Thursday 16 January 2014

Back after the Christmas break

Crowdundle Beck - lots of water!
Well, here we all are again.  The weather has been very wet and windy, and the season started with the Crowdundle Beck not obviously aware of its proper station in the world.  Instead it was high and frisky and pushing back up the tail race, immersing the bottom of the now naked waterwheel.
We continued, last week and this, to prepare the wheel for its new oak boards.  Fitting them will be a challenge, as the shrouds will have to be moved at least an inch apart to allow the boards to enter the slots in the casting.  The tie bar nuts have all been slackened, greased and re-tightened; a jig has been built to enable the boards to be assembled at just the right angle before being inserted in the wheel; another jig to measure the width of the boards and the size and position of the notch needed to accommodate another part of the casting.  There are a few bits of the casting that will need to be repaired.
The wheel, stripped for action
The boards themselves have been on order a while, and they all turned up this week - nearly all too thick to fit in the slots in the casting!  We agreed with the supplier to take them back in batches and re-thickness them with his planer.  Richard and Ray took the first batch, which now look OK.  We are also still waiting for our saw table, which is being bought with our Marsh Heritage Award money.
In the meantime, we have been doing some maintenance on the surroundings of the wheel, the bits that are inaccessible when the wheel is boarded.  The wooden lintel over the hole where the main shaft passes through the mill wall was completely rotten, so we replaced it; the new one will be protected by a piece of lead flashing to keep the waterwheel spill water off it.  We are also going to repoint the end wall of the wheel pit.
Finally, we have built a shelter over part of the space behind the wheelhouse and started to cobble the surface there.

Replacing the lintel