Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Milling Course

Richard, George, Nick, Mike, Ray and Bob

Today the 5 mill volunteers were treated to a basic milling course, courtesy of Nick Jones, owner of and miller at Little Salkeld Watermill.

We spent the morning around Nick's mill, seeing how different bits of machinery operated, learning about the various grains and flours and seeing how they influenced the milling process.

At lunch time it was pouring with rain (see picture), but nonetheless we stood in what shelter we could find and ate delicious pizzas baked in their cob oven.

In the afternoon we travelled to Acorn Bank, first to have a photo taken by the man from the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, then to start the mill and grind some flour. At first we could only mill fairly coarse meal, but this was probably due to feeding the grain too fast for the power available, which was limited by the delay between opening up the sluice and the extra water reaching the mill.

A number of improvements were suggested:
  • Repair the leaks in the wheel
  • Improve the launder end box to adjust the angle of flow into the wheel
  • Clear the leat and repair its leaks
  • Make a fine control for the shoe angle adjustment
  • Alter the hopper outlet so that it doesn't need constant attention
  • Put a flap in the front of the tun so the gap between the stones can be seen
  • I forgot this one - put a "sock" below the shoe to prevent grain scattering off the damsel
The other news of the day was that the inspector from Eden Council's public health department had visited and was happy about the milling process.  Unfortunately she was less happy with the bagging area - until some improvements are made bagging will have to be carried out in the tearoom kitchen, which introduces some logistical problems.  Specifically we are required to cover the bare roof slates over the bagging bench and seal all wooden parts in the area.


  1. The lower end of the shoe should be supported by a crook string which is wound on to the twist peg, which has a pawl to hold it in the selected position. If the lower end of the hopper protrudes into the pool of grain in the shoe, it should regulate the flow from the hopper automatically :-)Andy

  2. Thanks, Andy

    We do have a crook string, but it is held on a cleat so is difficult to adjust at present. We designed a fancy controlled outlet to the hopper, but we now know what you say is right. perhaps we will use the screw drive from the hopper for the string.