Buckets and Bricks
22nd March 2007

Colin and Headley carried on from where they left off on Tuesday, working out the best way to drill and install the new buckets and back plates to the waterwheel. The hope is that spending time at this stage to get everything right will save us a lot of time and trouble when we have made all the parts.

There is a socket about a foot square in the wall of the mill building above the tail race that we have been wondering about for a long time. It may not be what it was originally cut for, but it is in just the right place to take a scaffold plank and provide a platform for working on the buckets. Colin seemed to find this better than standing in water to work.

Dave and Max worked on brickwork around the waterwheel. Dave was inside the wheel repairing the side of the mill building below the main shaft, a job he started last week. This is not the easiest of bricklaying jobs because the spokes of the waterwheel get in the way, particularly at the top of the section being repaired where the spokes meet at the hub. Max worked at the foot of the tufa stone wall that he rebuilt repairing the brickwork of the platform alongside the wheel.

Up until now we have been stopping the wheel from turning with large baulks of timber through the spokes but this gives a limited number of positions that we can stop the wheel. The timber also gets in the way of the work. A much more adjustable method of chocking the wheel is to use acroprops from the bottom of the race up to the spokes. This means that we can stop the wheel in any position and should make the work with buckets and bricks easier.

Martyn and Richard continued to tidy up the area between the mill and the church. Richard used the digger to remove some tree stumps, mostly self set laurel that we have removed, and then helped Martyn with the regular bonfire. The last of the problem trees, an evergreen that was badly affected by ivy, was leaning towards the mill and looking insecure. There was a lot of discussion about how to fell this tree safely, as in away from the mill. The problem was solved by Keith and his large excavator. One blow from the digger bucket felled the tree onto the cleared ground and a second operation extracted the stump from the ground. The whole operation took no more than two minutes and did prove that the tree was ready to fall.

The Court House team continue to make progress with the pools and the area is looking much tidier with all the spoil from the main pool now removed. They even took the trouble to wash the mud off the return road.

All in all we had a good steady day with buckets and bricks, with several similar days to come.

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