You may have seen this imposing building during your travels in the Great Haseley area of Oxfordshire. Sadly, it has fallen into neglect and the years have taken their toll. A major restoration project is now underway, aiming to return this historic building to its former glory. Follow the progress of the restoration in our blog....

The Restoration Team

Monday, 29 October 2012

An update on Cap progress

The scaffolding has gone, the temporary cap is still there, despite the weather, and we have retreated to the relative comfort of our workshop. After a brief hiatus, we have progressed with work on the reconstruction of the cap, so here is an update.

Much of the timber in the cap was too far 'gone' to be reused. However, some of the ribs have been brought back to life, with splice repairs.

The first task was to build the foundation of the cap; the 'cap circle'. This was made in a similar fashion to the curb, with curved oak segments butted together and joined with recessed metal plates. This was built upside down, to allow us to fit the metal track on which the cast-iron wheels (trolley wheels) will run as the cap rotates.  Many of the original sections of track were reused. However, a few new pieces had to be made to match, as some of the originals had been excessively distorted as the decaying cap had sagged. These were not flimsy pieces of metal, so this hints at the total weight involved.

Joint of cap circle segments, with track also shown
The whole cap circle, upside down at this stage

Next, we made a smaller version of the cap circle, which will hold the trolley wheels. These were made of elm, which should cope with the large cutouts. Again, the segments were joined with ironmongery.

Bearing cages overlaid on cap circle
Once we were happy with this set-up, the cages were removed and the cap circle segments were turned over the right way, to allow us to start fitting the ribs. These were morticed individually, hopefully at the right angle so everything will come together at the top. Each rib comprises a lower and upper part, joined together to give a reverse ogee curve. The top end of the ribs fit into a rather cramped arrangement at the finial, with every other rib morticed in, and the others fitting in-between.

A lower rib section, with splice repair, morticed into the cap circle
The lower part of the finial, morticed ready to receive the ribs

Getting up to date, we have now moved onto fitting the main timbers of the cap structure. More of this to follow in my next blog entry, coming soon......

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