Thursday 12 December 2013

Winter Maintenance Jobs

The closed season has arrived, and we have been planning our jobs for the  winter months, as well as getting started on some of them.  For the past couple of weeks we have been involved in meetings, first with a Trust buildings surveyor, then among ourselves to prioritise tasks and look forward to the year ahead.

The main job is to be the refurbishment of the waterwheel, whose wooden boards have become rotten; this results in lack of power, as the water leaks out of the buckets.  The bolts that hold the boards in have mainly had to be cut away, as they are too corroded to undo.

Richard removes a bucket bottom board
We wondered how heavy the wood in the wheel was (perhaps useful for the second wheel).  After some interesting cross-calibration of the weight of hammers, bottles of water and chocolate biscuits, we established that the total weight of the liner, bucket front and bucket bottom boards is about 480kg, or nearly half a ton!
The larch to replace the liner boards is already in stock, and the oak for the others has been ordered.  We have also decided to spend some of our Marsh Heritage Award prize money on a saw table to help with the task of preparing boards to fit.

Preparing the ground
for new cobbles
The other main job is likely to be cobbling the outside areas.  We estimate we may need 15,000 cobbles to cover all the areas, but for the time being we have started on the area between the wheelhouse and the river.  Once the contractors have finished refurbishing the barn, it is proposed to cobble the whole mill yard area.

The work we would like to do in the kiln needs to be a "project", and so will not be able to start until the next Trust year.

Among other jobs, we have

  • measured and drawn up the old harrow that was hanging in the barn so that it can be restored
  • lifted the runner stone of the French Burr pair and greased the centre bearing
  • dismantled and varnished the flour chute to improve flour flow
We have also agreed to improve our risk assessment documentation and the management of flour production and sales.  The old flour label has been agreed on, with minor alterations to incorporate information that was missed from the old one.
The old harrow