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

Friday, 27 June 2014

Sails and fantail fitted at last, Wednesday 25th June 2014

After a bit of a wait for the ground to dry out again after a wet spell, we were ready to fit the fantail and sails.

The wind was initially a bit fresh, which made fitting the fantail slightly interesting (a large surface area to volume ratio=not very stable dangling off a cable). With another guide rope attached, however, the shaft was soon guided into its waiting bearings, and the bearing caps were swiftly fitted thereafter! At this stage the fan was left tied off, as we wanted to turn the cap manually. (The next day we tested it properly and it turned the cap from 90 degrees out of the wind, into wind with no problems.)

So, next came the sails. The first sail was lifted onto its stock and bolted/clamped into place. The 'empty' bit of stock was then lowered through the canister (the metal box at the end of the windshaft); thankfully it fitted. The second sail was then lifted and bolted/clamped to the stock. This was probably the most time consuming part of the day, as the two bolt holes could not be brought into alignment. It became evident that the sail needed trimming slightly to fit alongside the canister. This sorted the problem, and a bit of persuasion soon had the sail fixed in place.

After a bit of struggle getting the sails turned 90 degrees using the crane and a bit of leg power inside the cap (think hamster wheel), the process was repeated for the second pair of sails. These went on much more quickly (maybe we were getting the hang of it by now).

8 hours condensed into a few paragraphs!

We were back the next day to tidy up the wedging which locks the sails into place and to test the fantail. Longer term, the sails will be fitted with canvas, then we'll really see how she fares. All being well, the mill is capable of producing flour, but it is a very old machine, so we'll have to build up to that gradually. No doubt there'll be plenty of adjustments to be made along the way.

Just about to lift the fantail
A perfect fit

Fantail installed, now for the sails. (The paragliding enthusiast in me was trying to ignore the epic-looking sky at this point!)

Lifting the first sail onto the stock

Swinging the first sail over to the stock

Lining up the sail and stock

Almost there

Bolting the sail to the stock and getting ready to fit the clamps

First sail and stock dropped into the canister, now lifting the second sail for fixing to the stock

Repeat for the second pair of sails, and there you have it

Not a bad way to end the day

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