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!

Thursday 25 February 2016

Getting ready for opening

Jim hoovers the grain hopper
It's been a bit chilly lately after a relatively mild winter, as the picture of our launder and spillway shows.

Over the past 3 weeks we've been giving the stones, stone furniture and flour chutes a good spring-cleaning.  We stripped the grain delivery parts, dismantled the tun and then lifted and propped the runner stone so we could work safely between the stones. All traces of old grain and flour have been brushed and vacuum cleaned off, so we are ready for the new season.
Reassembling the stone furniture

The finished kiln handrail

Finally we put it all back together and sealed all the openings where wildlife might get in.

The tun on the shelling stones was left unfinished due to lack of time and material, but we have now completed that as well.

We Have our first tonne of grain on order from our usual supplier, but it will be Paragon wheat this time rather than the Mulika we have had in the past.

The kiln is now pretty much finished apart from lighting (not our job) and displaying the kiln tiles we have (nowhere near enough for a whole kiln floor).  Various bits of painting, limewashing, masonry repair etc have also occupied our time.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Kiln fencing approaching completion - slowly

This is  the section of the railing that has given us most trouble so far - the short run beside the two steps linking levels within the kiln room.  Got all the angles right at last at last, and we moved on to the next bit.  In fact the next 4 sections are all in progress now.

Meanwhile the cobbling crew have completed the base for the new cob oven and this has allowed them to cobble the area round it, thus completing the whole mill yard.