September 28 , 2000

Heiligerlee, NL - Chapter II - The grinding stones and their associated mechanisms

Thanks to a very successful fundraising campaign, the Friends of the Windmill in Fulton, IL, made it possible to already write a second chapter on the construction of Fulton's authentic Dutch beltmolen-type windmill as of today.

Everyone who got excited while seeing photographs here of enormous pieces of bilinga wood being transformed into an actual windmill, will have to adjust to the different scale of the current phase in the project.
But let me tell you upfront: this phase is at least as exciting as the previous one, especially if you look at what the current phase will lead to: a grain-grinding De Immigrant!

While getting ready to fully appreciate the up-coming webpages, you'll have to know this. One of the things Dutch millbuilders are rated by, is how good they are as "watch makers". "Watch makers", you'll ask. Yes "watch makers". See, the internal gears of a windmill have to be created with the same dedication, the same precision, the same craftmanship as the proverbial Swiss watch.
The Molemas have a reputation in this field. Already Mr. Molema's grandfather was known as "the watch maker".

First a little flashback. Still remember the huge, February 1999 piles of bilinga? Thirty metric tons!! Just as a reminder, a photo from a year and a half back, the mild winter of 98/99:

But now, we're talking a different scale of things. And different skills.
Currently the Molemas are working on the fine-to-be-tuned mechanisms for the grinding stones (contract #2): a more 'delicate' job, a full autumn and winter of highly skilled work.

Part of the wood for contract #2 is already in their workshop, being transformed into what will eventually be a spurwheel, a hopper, several axels, short: the complete internal gears to make windmill De Immigrant grind grain starting in May of next year (2001).
And part of the wood is still outside. For example (again) bilinga wood, great for its constructional strength. The bilinga wood is, amongst others, going to be used to support the grinding stones and to create (we are truely sorry but the mill is going to be a little less 'open' than it is now) extra floor space for Fulton's volunteer millers to work on.

Also outside we find elm wood that will eventually be transformed into a spurwheel.

Inside the workshop, the Molemas are now working on the mechanisms for the hoisting system.
The heavy sacks of flour will be lowered by means of several wheels and axles. One of the set of hoisting wheels below has been primarily made of similar lengths of elm wood as shown above, but the Molemas also used bilinga wood (as you can see by the different colors).
The connecting rods (between the upper and the lower wheel members) are made out of ash-wood. The choice for this specific mix of woods is dictated by the natural characteristics each type of wood has: either flexibility, strength, durability etc.
Fulton's volunteer millers will undoubtedly recognize the pages yours truly had with him while visiting the Molema workshop and put on this wheel for decorative purposes, right? The Guild's Volunteer Miller's Manual...

Below, short pieces of wattle wood waiting to be carved for the wheels.

More parts of the hoisting mechanism: parts of wheels and a round wood / axle that will be used to wrap the ropes around to hoists the sacks of flour.

Still square and still waiting outside the Molema workshop, these parts of bilinga and elm wood will be round axles too within the coming months...

All this carving and processing of wood...
I'm sure my cats would love a visit to the Molema's workshop: the biggest litterbox they'll ever see...

And, by the way, Eric

and Guus

are doing just fine.

After the 'photo session' (as you probably noticed, it was already after hours when I got there today), Mr. Molema, Guus, Erik and I discussed the progress on the work in their office.

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Building windmill De Immigrant

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