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Layshaft - Watermill Blog
4th & 6th August 2009

This week's big job was to mount the layshaft for the big Wilson lathe. This has a set of three belt pulleys to match the three on the lathe and needs to be firmly bolted to the wall above the lathe.

The weather on Tuesday was on the wet side of showery, so a nice indoor job seemed like a good idea. The plan was  to drill right through the wall from the inside and bolt bearers for the shaft to the brickwork with threaded rod. The  drilling could all be done from the inside, in the dry.

It turned out that the wall is rather thicker than the average and the only masonry bit that we had that was long enough to go all the way through was much too small.

Okay, drill through with the small drill and follow up with a shorter bit of the right size from both sides. So much for staying inside in the dry. While all this was keeping Martyn, Colin and John busy Richard was making a lot of noise  with a power plane, making sides for the meal chute from the downstream pair of millstones. Dick and Jim put the finishing touches to a new workbench for the fly-press and old drill press. Both of these jobs were complete by the  end of Tuesday, but the layshaft didn't get finished until Thursday. With the bearers firmly fixed in place, the shaft  itself could be mounted and we were able to think about lining up the lathe. 

The lathe was still sitting on its transport frame with rollers underneath so we rolled it gently into line with the pulleys.

Some energetic work with pry bars and a jack was needed to get the rollers out and the transport frame removed but with our usual mixture of lively discussion and bursts of activity the lathe was eased onto its own feet and in the right place.

The next move will be to level the machine with wedges and then to grout it into position with concrete, but that will  have to wait until next week.

Our plan for powering the lathe was to use a donkey engine to drive the layshaft, probably the Dennis engine we  brought back from Cornwall with the Bamford mill. Now we have the lathe and layshaft set up we can see a bit of a problem with that plan though as the lathe and the engine would need to occupy the same bit of the floor. We have already thought up two or three ways round the problem, so watch this space.

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