Re-building a turf barn at Tyrfingsstaðir farm
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Re-building a turf barn at Tyrfingsstaðir farm

The round inside of the barn required the Klambra to be cut with enough of an angle so that they can be firmly pushed together with no gaps. These gaps would create weak areas in the wall which could lead to collapse or failure of the structure.

Turf Building & Potential in Scotland
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Turf Building & Potential in Scotland

However easy Helgi make it seem I realise that there is a tremendous level of experience needed behind turf building especially in the choice of areas/conditions to excavate turf from and the design of the structure being built. I will experiment with interested volunteers but greatly look forward to the opportunity of involvement with the turf building restoration planned for Glencoe and appreciate the links made by this course with other potential turf builders in Scotland.

Turf Times – My turf building experience
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Turf Times – My turf building experience

Much like in Scotland, turf building is in serious decline, this leads to a skills shortage and a danger that the skills might eventually be lost.
The beauty of turf building is that it has evolved over generations in response to factors such as the socioeconomic
changes, materials shortage and the effects of the everchanging climate climate.

Thankfully, the work that Skagafjörður Heritage Museum is doing, helps to keep the skills and knowledge alive.

Icelandic Turf Building – Tools and their uses.
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Icelandic Turf Building – Tools and their uses.

What is sometimes forgotten though is that for traditional trades to be carried out in a truly traditional way they rely on the correct tools being available. This is felt in the UK – at present a number of tool making crafts feature on the Heritage Crafts Association ‘Red List of Endangered Crafts’. This is not an issue unique to the UK. It became apparent that sourcing replacement parts for the Icelandic turf building tools, the turf scythe in particular, was a challenge

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