Waterwheel work
11th September 2007

We all seemed to gather around the waterwheel today, but it wasn’t always obvious. Headley worked at fitting splints to the cracked spokes, John carried on with building the steps down into the wheel pit and Martyn, Colin and Richard did some dredging of the tailrace and mill-stream.

The cracked spokes in the waterwheel are all on the side nearest the mill building so Headley worked from inside the mill, only emerging when he needed tools or refreshment. The splints are proving to be fiddly to fit but he is getting there. Unfortunately one of the old bolts broke when it was being refitted and Headley will need to make a replacement, a bit of blacksmithing that he will enjoy. Richard just happened to have a suitable modern replacement in his pocket so this was fitted temporarily to ensure we can run the wheel on Sunday.

We are determined to run the wheel on Sunday at the end of a Classic Car Run being run to raise funds for the restoration. The run will start from a watermill and visit other mills before finishing at Shelsley Walsh at our own mill. It should be a good day out for all the entrants who got their entries in before the closing date.

Martyn and Colin spent some time looking for a suitable block of wood to support the outer bearing but couldn’t find a piece big enough to do the job. Two lengths of old railway sleeper would make up the size needed but we would much rather use a one piece bearer if we can find one.

They gave up the hunt and disappeared underground to remove the build up of silt and mud from the tailrace and the millstream. Richard climbed down into the mud at the bottom of the wheel pit and shovelled mud towards them as well. To a casual observer it must have looked as if John was the only person working on site.

Building steps downwards is tricky

John was delighted by the return of the cement mixer this morning and soon had a good mix of mortar going. The picture shows the state of the steps by the end of the day with a bit of shuttering holding back the next lot of concrete core. John is regretting the decision to build these steps from the top down. Because of the mixture of stone and brick used in the surrounding walls it looked like a good idea to work downwards from the only point we could really fix but it does make for problems in creating the footing which John is having to do one step at a time. “Never again!” seems to have been muttered quite often today but we all know that it is just until next time!

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