Our apologies for the lack of updates from Prior’s Flour HQ! The New Year has seen lively shop and online flour sales, so thank you to everyone for your continued interest and business!
At the end of 2020, we completed an important piece of planned maintenance, the replacement of the Fantail Stocks and Blades. This critical piece of infrastructure enables the mill to turn into wind 24 x 7 x 365.
It works by catching gusts of wind which are blowing at any angle other than 0 & 180 degrees – so it stops when the mill is facing directly into the wind!
The fantail blades were originally made of separate boards of red deal (pine), but during the restoration of the mill, they were replaced with marine-grade plywood sheets. These proved very long lasting, but did not look quite correct.
Our millwright cut and shaped new Fanstocks – seen here made from Balau. This timber will last many years and is highly resistant to rot. The timber was then painted ready for installation.
Each of the old Fanblades were then removed, one by one – here you can see only two blades left! The fantail is not only critical to the safety of the mill, but also has to operate with a fine degree of balancing and precision. When the mill has to respond to a sudden change of wind direction (for instance in a storm), the fantail will turn at 30 – 40rpm – a blur, so it has to be perfectly balance and run true!
Here we see the new fanstocks being fitted and installed before the fanblades are fitted into each fanstock.
And finally, the completed job – the new fantail fitted with its tie-rods (which stiffen the blades) illuminated at night. You can see the joints of the fanblades – each board beautifully finished, running at 90 degrees to the fanstocks! Our millwright worked with old photos and the remaining fragment of the original fanblade and fanstock we have from the mill from the 19th Century to ensure that the angles and sizes are as close to the original measurements as possible!
Our thanks to millwrights Paul Kemp and Cam Southcott for their excellent work.