2021 Restoration Update 6

– Plenty of progress to report

We are still waiting for the Department of Public Works in Pretoria to sign off their approval to go ahead with repair of the masonry of Mostert’s Mill. But we have made plenty of progress re-building the wooden internals, for which we have permission from Heritage Western Cape. Today our Technical Manager Andy Selfe visited Jon Stevens (Floorscape cc) at his workshop in Maitland for the first time since he started making the Cap Frame, which is the framework on top of the tower. It supports the Windshaft (at 10° to the horizontal – you can see its tilt in the sketch) and is turned into the wind. The Cap Frame includes a number of horizontal beams which are just visible – they rest on the upper Curb Ring. Progress there and Jon’s skill in turning some old beams into a work of art is most impressive! Here are two photos of the Cap Frame under construction.

Long Stretcher

Jon is ready for the Long and Short Stretchers (the horizontal green beams), which Andy has been making in his yard. The long one is 12 metres long and 200 mm square, and can be seen suspended by a fork lift truck in the photo below. It just needs to be painted at the ends, and has wood sealer in the middle section which will be inside. That is shrugging off the rain we’re having today. Andy met Chairman John Hammer at the Mill who handed over paint for the Stretchers, kindly donated by Greg at LT Paints in Woodstock (thank you Greg – please support him!), and more metal parts to wire-brush and prime and paint. More thanks are due to Abie at Somerset Timbers, who has sliced up the offcuts of the Stretcher beams into planks which are being cut up to make another ring, which will support the thatch roof trusses.

The Windshaft

In your last Update #5 we mentioned a Eucalyptus tree, big enough for the huge Windshaft, that had fallen into a river in the Elgin Valley and was half covered by water. The river level has now dropped sufficiently to recover the log, and Alex le Roux says he’ll come up from Gordon’s Bay when he has a gap and cut it up for us.

The Curb Rings

Mike Sutten of Solid Engineering in Grabouw has been making solid progress with the Curb Rings as you can see above. They are well over five metres in diameter. When finished, they will need holes very precisely drilled to fit over the eight 19mm studs that are still jutting out from the top of the masonry shell of the Mill.

Andy also discussed with Mike the making of the Brake Wheel and Pinion, which will be right up his street, having done the impressive engineering at Elgin Railway Market.

Here is Andy straddling the top of the Mill wall, preparing to take the 32 measurements needed to locate the eight stud holes accurately. There were some very enthusiastic hoots and waves from passing vehicles. So yes, progress on all fronts!