A Large Team Today
8th November 2007

Dick repaired the threshold

Dick travelled the furthest to join the team and he extended the floorboard repair to the threshold of the front door. When the old boards were cut out it was obvious that a bit more support was needed in the doorway itself so Colin and John D helped with a bit of remedial work to the doorstep. With that done it was a matter of cutting boards to length and fitting them in the hole. Dick measured and placed while Richard cut boards to length.

Dave completed the last section of underpinning in the gear-wheel pit, placing yet more reinforcing bars in place and constructing shuttering. He worked in the pit while Colin handed tools and materials down to him. Once the shuttering was complete they were joined by Martyn and Headley who kept up a supply of concrete, delivered by the half bucket as before. It definitely helps to have a large team on hand.

The last section of underpinning

Once this concrete has set we can build a brick pier to support the timber you can see hanging down in the picture. This timber is supposed to support the beams that carry the main vertical shaft of the mill and is not really doing its job at the moment. The weight is being carried by the bolts that hold the timber against the wall. The way that repairs have been done in the past is part of the history of the mill and we need to repair the repair so that we retain that history.

Preparations for a retaining wall

When Martyn wasn’t mixing concrete he was helping John N prepare the ground by the bottom door of the mill for a new retaining wall. This entailed removing the old wall, keeping the good bricks to be re-used, and then digging back into the bank to provide clearance for drainage. The last step was to dig a trench for the footings. Once the footings are poured and set this will be another wall for John D to build.

John D was working the other side of the mill on the last of the steps and the retaining wall between the steps and the farmyard. He had to leave at lunchtime but still managed some good progress.

Yet another member of today's large team, Headley did some preparatory work for mending a crack in the large pulley wheel that lurks under the hay-loft steps. This is the pulley on the end of the PTO shaft that drove the line shaft taking water power to the machinery in the hay-loft and barns. The rim of the pulley wheel has cracked through and Headley is making up straps to be fixed inside the rim to hold the crack together and in line. Hopefully the repair will not be heavy enough to unbalance the wheel and cause vibration but we will have to wait quite a while before we are able to put it to the test.

Max continued the repair and re-pointing of the barn wall that he has been working on for some days. The outside is now sound and the focus will now shift to the inside. Quite a lot of work has already been done but there is still a bit of work needed before we take the acroprop away. When he reached a stopping point on this job Max joined Dick inside the mill and applied timber treatment to the undersides of all the new pieces of floorboard.

A new shutter above the waterwheel

Most unusually Richard did some work today. Normally he watches everyone else and does a bit of general labouring with the excuse that he can then write it all up on this blog. Today was different. In a flush of enthusiasm he built a new shutter to fit the window above the waterwheel. The original shutter fell apart last winter leaving only the hinges, and they were rusted beyond recovery. The new shutter is made from inch thick boards and needs to be treated before it is finally fixed in place but it does fit, at the second attempt anyway.

Because he wasn’t watching what everyone else was doing Richard had to go round today’s large team and ask them what they had done today. Quite a novel experience for all concerned.

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