Work begins at Parlaunt school in Slough

I am delighted to start work on a roundhouse at Parlaunt school in Slough. The build started briskly and I was really pleased to get the walls and door frame up in the first two days. This week I will begin work on the rafters.


If you would like to see how this build should progress take a look at the quick animation on the following page.  Roundhouses 



Sad times and a new impetus

I apologies for my lack of posts recently; but to be frank our lives have been in absolute turmoil.

On the 26th of February this year my 7 year old daughter lost her two year battle with Acute lymphoblastic Lymphoma a relapse to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and finally after her bone marrow transplant she suffered for 5 months with Adino Virus (cold virus) and possibly HLH (Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis). She eventually died of multiple organ failure after a contracting a type of Pneumonia.

Emily was a bubbly vibrant, dancing, singing, butterfly, rainbow and Nature loving little girl who bravely and stoically faced her gruelling treatment, we are so so proud of her and absolutely devastated by our loss.

Throughout Emily’s treatment I intended to do something to raise money for cancer patients and research. After my sisters successful fund raising efforts at Blenheim Triathlon last year we have decided to take part together on the 02 June. We have a just giving page set up capablebrown4emily.  It would be great if you could donate at least a little to this valuable cause.



Heathlands Roundhouse

Made a visit to heathlands school today to deliver some hurdles for there roundhouse project, the thatch has faded to a lovely grey colour, birds have disturbed some of the thatch around the edges, otherwise looking very good. The chalk walls have not cracked at all, which shows the excellent work of the students in completing the walls.


Shingle / Shake making

Ive been meaning to post this for a while, Learned to make radial split and bastard shingles back in 2008 when I was helping to build the viking longhouse at The Ancient technology centre in Cranborne. I made and attached over 5000 shingles to the roof, this may seem like a lot but there were well over 25000 shingles on that roof. I have since taught two members of the Dorset coppice group (David Ewers and John Sweeny) to make them for the Dark ages build at Upton country park. In theory we can now meet quite large orders if people would like them. £60/m2

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Remove sap wood, this can also be done earlier in the process before splitting with cleave break.


when edge not straight or too thin this should be removed shingles we find a minimum width of 2 inches about right.


P1000151if the source isn’t flat this can be removed either with the axe or a draw knife the axe works better and is faster, best to minimise this as cutting across the grain too much reduces longevity.



Shingles are 40cm long and should overlap by two thirds to make up 1 meter squared we laid ours ours out on a meter square and then piled these shingles up like this 16 layers = 1 meter squared.

Good luck with your shingle / shake making.

If all goes well I will be at the Stock Gaylard woodfair next weekend demonstrating, come and see me at my stand.