Slate Roofs

GPS: 49°49'36.480"N 17°43'0.181"E – map


Over the miners' houses at the foot of the Moraberg hill towers the heap of the Carl Mine. In 1885, ground water broke into all the mines under the Moraberg hill. If the mines were to be further operated, it was necessary to reduce the level of underground water. At that time, the mining pit was already about 60 meters deep, and pumping the water out of it would extremely complicated, arduous, and costly. But Carl Weisshuhn wanted to keep this unusually profitable mine running at all costs. For that purpose, he had a 400 m long drainage tunnel dug heading west. The tunnel led into the woods on the left bank of the Moravice river. The waste material created during the excavation of the tunnel now makes up the heap over the Melecký Mill.

The plan worked, and the operation of the profitable mine continued until 1908 (at that time 80 m deep).



After 2000, the mine served as a training ground for rescuers and mine rescuers. In 2003, one mine rescuer accidentally fell into the pit and did not survive the 80 m fall.  He became the last known victim of the local slate mines. Following the accident, the Ministry of Environment, which is the administrator of old mines in the Czech Republic, covered the mine with a thick concrete slab with a memorial table.



"Roofing is both a craft and art. Therefore, a roofer is not a mere craftsman, but also a true master artist. In the near future, it shall not be unusual if the ranks of master roofers – asphalters would be joined by persons with secondary and even tertiary education. The future will be theirs; they will hold leading positions in the new, young generation of pioneering roofers – asphalters. The more, the better – the better for this art craft."

J. M. Řihák 1948



Slate roofing is usually placed onto roof boarding and less often onto roof battening. The boarding is made of planks 120 – 150 mm wide and 20 – 26 mm thick. Wider boards deform during drying, and so they are not suitable for this purpose. Natural slate is supplied as unsorted scales and shaped bricks, both perforated and non-perforated. Unsorted scales must be sorted by size before use. Then they are marked with spots and perforated accordingly. Sorting, marking, and perforation are done directly on the spot. For sorting, a special sorting board is used. From the unsorted scales, the roofer picks plates of different heights (regardless of the width), each no more than ½ cm higher. The selected plates are then placed face-up on the sorting board next to each other as a template for further sorting. Sorting must be done carefully as it affects the overall design and appearance of the resulting roofing.



IDOL (MODLA) is a small board with two nails in it. When laying plates, the distance between the nails is reduced by the overlay of the previously placed plate. For example, when using 29x29 cm plates, the overlay is 7 cm and the distance between the nails 22 cm.

SAWHORSE SCISSORS are slate scissors fixed into a sawhorse. This tool is used for cutting slate plates. 

BEAK ANVIL is a small iron anvil with a spike to be rammed into wood. It is used as a base for perforating and cutting slate plates.

CHISEL is a thin wedge made of good steel. It is used to split or wedge slate plates. 

ROOFING HAMMER is a flat hammer made of quality steel. Ii is used for perforating, cutting, and shaping plates and for hammering nails.


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