Abbeydale Industrial Museum

Abbeydale Industrial Museum

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Project Description

After being granted a national lottery grant to help restore the 13th century steel working site for heritage and education, the old water wheels required major restoration to enable them be fully operational once again.

The Challenge

This project had many challenges but the main shafts for both water wheels were very interesting. The shafts had to be English Oak of course for this heritage project and at 5.4 metres in length, octagonal in shape, 450mm dimension across the flats and weighing over 1.5 tons each, exceptional planning was required for this project to be successful.

Whippletree selected mature Oak trees large enough and of a high enough grade to be suitable for the project. After cutting and milling to the hexagonal shape required, the sections were left to settle for a few months prior to shaping of the ends to fit the original cast iron gudgens. Abbeydale Engineers then put their skills to work to fit the shafts, balance them and subsequently replace the ‘buckets’ with carefully selected knot free English Oak.

The Results

Two working water wheels weighing approx. 16 tons each which now power the old steelworks most days and at weekends when open demonstrations are presented.

Additional Information

  • Clients: Abbeydale Industrial Museum 
  • Structural Engineer: A C S Structures
  • English Oak Supplier: Whippletree

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