The largest of the new brick piers was completed a couple of week ago but we have left it until now before putting any load on it to give the mortar plenty of time to set. It remained only to place a last block on top of the pier and a layer of slate as packing and damp proofing and then we slackened and took the acroprop out. A total lack of any drama but job done and we have a little more working room for John to finish the last of the piers.
Also inside the mill two more piers are at their finished height and we have inserted a beam between them. Colin, Max and Richard took turns with a saw cutting an oak beam to the correct length and then offered it up. A little packing with slate and that’s it. In this case we are not quite ready to take either acroprop out until we have reinforced one of the floor joists. Once we have some suitable coach bolts to bolt on a couple of noggins these props should be out of the way as well.
Colin and Max turned their attention to the masonry at the end of the waterwheel pit and built up a couple of courses of tufa stone before the end of the day. Lime mortar of course so that damp can get through but we are convinced that this masonry was destroyed by roots and not water pressure. It is immediately below the location of the black willow stump that gave us trouble back in October and we are pretty sure we have got all the roots out.
Up in the mill pool the contractor has made a start on clearing out the accumulated silt that has completely filled in the pool. Although it looks quite firm the silt is very wet and too soft to bear the weight of the digger. A trial hole filled with a couple of feet of water in a very short time, so the job is not straightforward but progress is being made.
There used to be three pools, the smallest of which has already been cleaned out. This small pool fed the ornamental cascade down into the mill pool and this is being restored as part of the Court House project. The digger tracks going straight up and down a forty five degree slope to get to this pool are impressive.
Because of the work in the pool the new sluice valve got put to the test in the afternoon when a large quantity of water came down the penstock. There are a few leaks in the sluice box that need to be plugged but nothing serious. We finished for the day by leaving all the valves fully open. Hopefully this will let the mill pool drain and we won’t come back on Thursday to find the digger submerged in water.
Hopefully we will be able to take the last acroprop out when we return on THursday.
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