Mostert’s Mill

+27 (0)82 771 6480
Rhodes Ave, Mowbray, Cape Town

2022 Restoration Update 11

Masonry and Thatching

The masonry repairs are complete, apart from one or two square metres of internal plastering that can be done only after the internal two floor decks have been installed.  The thatching has also been completed, and we acknowledge the generosity of JNA Thatchers (formerly Lucas) who did this work at no cost to the Mill.  The bird-proofing mesh was also installed free of charge by Colin Payne of Bird Deterrent Specialists.  Thanks to both of you!  One of the thatching photos shows the brake wheel supported under the lattice work.  The windshaft with its square cross-section will pass through the square hole in the centre of this wheel.  In the foreground is the brake block, which will be mounted around the brake wheel and be clamped down on that wheel when milling needs to be stopped.


Turning the Cap

The cap of the Mill has to be turned so that the sails will face the wind.  Turning uses the long, green-painted beams shown in the diagram below (the masonry and cap are not shown in this sketch).  The horizontal long and short stretchers are attached to the cap ring, and were installed earlier with the rest of the cap structure.  You can see the arrangement in the interesting old photograph below from the 1935 restoration of the Mill. The next step is to attach the tail pole and the four long and short braces.
The following photos show the first of the two short braces hoisted into position, and a satisfied Andy Selfe after he drilled a hole and fitted a large bolt to keep the short brace in place.  The second short brace has since been installed, and the two long braces will follow soon.



This has now been cut to size by Kimon Mamacos of Sentinel Timbers in Hout Bay.  The windshaft is mainly square in cross-section, but it has three important features. Firstly, the two long hollow steel beams (stocks) that carry the sails pass through rectangular holes in the outer end of the windshaft, as in the photo which was taken some time before the fire.  So Kimon had to drill and excavate those two holes (mortices) in the new windshaft.  Secondly, the shaft is supported by a cup-shaped granite bearing.  To prevent the wood from being ground away as it turns in the granite, iron flutes are set into grooves in the wood.  In one photo, you can see Kimon cutting those grooves, with the two rectangular holes visible further along the shaft, while in the next photo the metal flutes have been set into those grooves.


Thirdly, the end bearing of the windshaft has a cylindrical cast-iron cap, about a foot in diameter, that fits snugly on the end of the wooden shaft which is cut down to an octagonal cross-section.  This cast-iron cap rolls around in a second cup-shaped granite bearing.  Mills like ours were first made long before the days of ball- and roller-bearings!

The next step will involve some skillful rigging to lift up the windshaft and insert it into place inside the thatched cap of the Mill.  Meanwhile, doors and shutters have been made and installed, and work is continuing on the support beams and floor planking.  For more on that, see our next Update.

For detailed information on the whole restoration process, please visit compiled by Andy Selfe.

Yours sincerely – the Mostert’s Mill Restoration Team