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Hot Metal - Watermill Blog
16th October 2008

Hot metal was the name of the game today as we tried to cast new bearing shells.

Martyn, Colin and Richard assembled a spare bearing block and a length of shaft and added some carefully shaped strips of steel to form a mould.

Once we were satisfied that we had as good a seal as we going to get we melted down some scrap lead flashing and did a trial pour.

The first attempt was encouraging but not actually usable so the lead was re-melted and Martyn had another go filling the mould in one continuous pour.

Success! We gave it a few minutes to cool and then dismantled the bearing to reveal a shiny new bearing shell. Our intention is to use the lead shells on the top half of each bearing. They should not have any great load to take so we are hoping they will prove usable. At least we now know how to make more if they do wear out too fast.

After the first success we re-assembled the mould and made a second shell, enough for now.

With a bit of fettling and some oil ways drilled the shiny new shells were bolted in place over the line shaft. They feel OK when we turn the shaft by hand but we will have to wait until we can drive the line shaft from the waterwheel before we can say for sure that they will do the job.

The rest of the team formed an interested audience for the pouring of the hot metal, but some other work did get done.

Bob and John applied yet more limewash giving the end wall of the stable another coat and the ceiling of that end bay a first coat. It is odd to see bare wood being painted with what looks like slightly cloudy water and then see it turn white as the lime cures into chalk.

Jonathan enlisted Dave's help as he continued the stabilisation of the decayed wall plate in the north wall of the mill. Together they have made a plan completing the repair so we are leaving them to it.

Dave has been on his travels for a few weeks so we just had to start the wheel up so that he could be taught how to demonstrate the sack hoist. We engaged one pair of millstones as well and his reaction when he first saw half a ton of stone spinning at 120 r.p.m.was as unprintable as ours had been.

That image of a group of retired gentlemen playing with a very big toy seems like an excellent way to bring the 200th watermill blog entry to a close.

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