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Watermill Blog -  Great Spur Gear
5th June 2008

Once again our watermill blog can report a visit from Tim Booth, the mill expert who has given us so much advice and support. This visit was to look at the problem we have found with what Tim describes as the Great Spur Gear and that we have been calling the main gear,

Earlier blogs have told of the extreme decay that we have discovered in this gear wheel and Tim came to have a look and suggest possible solutions.

He agrees that the gear will need replacing in the not too distant future but suggested that we try to patch the worst areas of decay first. This would give us the chance to see how far the decay has penetrated into the timber of the wheel.

lower sack hatch

This Thursday's team included Martyn, Max, Headley, Jonathan and Dick. Dave and Colin came to hear what Tim had to say about the Great Spur Gear but were not able to stay to do any work. Richard did stay all day making notes and taking pictures and even managed a bit of work on the window repairs.

Max and Martyn cut new leather hinges for the two sack hoist hatches and fitted them in place. A quick test proved that the hatches open and shut when a large object is lifted through them.

Unusually for him, Headley found himself working with wood. Together with Martyn he made a start on the first patch to the great spur wheel. There are bolts through the timber, clamping it between iron reinforcing, and he tried to undo a couple of these but they are rusted solid. It then became a case of cutting the rotten timber from around the bolts.

brick jigsaw

Dick continued to reassemble the drive shaft for the sack hoist, including the pinion gear that drops into engagement with the crown wheel on the centre shaft. We are getting closer to being able to reassemble the mechanism and maybe finding out how it was controlled.

Jonathan worked on the brickwork around the bottom doorway into the mill. Time, damp and possibly vermin have loosened some of the brickwork, so he set about making a repair.

He soon found that he was solving a three dimensional brick jigsaw, but the final result looks good and should last for many years.

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