It took nearly all day to set it up but the waterwheel turns.
The stone nut that we have been struggling with is still immovable on its shaft in spite of being soaked in Coca Cola all weekend. To avoid any more delays on the restoration of the waterwheel we moved the beam that supports the centre post and the wallower away from the waterwheel so that the waterwheel is free to turn.
The next trick was to find firm ground to support the waterwheel while it was jacked up. The first attempt drove a large piece of timber down into the bed of the race without lifting the wheel at all. The second attempt was only slightly more succesful, but the use of an RSJ as a base solved our problem so the wheel was raised level and supported on baulks of timber.
Even as we raised it it was clear that the wheel wanted to turn. Buckets on one side are corroded away, while those on the other side are better preserved and full of soil and weeds. Turning the wheel was not a problem but stopping it until we were ready was a challenge.
Now that the waterwheel turns we can make a start on replacing the sheet metal buckets. The first job is to remove one of the buckets that is in good condition to use as a pattern. The original bolts are badly rusted and some of them require extreme measures. Grinding the heads off is one way, but it needs great care to avoid damaging the iron castings.
Apart from the risk of damaging the castings some of the bolts can't be reached with an angle grinder so we are going to have to try burning them out. By the time we reached this conclusion it was getting late in the day so we are going to try this next time we meet.
While all this glamorous stuff was going on at the side of the mill the two Johns were working away outside the front door rebuilding the retaining walls that have suffered so badly from root damage. There is probably a proper name for the way that the bricks are bonded through these walls but it does seem to make a very solid barrier even when roots have pushed right through.
The weather has been very good to us today, but we have to wonder how many more good days we are going to get as autumn draws on. It has been noted that one of our number has taken to warmer footwear, no more open toed sandals even when not working on the mill.
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