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Grantham Canal - bits of rusty metal and other interesting stuff.

Discussion in 'Everything else Heritage' started by baldbof, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. mlivingstone

    mlivingstone New Member

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    Does this thread qualify as best thread on Nat Pres - I think it does :Happy:
     
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  2. nick813

    nick813 Active Member Loco Owner

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    Hello,
    Certainly one of the best!


    Nick
     
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  3. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    It must be as there have been no arguments yet, and no 'experts' insisting that they know more that those actually working on the project.
    The updates are on the interest scale pretty near those we get from the Patriot project.
     
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  4. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Thank you for your kind words folks, although I wouldn't call us 'experts'.

    In the past few days, more screed has been laid

    The off-side has been done and a start made on making the shuttering.

    [​IMG]

    The brickie inspecting the work.

    [​IMG]

    The Friday gang started on the towpath side and this is what greeted us yesterday morning.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the team getting on with laying more screed.

    [​IMG]

    ...and this was the state of play when it was home time. The camera has fore-shortened the view, there's only about 12 feet to go and that side is done.

    [​IMG]

    Other members of the team were being taught how to operate a tele-hoist for when the serious blockwork/bricklaying starts and yours truly plus his oppo spent the day cleaning yet more brickwork on the lower corner posts. I haven't posted any photos of the brick cleaning because it would be like deja-vu from previous posts.

    We had a weekend off our normal canal work because a few, several, the whole gang were having lunch in a pub on Saturday.

    Our progress this week has been hit through one of our number (the shuttering maker) ending up in hospital keeping the stent industry going. He's the fourth one in as many months - and the outdoor life is supposed to be healthy?? Anyway, get well soon Dave!

    More next week - providing we haven't dropped off the perch.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  5. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Thankfully this week has passed without any more 'casualties".

    Our depot manager has a 'new' toy to play with. He was "familiarising" himself with it on the Saturday. On the Monday he was fixing the bits he broke!

    [​IMG]

    Back at Lock 15, the week saw more block laying by the C&RT bricklayer. Coming along nicely on both sides of the lock chamber. More shuttering has to be made then the concrete supporting base can be poured.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Monday was a training day, this time with pedestrian-operated rollers. This was the training machine. We'll be using a bigger one for compacting the in-fill behind the re-built lock chamber support wall.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst we were being trained on the roller, other volunteers were putting recent training on the tele-hoist to good use moving stuff around the site and making the place look tidy(ish).

    [​IMG]

    Elsewhere on the canal at Lock 17, a persistent leak has forced some urgent repair action. The leak occurs when the water in the pound reaches a certain height and the water flows into the garden of an adjacent property. The owner is keen supporter of the canal but draws a line at it coming upto his front door. We had done previous work on a stretch of the wall surrounding the paddles but that work had not stopped the leak. When the level of the water in the pound was lowered, we had noticed what appeared to be failures of the mortar joints in some stonework.

    To help locate where the leak was actually coming through the wall, C&RT authorised the use of a mini-digger. I should point out that any work undertaken, has to be pre-authorised by C&RT after due process (which can take sometime) and we must follow their method statements, risk assessments, etc.

    [​IMG]

    As part of the investigation, we had pierced the ground with steel rods and had discovered a couple of areas where there was a bit of 'give'. After some spadework, this is what we found - canal water on the wrong side of the wall!

    [​IMG]

    Further excavation by the mini-digger confirmed that we had hit the right spot as it corresponded with cracks in the mortar on the face of the wall.

    This is the stonework before repairs. The cracks in the mortar are fairly evident after mud and stuff had been cleaned out and are directly in front of the hole shown in the above photo. Our previous repair work had been on the brickwork to the right of those stone blocks.

    [​IMG]

    This is the wall after the repair, which consisted of forcing lime mortar (a heritage requirement) into the cracks.

    [​IMG]

    We now have to wait for the mortar to go off before refilling the pound to see if that particular leak has been fixed. Fingers, etc are crossed as we are doing short trips this bank holiday Sunday and Monday from the wharf at Lock 18 and we need the water back in the pound for that to happen.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  6. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Hey ho!! Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. Unfortunately the work at Lock 17 to re-grout and stem the leak didn't provide the desired result, so more investigation is required. We think the water may be coming through the wall below the level to which we were allowed to drop the water.

    Back at Lock 15, more blockwork has been laid on the towpath side. This is one of our volunteers doing his brickie impersonation.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Whilst he was getting the blocks level and square, one of our younger members was getting on with the pointing. (Thinks: the young'uns should be doing the humping and leaving the lighter tasks to us geriatrics.)

    [​IMG]

    The initial blockwork on the towpath side completed. Some more of the original brickwork had to be trimmed back (visible behind the ladder) due to the wall leaning out of plumb.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, on the offside, the first of the facing bricks have been laid. It's small moments like this which mark a big step in the project.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For the next few days, I think we will be concentrating on making and setting up the shuttering for the concrete base which will be poured behind the blockwork walls featured in this and previous posts. Once the concrete has gone off, then some serious building of block work bays can get underway.
     
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  7. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Progress at the lock seems to be developing an increase in tempo. One of C&RT's own brickies was at the site for a few days instructing GCS volunteers in the art and mysteries of bricklaying. We all got quite a bit of practice building walls and doing the pointing. Some volunteers had never wielded a trowel in anger before so this bit of training proved very useful.

    One of the practice walls.

    [​IMG]

    One of our volunteers practising his pointing skills.

    [​IMG]

    Work has progressed in making the shuttering for the concrete base on which the block walls will be built. A number of panels have been made and placed along the length of the screed base. This was the view with the panels in place but before bracing timbers were put in place. In the background, the temporary scaffolding between the lower corner posts is being dismantled. Once the new walls in the lock chamber have been partially built it will return, this time filling the full length and width of the lock chamber to allow the bricklaying teams to do their thing.

    [​IMG]

    This is the view of the lock after the scaffolding was removed.

    [​IMG]

    We had to add more bracing timbers to the support posts for the shuttering, otherwise when the concrete is poured , its weight would push the shuttering out of true.

    [​IMG]

    One of another gang had commented on how difficult it was to hammer the shuttering support posts into the clay. We hand-cut a point onto one of the posts and it went into the clay without too much of a problem. That said, the hammer we used was in the form of the bucket on the arm of our digger.

    After finishing the extra bracing for the shuttering we had to add some batons to the shuttering panels which will be used for tamping the concrete level when it is laid. That little job done it, was time to clear the screed base and start putting the re-bar in place in preparation for the concrete pour. We laid the first two panels on bricks but have left the rest of the laying for the other gangs - can't have them sitting around drinking tea cos there's nothing to do.

    [​IMG]

    Today was yet another day in the Vale of Belvoir when we were blessed with beautiful, warm sunshine. Some of our colleagues have questioned whether our particular gang have some arrangement with a higher authority because, they complain, they seem to get the rainy days. One could not possibly comment!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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  8. huochemi

    huochemi Active Member Friend

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    Forgive me for asking if this has already been asked before, but where exactly is the work taking place? Having walked/cycled much of the Grantham Canal from the Nottingham end, I assume it is towards the Grantham end?
     
  9. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    It is Lock 15 which is the middle lock of the Woolsthorpe flight. It's half a mile north of the Mucky Duck (aka Rutland Arms) pub, between Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir and Muston. The post code for the pub is NG32 1NY. The pub is currently being refurbished and is rumoured to be re-opening in mid-June. We are doing short rides on our trip boat from Lock 18 this coming Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday and there is also a plan to do guided tours of Lock 15 to view the work. If you're down that way this weekend, you will be more than welcome.
     
  10. huochemi

    huochemi Active Member Friend

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    Thanks. We will come and have a look.
     
  11. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    This photo was taken by the leader of the Tuesday gang.

    This was the result of today's efforts by his gang - they certainly put in a shift! Only one more panel of mesh to be put in place, then it's time to pour that concrete.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  12. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    After a successful Bank Holiday when a lot of people sampled our short trips from Lock 18 at Woolsthorpe, it's been back to the "day job" at Lock 15.

    Work has continued preparing the off-side for the concrete pour which is due to take place this coming week.

    All the off-side re-inforcing mesh is now in place and tied in. .

    [​IMG]

    More mesh is required on the tow-path side. Hopefully, it will arrive before the concrete.

    [​IMG]

    Team members have been putting their bricklaying and pointing skill into practice after training delivered by C&RT's own bricklayers.

    [​IMG]

    Bricks were laid up to the top of the block wall so that they won't interfere with the tamping of the concrete after its been poured.

    [​IMG]

    My first bricks laid in anger. When I checked how level they were, I was quite chuffed that the bubble in the spirit level was right where it should be.

    [​IMG]

    A view of the weir that was constructed when the canal closed and the gates removed back in the 1930s. The weir's purpose was to retain the water in the stretch above the lock as farmers used the canal water for their cattle and crops. All the locks had this treatment when the canal closed which means we've got a bit of work ahead of us before the canal is fully restored.

    The leak through the temporary dam seems to have stopped so that will allow us to pump out the last of the water and start clearing the mud/silt in preparation for repairing the wing walls. Also revealed is part of the timber fore bay and cill floor for the upper gates. The weir will be removed in due course through the use of a pecker attached to the jib of the excavator - it's most certainly not a hammer and chisel job.
    [​IMG]

    Just to remind you what the lock was like, this was the scene a year ago just before the work started.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    A bit of a long report this time, but a lot has happened.

    This week dawned with high expectations of a significant event. However, some jobs needed completing before the great pour and the most important job, that of laying the re-inforcing mesh on the near-side, couldn't be completed because we were still waiting for a delivery of the aforementioned mesh. That said, the lack of mesh didn't stop the work and we occupied our day clearing out mud and silt from the front of the top gates, exposing some more of the cill in the process.

    It was a blistering hot day and although our digger could reach some of the silt, elbow grease and shovels were used to clear those bits inaccessible to the machine. A quick sweep with a broom and a wash-down with a few of buckets of water and it was looking (almost) as good as new.

    [​IMG]

    The digger did manage to extract this piece of timber which was lying in the mud on the near-side. We think it acted as a fender at the entrance on the lock as there is a corresponding piece of timber standing upright on the off-side. You can see the remaining piece sticking up in the photo above.

    [​IMG]

    Wednesday was confirmed as concrete pouring day so it was all hands to the pump ( sorry about the pun). Come the day there was something missing - the concrete pump that had been booked was not available so the pour couldn't proceed. However, that was a blessing in disguise as the re-inforcing mesh didn't finally arrive until mid-morning and laying that would have conflicted with the concrete pour. Also on scene were a TV crew from BBC East Midlands who were there to do a follow-up report after a previous programme. They very kindly posed for a picture.

    [​IMG]

    If we picked up and carried a sheet of mesh once, we must have done it five or six times whilst the camera man tried to get the perfect shot. Then there were the various pieces to camera which required several takes. Then there were the breaks in our work as the machinery was making too much noise, there were aircraft flying overhead, then some of their kit failed. Finally, there were the interviews with people involved in the project. I was pinged cos I've got a good face for the radio.

    With that all going on, we actually managed to get the final sheets of mesh laid and tied in.

    [​IMG]

    The lack of concrete also presented an opportunity to carry out some repairs on the cill wall. Helping with that work were some C&RT apprentices on a training week. The work involved chopping out damaged bricks and repointing with lime mortar - lime being used because that part of the restoration is on remaining heritage structures. Here's one of our volunteers - who just happens to be an amateur blacksmith - showing how to wield a hammer. The area to the right is where the brickwork has been pointed by lime mortar.

    [​IMG]

    The message was then sent out that the pour was on for Thursday. Arriving bright and early, the pump was on site and getting ready for the concrete.

    [​IMG]

    All that was needed was the concrete so we waited a while, waited a bit more and some more. Then we saw the concrete mixer..... on the wrong side of the canal. After making a several miles detour to avoid a weak bridge, the mixer finally arrived.

    [​IMG]

    ....and the moment we had been waiting for finally happened.... the first concrete started pouring into the base.

    [​IMG]

    With the first load discharged, the mixer driver was asked where the other wagon load was. "What other wagon? It's only me." I can't repeat the words used otherwise I'll get banned. Cue start of many phone calls of increasing urgency. The driver said he would return to his depot pick up another load and get back as soon as he could but it would take at least an hour. Deep joy!!

    At least the delay meant the tamping team could get on with developing their tamping technique without feeling pressured by a queue of mixers waiting to off-load. After tamping the first load it was time for a mug of tea.

    [​IMG]

    True to his word, the mixer driver was back in just over an hour and another pour got underway. The C&RT apprentices also got in on the tamping act to give them some experience.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually the concrete deliveries seemed to sort themselves out and with the nearside completed the team's attention turned to the off-side.

    [​IMG]

    Then came the moment when the last load of concrete had been discharged and the final tamping completed. By doing the work in one day, apparently over £1,000 was saved in hire fees for the pump.

    Here is a couple of views of the completed work.

    The near-side base.

    [​IMG]

    The off-side base.

    [​IMG]

    A major milestone has been completed and that will allow work to proceed rapidly on building the support walls. It was generally agreed that it was a job well done and as it was very hot that day, several cold beers would be needed to quench some thirsts.

    Our relief at getting this job done was dampened by the fact that the site was broken into earlier in the week and, amongst other things, over £1,000 worth of reclaimed bricks were stolen. We had spent a lot of time cleaning those bricks. Unfortunately there is a lot of this sort of crime in the Vale of Belvoir, usually carried out by those who live a transient lifestyle. So if, you live in that area, and your builder has suddenly "found" a load of bricks to repair your Grade I/II listed building, they're probably ours and we would like them back.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
  14. nick813

    nick813 Active Member Loco Owner

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    Sad to read about the loss of your bricks.

    Hope they turn up.
    Looking forward to the next instalment!

    Cheers!
    Nick
     
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  15. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    After the gorgeous sunshine when we completed the first concrete pour, the rain arrived ...and some!! The bad weather continued over the weekend and continued on the Monday which made conditions extremely difficult. We managed to strike the shuttering and stack it ready for the next use, but that was all we could do. It was too wet to do any brick/block laying.

    You can see and feel the wetness in this photo. The brickie has just called "rain stopped play".

    [​IMG]

    It kept chucking it down over following days to the extent that there was some flooding in canal-side properties at Woolsthorpe which required the attendance of the Fire Service to pump the water out. It was thought that the source of the flooding was from the canal so the the paddles were opened to empty the adjacent pound. Unfortunately, Lock 15 is downstream of that pound and the water had to go somewhere and some of it ended up in the lock chamber which meant a lot of pumping had to be carried out before our volunteers could get back to work. Our friendly farmer reported that, at one stage, according to the rain gauge on his weather station, 2 inches of rain fell in an hour! The flooding turned out to be caused by run-off from the surrounding land.

    As the ground was so difficult underfoot, one of the teams built this walkway so folks could get down into the lock chamber without sliding down on their backsides.

    [​IMG]

    This past couple of weeks, we have been re-inforced by a group of C&RT apprentices who have also assisted us in erecting the off-side shuttering in preparation for the next pour. One of our volunteers can be seen giving us a wave from the upper dam.

    [​IMG]

    As the weather cleared up, there was an opportunity for the C&RT folks to get on with block laying and positioning blocks and bricks for the layers. The offside block wall coming along, bringing it up to the level for the next pour. The shuttering is in the background. It still needs to be properly secured to prevent any movement when the concrete is poured.

    [​IMG]

    The C&RT apprentices, with their fit young bodies, were used to stack more blocks on the near-side in preparation for laying. Our aged bodies were relegated to making the tea by this stage!!

    [​IMG]

    With fair weather forecast for the next few days, more progress should be made before the Waterways Recovery Group turn up with their volunteers for their summer camp during the month of July. WRG are recruiting bricklayers so we are looking forward to a massive change in the scenery by the end of July.
     
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  16. Vilma

    Vilma New Member

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    May I please say that this is by far the most interesting, informative and thorough thread on NatPres?

    If only they were all this good! And no speculating or arguments about colour at all!

    Wonderful. Keep it coming.
     
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  17. Stefan Mlynek

    Stefan Mlynek New Member

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    Hi @baldbof,
    Being a canal enthusiast myself, your thread has become essential reading, certainly the best thing I've seen on the forum.
    We've had no progress reports from you for a week and I'm missing your updates and pictures. Have you lost your shovel, or is this just a quiet period before the summer camp?
    Stef.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  18. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Hi Stefan and Vilma,

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Visually, there doesn't appear to be much change from my previous report. We've laid more blocks for the supporting wall, some more facing bricks and re-erected some of the shuttering in preparation for the next concrete pour. Standing on the edge of the works it doesn't look like we've done anything. Just before I left the site on Monday, I looked round and thought "Have we done anything today?". It felt like we had done a lot of work but had nothing to show for it. Plus, I forgot my camera! :Shamefullyembarrased: Must try harder next week!

    The WRG Summer Camp starts around the 9th July so I'm hoping there will be plenty of opportunities for more photos to whet your appetite.

    Some of our volunteers efforts had to be diverted to elsewhere on the canal in order to save one of our boats which was threatening to become a submarine. We're not sure if this was due to the excessive rainfall over the past few days or the actions of some malevolent ne'er do wells. It is perhaps a coincidence that our depot was also broken into and a Westwood ride-on mower was stolen.

    Here's a link to our web-site showing the item that was stolen.

    http://www.granthamcanal.org/m/
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  19. Stefan Mlynek

    Stefan Mlynek New Member

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    Thanks for the update @baldbof. Somehow a 'like' doesn't seem appropriate. Hope the equipment is recovered.
    Stef.
     
  20. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    As I didn't want to accompany SWMBO on a shopping trip for shoes, I was given a free pass to spend an unscheduled day at the lock - this time I remembered the camera.

    As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there doesn't appear to be very much change since my last report.

    View from the upper off-side post.

    [​IMG]

    View from the upper near-side post.

    [​IMG]

    However, the view from the floor of the lock chamber shows something different.

    This is the near-side looking toward the lower corner posts.

    [​IMG]

    ...and this is the off-side from t'other end of the chamber. Like children you haven't seen for a while , it's case of "My! Haven't they grown?" The wooden post is to help get the correct line for laying the facing brickwork; there's a corresponding post at the far end of the wall.

    [​IMG]

    The block walls are now up to the level for the next concrete pour , so over the next few days, the teams will be securing the shuttering.

    Closer inspection of the brick/blockwork shows how the new is being tied into the old.

    The off-side wall adjacent to the sluice outlet.[​IMG]

    Just a reminder of what this corner looked like before the new bricks were laid.

    [​IMG]

    The nearside wall blockwork at the upper corner post.

    [​IMG]

    The nearside wall adjacent to the sluice outlet.

    [​IMG]

    ..and this is what the nearside was like before the bricks were laid.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, at the near-side lower corner post, more brick work has been chopped out as that wall still has a bit of a lean on it. Chopping out will allow the replacement bricks to be tied into the parts of the wall which are not out of plumb.

    [​IMG]

    At the opposite corner post, new bricks are forming the recess for the lock gates when they are fitted.

    [​IMG]

    The next concrete pour is scheduled for next week so we now have to knuckle down and get all the preparation done in time. The plan is to repeat the method used in the first pour, that is have the big pump on site and a delivery every 30 minutes. Apparently, some WRG folks are on-site next week and they will be assisting with the pour.

    Finally, the site still hasn't dried out after the recent rains and water is still finding its way into the groundworks. This was the view as the water behind the off-side base was being pumped out. You can also see the water in the first photo of this update.

    [​IMG]
     
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