Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Update - 10 February 2015

After some of the strong winds last month one of the striking gears, the gear which controls whether the shutters are open or closed, was bent and the shutters were forced closed. 

Abseiling off the top of the mill, reattaching the striking gear after being bent back.

A brave member of the team abseiled up the sails to release the striking gear and gently lower it to the ground. Once on the ground they used the contraption pictured below to bend the gear back into shape, it was then raised back up and reattached to the sail.

The device used to bend the striking back into shape

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Update - 8 January 2015

The new girders shown on the last update were successfully fitted by the mill team. The new girders have stopped the distortion that used to occur as the cap turned in the wind.

The new girders installed in the cap either side of the brake wheel

Four guide wheels have been fitted in the cap, two at the rear and two on the sides, which keep the cap centred on top of the tower. They've fixed one of the major problems we had which was when the wind pushed on the cap, it caused it to slide backwards and disengaged the gearing that kept it facing the wind. However, for the past three weeks the mill has been rotating on its own to face the wind, and has been through some strong winds without any problems.

The two guide wheels at the back of the cap

Close up on one of the guide wheels

The waterproofing was completed just before the weather turned and apart from a very small leak in the cap, has also been successful.

The next job for the mill team will be to prepare the mill stones in order to start milling flour.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Update - 9 August 2014

It's been a while since we updated this Blog so here's what's been going on recently....

Since the sails were put on, the cap hasn't always been turning freely so it's been hard for the fantail to point the sails into the wind. To help the cap run more smoothly we have installed two skate bearings which greatly reduce the friction round the track below the cap.
Skate bearing
The cap was also distorting slightly when it turned, so we are aiming to stiffen it with metal girders. The girders were welded by Burwell firm N & G Marsh, and will be fitted in the next few weeks. They are very heavy and it will be quite a challenge for the Mill Team to lift them into place - they'll be hoisted through the trap doors used for taking sacks of grain to the top floor. That's the easy bit! Once the girders are on the top floor they will need to be installed in the cap. Easier said than done, but the Mill Team are confident they can meet the challenge.
Girders in the museum workshop in the process of being painted. You can get an idea of the size of the girders by comparing them to our ride-on lawn mower at the far end of the workshop.
 Waterproofing work on the cap is currently taking place (as you may have seen on the museum's Facebook page). This has involved hanging from the cap in a harness. Since the photo was taken a ladder has been purchased, which has been specially bent to the same curvature of the cap. It is hung from the finial and the person working on the waterproofing stands on the ladder but still wears a safety harness. This makes working much easier as tools can be hung on the ladder rungs. It is also more comfortable as the person's weight is not being taken by the harness the whole time! 
Waterproofing the cap

Friday, 28 March 2014

Grand Reopening of Stevens Mill

On Sunday 13th April Burwell Museum Trust reopens its windmill, Stevens' Mill, to the public following a year-long restoration.
The museum site will be open to the public from 12 noon - 4pm. Free Admission!
The reopening ceremony of the windmill starts at 12.30pm - Sir James Paice MP will officially open the windmill at 12.45pm.
This will be a great day out for all ages - bread making demonstrations, a cake decorating competition (see poster below for competition info), a working forge, tours of the windmill, make your own windmill out of junk and much more including a Time Capsule put together by local school children being hidden in the windmill.
This form can be downloaded from our website. 
They will also be available from the museum on the day.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Mill Sails Turning

Here's a short video of the sails turning on 16th January 2014.
Watch in 1080p HD Full Screen for best picture quality.                   Video by Peter Heath

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sails Go On

On Tuesday 10th December 2013 all four sails were fitted to the mill.
We are extremely grateful to the residents of Mill Close for putting up with the disturbance and any inconvenience that may have been caused.
Click on a photo to see a larger version. A video is to be found at the bottom of this page.
Before the sails went on.

Part of the Striking Gear on a sail.

The first sail goes on

Securing the first sail and attaching the striking gear.

The cherry picker stopped working so the Millwrights climbed the sail to tighten the bolts etc.

Add your own amusing caption!

About an hour later the first pair of sails have been turned to a horizontal position ready for the second pair to be fitted.

Neil, the Millwright, signals to the crane operator.

Luke Bonwick the Mill Consultant is interviewed for a visitor information video that will be played inside the mill.

Unhooking the crane from the sail. (Thankfully the cherry picker started working again after being turned off and on again!)

The fourth and final sail is lifted.

Neil prepares one of the nuts and bolts that secure the sail.

Four sails at last!

Neil shakes hands with Jane Phillimore, Fresh Wind in Our Sails Project Manager.

Neil also shakes hands with John Waller, one of the Museum Trustees. (Neil and his colleague Steve also received a round of applause from everyone watching the work)

The crane heads off.

Stevens' Mill seen from the museum site. The remaining shutters were fitted to the sails and the sails turned by the wind for the first time on Friday 13/12/13.

This video is in HD. 
Watch in Full Screen (click on the square symbol bottom right), click the Play arrow then click on the gearwheel symbol to select picture quality.
Video by Peter Heath