108 January 2010 Compagnes Drift Mill Elevators and Chutes


With the festivities out of the way, work could resume on the main elevator and the delivery chutes from it to the various mills and the grain cleaner. I started by inspecting the outlet as last used, by which time, I suspect the Vitruvian Mill was out of service: 

This is looking upward towards the top of the main elevator, for which a dormer structure juts out of the roof. The bent metal sheet in the slot would cut off the natural flow into the grain cleaner which is below the camera. If this is closed, then the grain will flow to the right and out into some chute, I suspect to the Stamford Mill.

All along, I have thought that the chute would have passed through this slot in the floor:

But I now realise it’s too narrow. It suddenly dawned on me that this could have been for a belt, driving down to a rotary screen (which we have been offered, but must still collect), below. The chute is more likely to have followed the line of the plank in the picture below the pulley, which I was using for alignment, and which partly obscures a notch at the left. The Stamford’s hopper is just below that.

I first panel beat the slide which now seals the potential flow to the grain cleaner off well as can be seen above. Then I removed the obstruction to the right of that which will now allow feed to the Vitruvian Mill when selected. Next, I re-fixed the whole assembly in the wooden bracket which it was supported by, attached to a roof truss:

This gave me the right starting point. I then used a straight piece of aluminium extrusion to help pick up the line:

This follows the course of the left hand edge of the chute, the angles sides given away by the shape of the notch in the edge of the floor. I could see this would not interfere with the path of a belt through the slot in the floor. I measured up for the sheet steel lining for the chute; I will make the wooden body of the chute on the back of that.

From below, this is the line. It can be seen that the top end can be raised a bit; it will all help to achieve the ideal (?) 45 degrees for the grain to flow.

While I was busy with this, I discovered some grain caught between the wood and the metal lining. Emile Cronje, who runs the Old Time Harvest Day in Brakfontein (see previous report), has taught us to save these grains from old Mills, as it can be from the now unpopular long-stalked grains, which are much better when demonstrating hand-harvesting and the old binders.

Does anybody recognise it? Meanwhile I was busy with the trunking of the main elevator below, which is now ready for the front and rear planks which Stephen Sokolic has promised; the floor planks are a bit too narrow:

On one of my trips up to the weir to adjust the water flow for milling the batch of Organic Grain I was busy with, I found a Gymnogene (previously Banded Harrier Hawk, now African Harrier Hawk) drinking from the mill stream (apologies for the camera shake!):

Not much perturbed, it flew up and watched from the gum tree above:

Andy Selfe,

5th January 2010