Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Update on progress

A while since I posted, so here is a little update.


Lifting the main wheel shaft
The volunteers were in mob-handed today.  One group raised the waterwheel shaft so that the wet-side bearing could have its annual inspection and re-greasing.  The previous week they had worked on the mill side of the shaft and the main vertical shaft re-packing wedges that were creaking having come loose in the dry hot weather.












Peter continues to cobble the yard, now working on the last little corner in the heat of the day!  It has been exhausting and back-breaking work.






We have also had to put a board under the slates on a further section of the roof to protect the flour sieve from stuff (bat droppings, dust, dead spiders) falling in the flour.  A couple of us finished fitting, varnishing and silicon sealing the boards.

 Work on conserving the parts of the second wheel continues while we await the formation of a proper fully authorised Project to begin to reconstruct it.

The renowned mill expert Martin Watts has carried out a second survey (the first was in 2010) and presented his conclusions in a report which will form the basis of the Mill Conservation Management Plan as it sets out our conservation philosophy (eg approach to mill-wrighting techniques) as well as commenting on the proposed programme of work.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Starting on the second waterwheel

There is a main shaft in its bearings which formed part of the second waterwheel.  There are also a number of pieces of the shroud (cast iron rim) of the wheel, but some are missing and several are broken.  Restoring the wheel will be a challenge, but we have started by cleaning and preserving the shroud pieces, ready for trying to repair some of the broken ones.  We will have to fabricate replacements for badly damaged or missing ones.

Anyway, here are some photos of the work in progress.  Sorry, I can't persuade Blogger to show the third pic the right way round!


Some of the cleaned shrouds
David and Chris clean the rust off
The makers mark on a shroud piece
Stalker Bros, Penrith

Work continues - the jigger box

We're having quite a busy season, milling and selling a good amount of flour.

In between we have been working on restoring a drive to the "jigger box", a mechanical sieve that was once powered by belt from the stone shaft for the third pair of stones.  These were driven from the second waterwheel.  Unfortunately we don't have a second waterwheel (but see the next post) but we have the stone shaft and the belt pulley.  We have been able to connect up some belting from there via an intermediate shaft to a new shaft connected to the jigger box.


The pulley on the stone shaft
The jigger box and new shaft
Our first struggle with belting!
We've then fixed a motor intended for an invalid carriage to the top of the stone shaft.  Powered by a 12V battery it will drive the jigger box in an imitation of its original way via the belting.


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Some positive feedback


I know I haven't posted much for a while, probably because there haven't been any major developments.

However, we received this postcard from a satisfied visitor, and I thought we should share it.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The flour sieve - final version

Well, we obviously had to do a bit of work on the flour sieve.  For one thing it was too fast on the drill, so Richard adapted a washing machine gearbox, taking out a stage of speed reduction.  For another, it needed to be easier to use, so we built a trestle to mount it on, with a shelf underneath for a flour box.

This time it really seems to work, a bit noisy though!



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Mechanical benchtop flour sieve

Over the past few weeks we have been working on a machine to take some of the backbreaking effort out of hand sieving our flour.  We always sieve the meal because we haven't yet managed to prevent whole grains from ricocheting across the top of the stone and ending up in the product.  Up to now the flour bagger has had to shake a circular stainless steel sieve by hand, OK for small quantities but desperately hard work when there is 30kg to process.

The mechanical sieve consists of two wooden boxes, the inner one holding a sheet of perforated stainless steel mesh, agitated by a cam one side of the outer box and returned by sprung pushers the other side.  We can turn it by hand, but also by using a variable speed power drill

Today it finally became possible to try it out and, while it still needs some improvement, we were very pleased with the result - cue film....


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The kiln finished - as far as we're able to go!

The first rows of tiles

It has taken several weeks to fit the kiln tiles, with Richard doing most of the work and everyone else running errands (fetching things, drilling holes etc) for him.  He has had to work on a board over the steel t-bars, the tiles themselves are not strong enough to stand on. To make things more difficult, some of the tiles are 12 inches square, and some are 31 cm.



The finished kiln floor
In any case. we only have about 55 tiles, and we would need 144 to cover the whole area.  As there isn't a complete layer, it was especially important to fix them to the bars.  We made a number of clamp brackets, fixed by a bolt through the existing holes in the tiles.  We decided to fit them to give a sort of cut-away view of the kiln. Here you can see the final installation.  As an electrician is due to fit some additional lighting, we have put signs up to warn him about the fragility of the tiles!


Other jobs today have included tightening the wedges in the pit wheel and main shaft, carrying on cobbling the yard, painting doors and mending the plant sales wheelbarrow for the gardeners!  Also a team of volunteers from Sizergh have been clearing out our headrace - thanks, all!