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Watermill Blog - Cold Day
19th February 2008

This watermill blog entry has to report another cold day with sub-zero temperatures but more progress with some of the woodworking projects.

new sill

As the team got on with the work we were cheered on our way by a postcard from Martyn in Australia complaining about the heat.

Our verbal responses have no place on a polite blog like this.

John D took advantage of having the correct size of timber to fit new sills to the two windows we have already repaired.

The old sills had decayed almost to powder with rot and woodworm, with just enough left to enable John to make replicas. The wood is an inch and a quarter thick and took most of the day to shape to fit. The result looks pretty good, though.

The whole team were pleased to greet Derek when he arrived with his fire-lighting kit. We all felt the need of a good bonfire, and not just for burning the rubbish. Everyone seemed to find something to add to the fire and linger for a few minutes to make sure it burnt. Even so the frost on the ground around the bonfire didn't thaw out. It really was a cold day.

barred window

Richard finished the first stage of repairing the barrred window for the ground floor of the mill, fitting the new bottom rail and the fixed vertical bars.

The next stage is to make the sliding screen of vertical bars to go on the back. The material is available, he just needs to get on with it.

Kim, Jonathon and John N worked on a couple of tasks today. Some weeks ago we replaced a badly decayed bearer plate in the mill with a replica in softwood and got told off by the mill experts. Their first job today was to remove the offending beam and replace it with a properly shaped version in new oak.

One of the floor joists resting on that beam was also replaced, again with a good copy of the original in oak. We just need to get some floor boards of the correct thickness and we will have a completly sound floor. As this floor was just about to fall down when we first started working on the mill this is quite a milestone.

From there they moved to the large pulley at the stable end of the PTO shaft. This needs to come out of its pit so that the brickwork of the pit can be repaired.

The wheel is held on the square shaft by wedges. Just knock the wedges out and slide the pulley off, or so we thought. Firstly, the wedges are difficult to get at and secondly, when they did get at the wedges they refused to budge.

Headley arrived at lunchtime and joined in the fun, but he couldn't move them either. Heat will be applied next time to see if that helps.

It was far from being a wasted effort though, as the area around the pit has been cleared and what may well be the last tree root we have to dig out has been removed.

The cold eventualy won out and we packed up for the day a bit earlier than usual. The picturesque frost patterns on the hills and fields were almost like snow on the patches that hadn't caught the sun during the day.

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