We have been given two lathes during the work on the mill, the large Wilson lathe that we are working to install at the moment and a smaller treadle operated lathe on its own stand.
As we need a new roller for the downstream millstone horse we decided to give the small lathe a try with a bit of wood turning.
It took most of Tuesday to get the work set up in the lathe as the piece of oak that we need to turn down was almost too big to fit between centres, as well as being at the limit of what the lathe can swing.
We did get it set up and even managed to remove some wood but we had a lot of problems with the drive belt slipping off the pulleys. Our best results were achieved with one person pedalling the treadle, another holding a guide to keep the belt on the pulley and a third wielding the chisel.
We tried again on Thursday, using a bicycle inner tube as a belt. This was not a lot better although more wood was removed and by only one person.
The problem is not only the lack of a proper drive belt but we are trying to exceed the realistic capacity of the lathe.
It has been fun trying but the new roller is going to have to wait until we have the bigger lathe in commission. This shouldn't be too long as we have made some progress this week, fixing another bearing hanger to support the extended drive pulley.
Other jobs this week have included the clean up of some parts of the rolling mill and a few more safety devices.
The largest of the safety improvements is a fence to protect the drop past the sluice box. This blocks a tempting short cut between the steps and the front door of the mill. As it is not an original feature we built it without any connection to the fabric of the mill.
We have also completed the handrail alongside the front steps to the front door, making access a little easier for those who found the steps rather steep.
The weather was kind this week, dry and mild on both days with only the occasional shower. Hopefully the weather will hold until the weekend for the hillclimb meeting.
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