The roofing square

Friday 7th July 2017



The course

The use of the roofing square is a fundamental skill of carpentry. Learn how to line out and cut the softwood timber rafters for lean-to, gable and hipped roofs. This day will help demystify this essential carpenter’s tool. There are a large number of variations on how to use the square and we will follow a late 19th/20th century method using the square to generate all lengths and bevels, without using any rafter tables, ready reckoners, or electronic devices. Imperial measurements are used during the day, but metric conversion is explained.

The tutor

Joe Thompson of Sussex Oak & Iron is carpenter in residence at the Weald & Downland Living Museum. He teaches a range of historic carpentry courses at the museum. He has developed a keen analytical eye and a scholar’s passion for following and interpreting the evidence along with a natural skill in teaching.

Participant information

The course will be limited to 12 participants. Practical clothing and a pair of safety boots are required. Stills photography and note taking is encouraged. Video photography is not permitted. All necessary tools will be provided, but participants can bring along any tools and reference books if they wish. We will work on a model roof, in the Museum’s Downland Gridshell building.


£115 per person for full participation in the workshop, to include teas, coffees and a light lunch.

Useful websites

The Museum

The Weald & Downland Living Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits. It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses. The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.


Please read our terms and conditions before booking.