© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations

Coconut Roofing Beams

Coconut trunks provide good, hard, straight and strong roof timbers.

First the tree has to be cut down this is often done by a specialist picker who is skilled in climbing up the tall trunk.

The builder will have given him the measurements of the lengths for the roofing beams and he carries up with him a length of coconut rope of the appropriate size. When he reaches the frond he first cuts these off and drops them to the ground. He then attaches  two long pieces of rope to the top of the remaining trunk and drops them to the ground. Next he measures off the required length of trunk using his measured length of guide rope. He descends to the end of this measure and starts making the cuts for the first section. He works around the trunk making these cuts with his adze.

When enough cuts have been made he descends the tree and the assistants pull on the long ropes attached to the top to the trunk until the first measured length falls to the ground.

The climber then ascends to the top of the remainder and repeats the process to cut the second length and so on until the trunk has been felled completely.

All these sections are then collected up and another skilled man comes to split the trunks into the roofing beams.

See You Tube videos of these two stages of forming the coconut roofing beams:

“Dramatic Felling Coconut Trees for Roofing Beams”


“Adze shaping roof beams”


Cutting down a coconut tree

Shaping Felled Trunk into Roofing Beams