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Watermill Blog -  Timber
12th February 2008

Another day, another watermill blog. It was a select team at Shelsley Watermill today that enjoyed bright sunshine but very cold shadows.

Headley picked a job to suit the weather. He cleaned up the bearing blocks for the lineshafting. This meant sitting in the sunshine outside the stable working with a scraper and a wire brush for most of the day.

Each bearing consists of a base and cap holding a pair of bronze bushes. All the bushes show some wear but one of each pair are worn almost to destruction. We will have to decide if it worth getting replacements cast or if we can repair the bushes and re-use them.

Inside the mill, John repaired brickwork around the two ground-floor windows. Both windows had wooden shelves or sills let into the brickwork and these had decayed completely allowing the bricks immediately above to fall out.

It makes good sense to repair this brickwork while the window frames are out being repaired, at least one of them is out. The smaller one, nearest the waterwheel, has never had a frame in the time we have been working on the mill.

A frame will be made and fitted with a wooden shutter for security, replacing the board that gets wedged in the hole at the moment.

Derek did some more site-tidying and undergrowth trimming today, with help from Jonathon for part of the time. At the morning coffee break he suggested that we could all warm up by shifting the pile of bricks by the return road down to the stable.

We have been moving these bricks a few at a time for weeks, but a brief effort this morning has finished the job and warmed us all up a bit. Did I mention it was COLD this morning?

Jonathon spent some time preparing a wooden block to form a pad under the main beam where it rests on a brick pier. This is a first step to fixing the problem we found last Thursday

Kim and Richard toured the mill measuring up for a trip to the timber merchants. Modern timber is usually finished in metric sizes and the the woodwork in the mill pre-dates metrication by several hundred years in some cases, so we have to buy carefully to be able to match our repairs properly.

Once the shopping list was complete, Kim placed an order for some oak from the local sawmill to be ready for this Thursday while Richard will check other merchants for imperial sized softwood for the window frames.

One piece of timber already to hand was the new bottom rail for the large ground floor window, so a start was made on shaping that. As this window had vertical slats there are ten mortices to cut into the bottom rail.

The mortices were marked out, checked and then marked out properly. By the time the sun had disappeared behind the hill and the temperature dropped again we had roughed out all ten mortices.

Enough for the day, and enough for this watermill blog.

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