Looking at the date, I notice we’re now exactly four years into the restoration of the Mill! 

During the week following the visit to Kleinplasie, I asked around for perforated plate to use in the upper and lower levels of the grain cleaner. We didn’t have measuring equipment with us whenn we examined the S Howes machine there and we didn’t think at the time to make a ‘rubbing’ on a piece of paper to pick up the size and the pitch of the holes to measure later. For the lower screen it doesn’t really matter, so long as the holes are smaller than the grains, yet big enough to let small stones and any dust through. I was given an offcut sheet which looked promising, yet when I tested some of the Organic grain from Wensleydale Farms, a lot of the grains went straight through and some stuck in the holes.

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However, I haven’t given up with it yet. I plan to test it with mosquito netting stretched over it next. Other possibilities are to electro-plate it or to have it dipped in an epoxy coating; anything to make the holes slightly smaller.

Also from our Steel Service Centre, I had some galvanised plates cut and bent. Ordered Monday morning, delivered Tuesday, not bad! I popped in to the Mill on Tuesday evening, just to check they were right. Particularly important were those for the top of the elevator.

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They looked correct, so did the long narrow strip for between them. I spent the rest of the week with the problem of how to make and assemble the cap for the elevator, to prevent grain being thrown across the building if the speed went too high.

The other thing I ordered first thing on Monday was a new belt for between the grain cleaner and the elevator. That was not so successful! The suppliers weren’t listening, and when the belt arrived on Thursday, it was not rubber lined as we asked for. After a few sharp words, the correct material was in our shop on Friday afternoon, just showing they could have given 24-hour service, anyway!

I did not ask for the lacing to be applied, but it came like that anyway. Somehow, though, the belt they made seems a bit shorter than the sample which they insisted on having. It is much tauter on the pulleys than the original. Anyway, it works; I’m just worried about excessive wear on the bearings.

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I then pressed the machine I built to make the buckets back into service, to make the curves in the narrow strip for the top of the elevator. It wasn’t easy, there’s less resistance in this thin sheeting than there was in a full width bucket, so I could easily let the pipe down too hard and cause a kink in the strip.

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The next problem was working out where to begin the second curve. On the first attempt, I made a flop and the two ends were too close together. Learning from the mistake, I could work out how much more to allow before starting the second curve.

I had bought some 6mm redibolt and some nuts on the way, so the plan was to hold the two sides together, pinching the strip between them. I marked out the outside of the curve and centre-punched and drilled four holes, those in the second plate were drilled through those of the first, with the two plates clamped together.

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I cut four lengths of redibolt and assembled!

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And it fits! I was worried about a slight opening up between the sides and the strip in the middle, so I simply used adhesive tape.

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The next task was to improve the ‘knife-edge’ in the area where the grain is thrown out of the buckets. As found, this was quite wide and grain tended to lie on the top.

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I used the offcut with the wrongly-positioned curve, cut in the middle of the curve, placed on top of one another and silver-soldered together.

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I forced the two apart until the assembly could be forced over the blunt ‘edge’ and played around a bit with heights and relative positions of this and the buckets.

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I was still worried that the assembly might, in service, fall over towards the buckets and jam them at an inconvenient time! There was a bit of the redibolt left, so I cut that to length to reach right through the trunk. Carefully judging the position of the apex of the assembly, I drilled through the trunk from the easy side. I couldn’t get a drilling machine in on the other side so I put the redibolt itself in the electric drill and fed it through the first hole, and along inside the apex of the knife-edge. Eventually the rough end of the studding ate its way through the second side.

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The stud now pulls the two sides together and not only prevents the knife-edge from falling towards the buckets flashing by, but it helps apply gentle pressure to pinch the unit in place.

Two groups of visitors came through, the latter couple being journalists who had just come down off the Green Mountain Trail, so I milled a few kilos of grain, more to test the elevator than anything else! The visitors were inadvertently witnesses to the Elevator working well for the first time!

 Andy Selfe

2nd October 2010