A question arose from a visitor to the website about the relative merits of ridging in sedge and straw.
Most thatchers would agree that sedge will last longer than straw.
However the components of a ridge are the skirts which hang down each side and out of which the thatcher cuts the ridge design; the saddle which fits over the top and hangs down both sides over the skirts; and the decorative criss-cross pattern-work and straight horizontal strips of wood which give the ridge a diamond pattern.
Unfortunately it is generally the latter which wears first because both the skirts and saddle are held in place by twisted hazel pieces of wood and these will eventually break at the twist.
The result is the sedge or straw becomes loose and eventually a new ridge will be needed whether the ridge is done in sedge or straw. I am also assuming that all other factors are equal (i.e.the craftsmanship is good) whether straw or sedge is used and that the ridge is of a good steep pitch.
The saving of sedge over straw is when the ridge is re-renewed in that most of the existing sedge can be re-used, whereas the straw will have to be got rid of – although this saving is usually made by the thatcher and not the client as the thatcher will still charge for a standard re-ridge and say the saving on sedge is negligible.
We find that no matter how well sedge is cleaned by the marshman and then the thatcher, it tends to shed and curl up at the cut of the ridge and makes the ridge untidy.
We therefore use straw on the skirts and sedge on the saddle, which over 25 years we have found to be the best solution.