New Bearing for the Waterwheel
22nd May 2007

HeliBars in place.

Richard was away on family business so the team was down to Colin, Headley, Dave and Max, with Martyn and John still on holiday. Dave spent the day embedding HeliBars into the brickwork above the waterwheel and pointing up. The finished result can be seen in the picture, taken after we had removed the formwork for the brick arch.

Colin and Headley spent time wire brushing the big pit gear and the main shaft. As they cleaned it up they painted it with old engine oil to give it some protection. We don’t know for sure yet, but we think this part of the mill is probably quite wet when it’s running with quite a lot of spray coming through the opening from the waterwheel.

Brick flooring under the PTO shaft.

Max worked on the brick flooring inside the mill moving from the main floor to the area under the PTO shaft. Dave had brought some light coloured sharp sand which highlights the joints nicely as you can see. Max also came this afternoon and finished off around one of the new brick piers that we built over the winter.

Today’s team was much reduced, only Colin, Headley and Richard in the morning. Colin had been forewarned that the new bearing might be delivered today so the three of us spent the morning working out methods of jacking up the waterwheel. We knew from experience that the bed of the race is too soft to be used as a base for jacking from so we decided to try beams through the spokes with the inner ends on the mill wall and the out ends on jacks. The first attempt used scaffold poles, but these proved too flexible. A quick scavenge around the paddock turned up two matching steel joists which proved perfect for the job. Jacking up this way means there is no chance of the wheel turning and we have no obstruction of the area that will contain the new bearing and its plinth.

The new bearing for the waterwheel

We had just about got the wheel jacked up to our satisfaction when Keith Squires, a MAC member, arrived with the new bearing in the boot of his car. It took two to lift it out and place it on the ground where we could get our first look at it. Basically a bronze bush set in a steel block, the picture shows the new bearing still in the tote tray it was delivered in. We haven’t tried it for size yet as we have to do a bit of cleaning up of the shaft before we offer it up. Now we have the bearing we can get on with the job by our usual easy stages.

Talking about doing things by easy stages, Richard applied his sit-down method of dredging to more of the millstream, deepening the stream for most of its passage across the farmyard. He only spent an hour or so on this but the limiting factor now for the water level under the wheel seems to be the build up of silt in the tailrace itself and we are hopeful that this will wash away as soon as we get water flowing over the wheel.

Now we have the new bearing the next few working days are probably going to concentrate on the waterwheel. It would be nice to have a complete wheel ready for when we have water in the mill pool but we will just take it as it comes.

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