Preparations for sail removal begin

After some time spent doing emergency holding repairs, it is time to do some more significant work on the mill this summer. As a result of  weathering and lack of previous maintenance on the sails, removing them will be the first task.

In preparation for removal, which will be completed with ropes and without the aid of cherry pickers or cranes, several jobs are being completed beforehand.  With the assistance of Andrew Kite from Downfield Windmill, we have achieved the following:

  • Loosening the neck bearing and greasing it (plus all other bearings) in order to allow the sails to rotate freely
  • Removing the fork irons which open and close the shutters
  • Loosening all the main bolts that hold the sails to the stocks (fortunately these seem to be stainless steel)
  • Removing the back stays that attach to the stocks (these were nailed on to the stocks which means it was difficult to salvage them unfortunately)
  • Freeing all other iron works attached to the striking rod which passes through the mainshaft (the main nut was very stubborn but being able to access it while the sails are still attached made things easier – this work is in preparation for stock removal)

To aid removal of the sails, a pulley bracket and trolley are being fabricated with steel sourced from the ever helpful M & J Engineering. The pulley will hold the ropes whilst attached to a winch, whilst the trolley will be used to move each sail away from the mill as it is lowered to the ground. Once on the ground the sails can be assessed, repaired and re-painted.

So far the preparations are progressing well and Steve Temple from Impington Windmill will be orchestrating the actual removal of the sails.

More to follow…

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