 2 years or so.

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