Monday, 27 May 2019

Hunting for the cause of the hunting

We had been noticing that when water, and therefore power, is short the mill speed varies, slowing down once per revolution of the waterwheel.

Eventually, careful observation showed that the problem was that the angled gear teeth on the pit wheel, which shares its axle with the waterwheel (visible at the left of the upper picture and just seen over Neil's right shoulder in the lower) were not engaging at a constant height with the matching angled teeth on the wallower (showing just over the beam in the upper picture and half visible at centre right of the lower picture).

With the wallower higher, the coupling is slack.  When the wallower meets the pinwheel lower, there is considerable pressure exerted due to the angled gear faces.  The top of the wallower appears to move from 1cm below the top of the pinwheel to 2cm above.

Clearly something has run a bit out of alignment.  We made an attempt to help matters by twisting the pinwheel slightly on its axle and repacking the wedges.

This weekend there has still been some hunting, but we've had a bit more water so it has been less of a problem, so not sure if we have really improved it.

Work on the third pair of stones

The third runner stone lifted
 While we are waiting for the go-ahead to restore the second waterwheel, we decided to overhaul the moving parts of the drive for the third pair of stones (out of 4).

This involved the usual process of lifting and supporting the runner and removing the bearing (strips of wood) from the cast iron fitment in the bedstone.

This time we go on from there and remove the drive shaft, take the bottom bearing out and take out the wooden tentering beam.  This is mounted in a cast iron box set into the wall, and that was in a scruffy condition, so that had to come out too.  Here is Dave Freak cleaning it up with a wire brush prior to giving it a coating of Waxoyl.

The box was then fixed back in the wall with lime mortar, and the beam re-inserted and hung from the tentering bar.  The final picture shows Richard and Peter fixing the box.


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Continuing work on the second waterwheel

The second wheel in 1981
 As can be seen from the 1981 picture, the waterwheels suffered considerable damage when the mill was neglected before that date.  Some of the cast iron sections of the shrouds fractured when the spokes rotted and collapsed.

When the building was restored in 1990 the first (upstream) waterwheel (seen in the background of the picture) was repaired and restored, but the shroud sections of the second wheel were removed and stored.

Since the mill was upgraded from a Grade 2 to a Grade 2* listed building last year, work on reconstructing the second wheel has been restricted to conserving the shroud sections and ensuring they will fit together.  We need Listed Building Consent to continue with the restoration.

However, it now looks as if we may have found the means to begin the application for permission, under the auspices of a historic building consultant, Paul Lewis.

In the interim period, one of the sections has been lost, so we have set about designing jigs and templates to allow a new one to be fabricated.  The first picture shows the template for the main piece of the shroud, the others show the use of an existing section to construct a jig so that the various channels which hold the boards can be tack welded accurately in position.


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The model wheel to encourage coin donations!

Today I finally completed the model waterwheel, which is designed to encourage kids to pester their parents for coins to drop in.

The wheel is very free on its bearings, and even a 5p coin will turn it. The whole is protected by a perspex cover - I had a lot of fun cementing that together. The coins fall in and strike a bell, so there is a very satisfactory series of clunks followed by a "ding"!


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.