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Watermill Blog -  Working with Oak
27th March 2008

YThursday the 27th March was a beautiful Spring day and Shelsley Watermill was a nice place to be. The local wildlife is obviously full of the joys of Spring, with plenty of nesting activity.

We think a jackdaw is trying to build a nest on a ledge inside the hayloft because the floor is covered in large twigs every time we arrive. As the ledge in question is about three inches wide and most of the twigs are at least a foot long we are not sure how bright this particular jachdaw is.our first block of text...

sack hoist pulley

The team divided up to get on with jobs already started. Max was joined by Dave today and they made further progress with the winding drum for the sack hoist.

The drum part is made up of wooden dowels, some of which still exist as you can see.

Max has found suitable size dowel to replace the lost ones and and the second side plate is almost ready to be fixed back in place. All the assembly work is being done with the hoist in situ which makes the job a bit awkward to say the least.

Even when we have this winding drum repaired we still won't know for sure how it used to be driven. We are waiting on a meeting of watermill experts to come up with suggestions.

John and Dick both took up were they left off, John making good the brickwork of the lightwell at the front of the mill and Dick re-assebling the chaff cutter.

The chaff cutter is proving to be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle but it does seem to be going back together okay.

brace and bit

Martyn, Colin and Richard settled down to making the mortice sockets in the new oak part for the hurst post repair. We don't have any fancy modern tools for this job so it was back to traditional methods.

Colin and Martyn used a hand brace with an auger to drill holes outlining the large mortice for the hurst cross beam, while Richard use a chisel and mallet to carve out the narrower slots for the bridge tree.

The new oak proved to be quite wet inside but this didn't cause too many problems and by the end of the day we had managed to cut all three sockets all the way through six inches of solid new oak.

All the mortices need to be checked for size and smoothed out a bit before we can begin to put the repaired post back into the hurst but there was a general feeling of satisfaction with the progress for the day.

That seems like a good point to end this watermill blog, the last for March

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