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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. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    I am curious why there is an anxiety about some slightly out of plumb old brickwork. If it is sound and not subject to any more lateral forces, I should have thought that the new brickwork could have been tied in regardless.
     
  2. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    When work started on the restoration, the extent of the damage that was revealed meant that the original plan, i.e to excavate behind the lock walls, build a support wall and tie the original brickwork to the new support wall, had to be abandoned. The walls were nothing remotely like "slightly out of plumb" hence the demolition that followed.

    The line in this photo shows just how far the walls were leaning.

    [​IMG]

    As demolition progressed, more cracks were discovered so we were instructed to remove more bricks. As well as the lateral cracks along the lock walls, there are cracks within the corner posts. If nothing was done about them, then those weaknesses would remain after the re-building. Please bear in mind that the intention is to restore this (and the other locks) to full working order so that when the lock is filled , there will be something of the order of 76,000 gallons of water trying to find a way out. Plus, the corner posts have to carry the weight of the lock gates and they aren't exactly lightweight. Also, please remember that we are doing this work under the direction of Canal & River Trust with considerable input from HLF and other heritage interests. If their qualified engineers say "Take more bricks out because the wall is out of plumb", then that is what we will do.
     
  3. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    I know what the original walls were like. I have followed the progress through your most interesting posts from the beginning. My question was not any criticism. From the recent photograph the small section that has just been removed didn't appear to be much of a problem. Incidentally, I am a qualified civil engineer although I haven't practised for many years. Keep up the good work.
     
  4. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    My apologies if I misunderstood the tone of your comment.

    Perhaps this enlarged section of my photo will make things a bit clearer.

    [​IMG]

    Starting from just above the concrete block there is a crack running from bottom left to upper right where the facing bricks have moved out of plumb. Although from my photo, the bricks don't appear to be very much out of plumb but they have been judged to be too far out to be left in situ. This part of the brick work is in the recess for the lock gates and we have now been told that they would have to be removed anyway in order to accommodate the paddles and rodding for the new gate. The brickwork to the left of that crack has been shown to be true. A rep from the gate manufacturer's is visiting next week to advise on the precise location required for the gate's furniture.

    I hope that explains why we are doing what we are doing (if that makes sense).
     
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  5. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    This week has been one of those when we reached another milestone on our journey of restoration.

    We have been joined by the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) for their summer camp. They will be with us for the whole of July and they're very welcome.

    They arrived over the weekend and set up their equipment. They are well organised with a bottled-gas powered boiler so there is a constant supply of the essential ingredient for a mug of tea. On Monday, they set about bricklaying in the lock chamber whilst the GCS volunteers dealt with the shuttering in readiness for the next concrete pour.

    The WRG's working en-masse in the lock chamber - like an army of red-helmeted ants - and laying the facing bricks.

    [​IMG]

    Both sides of the chamber were prepared for the concrete pour with a significant difference from the first pour. Most noticeable is the lack of re-bar mesh - the only visible sign of re-inforcement are the re-bar rods sticking out of the concrete. The rods, which are held in place by a resin, are seen in this photo of the final checks of the shuttering before the pour commenced. The delivery hose is in position ready for the first load of concrete.

    [​IMG]

    Another view of the off-side ready for the pour.

    [​IMG]

    The pumping machine ready for work. It tackled both sides from that position. It was a brand new machine with all the latest bells and whistles. Note how the WRGs have got on with laying the facing bricks - compare this photo with the first one above.

    [​IMG]

    All of a sudden the first load arrived, swiftly followed by the next load and the third load. There was a bit of a gridlock whilst the delivery trucks got themselves into position.

    [​IMG]

    Then the pour began. What you may notice is the lack of bodies in this area, quite simply because they weren't required at this stage. The pour was being controlled by the pump operator who was standing beside his machine but with a clear view of the whole site.

    [​IMG]

    ..and this is the man who done the biz; he never even got his boots dirty. The machine is so accurate he can put the concrete on a sixpence if need be.

    [​IMG]

    As the pour continued, a couple of guys got into position to rake concrete into the awkward corner.

    [​IMG]

    ...then it was time to start filling the near-side.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst the near-side was being fllled, tamping began on the offside.

    [​IMG]

    After eleven loads, the pour was complete, final tamping was done and the concrete was left to go off. It will be given a couple of days then the shuttering will be struck and we'll build up the walls so we can repeat the whole process again.

    [​IMG]

    The concrete itself is a special fast-setting, self-levelling mix which contained far'sands and far'sands of little plastic strands known as "hedgehogs" which help bind the concrete after it is poured. With it being self-levelling, a minimal amount of tamping was required coupled with the fact that the pump operator was so skilled at putting the concrete where it was needed.

    These are the "hedgehogs" which are mixed into the concrete.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, back to the weekend job where we have a fallen willow tree to remove from the cut and other things to keep us occupied then next week it's a new team of WRGs and more brick/block laying and shuttering.

    The next pour is due in a couple of weeks so we have to crack on to get things ready.
     
  6. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    At this stage in the restoration, the scene seems to be of little or no change. However, there are subtle changes which show that work is progressing.

    After the previous concrete pour, the shuttering was struck the following day and the preparation for the next pour got underway.

    The shuttering was stacked ready for its next use, pallets of blocks were positioned on the newly cured concrete ready for the next stage of building and the area behind the concrete base was backfilled upto the new level.

    [​IMG]

    Work continued on repairing damaged brickwork on the corner posts. This work is being carried out by WRG volunteers who are with us for the duration of their summer camp. That's quite a crack that needs sorting. Also visible are repairs which have been carried out using re-claimed bricks and lime mortar (heritage requirement).

    [​IMG]

    As work progressed on rebuilding the chamber walls, the height of the walls rose to the point where the "Working at height" regs came into play . So for the final time, this was the view of the lock chamber before the scaffolders arrived. It's likely that we won't see this view again until after the chamber walls have been completed.

    [​IMG]

    ...and this is what it was like after the scaffolders had paid a visit.

    [​IMG]

    With a stable platform to work on, more blocks were laid until the chamber walls reached the height required for the next pour. So, with the shuttering ready and re-bar rods in place, it was time for another visit by the concrete pump and a procession of cement mixers.

    [​IMG]

    On the day of the pour, the WRG's volunteers had been stood down because of the heat the previous day so the tamping. etc was left to GCS volunteers and some C&RT heritage trainees who are with us for the week. These are the old codgers of the Grantham Canal Society doing their bit whilst the young 'uns were having a break on what was a very hot day. Factor 50 was in widespread use.

    [​IMG]

    Once again, as in previous pours, suddenly it was all over, all the concrete had been delivered and poured, the final tamping was done and was going off very quickly due to the heat. All that remained to be done was to pour water over the concrete to prevent it drying out too quickly.

    [​IMG]

    After the pour was finished, the C&RT trainees started stacking bricks along the length of the working platform in readiness for more bricklaying by the WRG's the following day. GCS volunteers would be striking the shuttering and re-erecting it ready for the next pour as the build cycle repeats itself. One major change for the next pour is that the area behind the block walls to be filled with concrete will come in from 3 metres wide to 2 metres wide as the concrete support wall takes on a stepped appearance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  7. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Unfortunately, there's not a lot of progress to report as we suffered from major break-in on the site and were cleaned out of all the powered and hand tools which means we are trying to progress with what limited resources we have been left. It will take time and money to replace all the kit that was taken. Meanwhile, we are trying to make do with using our own tools which are more suited to the DIY environment. We have been able to lay some more blocks and bricks so I'll post some photos after my next on-site work day.
     
  8. nick813

    nick813 Active Member Loco Owner

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    sad to hear about the break in and lose of equipment.
    Would help if in a position to do so.


    n
     
  9. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    After the disappointment of losing a lot of kit we've cracked onwith more brick and blocklaying. At least the cement mixer wasn't taken.

    The canal looked as if the thieves had even nicked the water.

    [​IMG]

    Back to business, during the month of July we were helped by WRG volunteers on their series of summer camps. They were swarming all over the site like an army of ants. That mass of hi-vis in the background are the board of the C&RT, including their CEO, who were paying us a visit to see the progress.

    [​IMG]

    From this view note the height of the walls above the scaffolding planks in the lock chamber. The WRGs focused on laying bricks whilst GCS volunteers got on with the blocklaying .

    [​IMG]

    After a few days, it looked like this.

    [​IMG]

    After the WRGs departed, we carried on with a couple of new volunteers, one of whom is a brickie having a busman's holiday. Using his expert guidance and expertise, good progress was added to the efforts of the WRGs.

    [​IMG]

    On the other side of the wall, this was the state of play of the block wall when we finished on the Friday afternoon.

    [​IMG]

    ... and this what that bit of wall looked like the following Monday. There was only a couple of us on site that day so we had to mix the mortar, drink tea, lay blocks, drink more tea, tidy up and have a mug of tea before we left. Our aching bodies were ready for some rest.

    [​IMG]

    A few more blocks to lay then the wall will be at the correct height for the next pour. On the off-side, the block wall is already up to height. When the stolen power tools are replaced , we will be able to get on with various jobs which include setting up the shuttering for the next concrete pour.

    On top of all this, we have been chosen by the orange supermarket as their local charity of the year so weekends are now booked for a variety of fundraising events over the next 12 months. Busy times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  10. Stefan Mlynek

    Stefan Mlynek New Member

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    Really sorry to hear this news. Your project has been the victim of these scumbags too many times.
    I'd like to make a contribution towards the cost of replacing the stolen kit.
    Are you able to send me a personal message with the Trusts bank details?
    Stef.
     
  11. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Stef,

    You have a PM.
     
  12. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Despite the distraction of holidays being the order of the day, steady progress has been made during August.

    With the lock walls growing in height and the facing brickwork up to the same height as the block walls, it was time for the scaffolders to arrive on site to raise the height of the working platform before the next concrete pour.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst the scaffolders were raising the platform height, we concentrated on setting up the shuttering. This time, the shuttering was brought in a metre so not as much concrete would be required for the forthcoming pour.

    [​IMG]

    Another day, another pour. Note the reduced width of the pour area. Previously, the cement mixer (in the background) was above the levels we were working at, now it's below those levels.

    [​IMG]

    The pour complete. Note the stepped appearance of the concrete support wall - the width of the previous pour is visible under the shuttering supports. This will be even narrower as we reach the top of the wall. This being a much smaller pour meant we were all done and dusted by lunchtime and therefore, had an early finish to let the concrete go off. Now, it's a repeat of the cycle in preparation for the next pour.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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  14. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Oh dear, that is very sad. The fact that whilst we may enjoy doing what we do, we drop our guard at our peril.
     
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  15. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    It's been a few weeks since my last report.

    Progress on the lock slowed a bit due to volunteers having the temerity to take holidays - some of them even went exploring other canals on their own narrowboats. Me? - I opted for the easy option and drove down to Devon for my annual sampling of the clotted cream tea. We've also been busy in other areas which have taken volunteers away from the restoration project, which despite various distractions, still remains a very active project.

    After the last pour, we continued with the block and brick laying in preparation for the next pour. As we have laid more and more blocks, we have become more proficient - and I use that word loosely - so we are actually improving our laying rate.

    Hopefully, my next report will reflect the latest pour which has been delayed by circumstances entirely beyond our control. With a bit of luck, the administrative obstacles will have been overcome and we can crack on with what this project is all about.

    Unfortunately, I have been unable to include some photos of the latest state of play as my Photobucket account wont let me copy the images. I'll throw some chicken bones on the floor and mutter some incantations to see if that will work.

    Edited to add:

    The chicken bones seem to have worked. That plus the use of Mrs b's Windows-based laptop. It would appear that the latest update on my i-Mac upset the apple cart, so to speak, and is denying me access to my photobucket account.

    Here we go, some more pictures.

    After the last pour, work got underway laying more blocks. As we have become more proficient, and I use that term very loosely, we have been able tolay more blocks in a single day. This was my effort for one day.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst on the other side of the lock, one of my colleagues really cracked on.

    [​IMG]

    One area where our most competent volunteers are employed are where there really needs to be some one who knows what they are doing.

    For example:

    The ladder recesses:

    [​IMG]

    ...and tying the new bricks into the old brickwork.

    [​IMG]

    After each pour has gone off, our excavator and dumper drivers (aka the Tonka Toy kids), have backfilled behind the pour using spoil that was originally removed during the early part of the project. This spoil was stored on site and resulted in a mini-mountain beside our welfare cabin. As can be seen, the backfilling has now reached the original land level - making it so much easier to push the wheelbarrows full of mortar.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We are now ready for the next pour, which as I mentioned earlier in my post, has been delayed by administrative obstacles. I've been away from the site due to catching a bug, so next time I'm there I'm hoping there will be more developments to report on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  16. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    The bug I had caught kept me away from the lock for longer than I expected, so I missed out on a couple of weeks. However, back on site, this past week has been a busy one. We have had the Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) on one of their weekly camps to help keeping things moving forward. They come with a variety of skills and are very welcome.

    Monday started with yet another concrete pour which raised the levels a bit more toward the top of the chamber walls.

    This was the view of the off-side after the pour had been completed and the concrete tamped level. Note that the blockwalls for the next level are already taking shape above the level of the pour. This work was done whilst we were waiting for the concrete pump to come back on-site.

    [​IMG]

    The pour, which comprised only six deliveries, was completed before lunch so after a break for tea and sarnies we cracked on laying more facing bricks on the chamber walls.

    With the concrete pump on site, the opportunity was taken to pour some concrete into the upper fore-bay in order to provide the base for a working platform whilst repair work is carried out on the upper wing walls. This work will include cutting new recesses for stop boards. We already have new galvanised recess liners on site;

    This was the upper fore bay before the concrete pour. Note how the wing walls end abruptly. This came as a surprise as there was an expectation that the walls would extend further. Large facing stones had been added to the bank as protection for the entrance to the lock. When these stones were removed they were found to be just placed on the earth banking and not secured in any way. When they are replaced, they will be embedded in a mortar bed and backed by sand bags filled with a dry concrete mix. This mix will harden off over time and provide further support for the facing blocks.

    [​IMG]
    This was the upper fore bay after the pour.

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the WRG's, we also have some C&RT heritage trainees on site and they have been tasked with restoring the lower corner posts using the recovered bricks that we spent many, many hours cleaning after the lock chamber walls were demolished. The trainees are using lime mortar in this task.

    On the left of this photo is the corner post before they started.

    [​IMG]

    ..and this is what they have achieved so far. Looking good!!

    [​IMG]

    We have now reached a point where the scaffolding platform in the lock chamber has to be raised to another level . Hopefully, the scaffolders are coming early this week to do that job. The platform will be at its final height as there will only be a "few" more courses to be laid.

    This was the height of the facing wall on Friday. As can be seen with a volunteer in the background, we are getting back to the original height of the walls. The platform will be brought up to be level with the second top course of bricks.

    [​IMG]

    On t'other side of that wall, this was the state of play after some serious block laying. At one stage, one volunteer was laying the mortar whilst another younger, and much fitter, volunteer was laying the blocks.

    Whilst the scaffolders are doing their thing with the platform, we expect to be getting on laying the final few blocks to bring the wall up to the level for the next pour, then it will be a case of re-erecting the shuttering and other little bits of preparation. Hopefully, the next pour will take place in the next couple of weeks.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Circumstances beyond my control ( i.e. snottery noses, hacking coughs, sore throats and all the other associated symptoms of man-flu) have inhibited my activities at the lock restoration site, but I did managed to put in one shift. I managed to take a few photos before the desire to return to somewhere warm got the better of me.

    Preparations for the next concrete pour were proceeding with the erection of the shuttering on the near-side. We are getting near to the top and after this next pour we'll definitely be on the home straight. After the forthcoming pour, the shuttering will come in by 1 metre.

    [​IMG]

    On the other side of the chamber, the recently raised scaffolding platform had allowed bricklaying to reach new heights. This shot also shows how close to the top we are. The little tower of bricks at the extreme right of the photo indicates the actual final height of the chamber wall. Above that course of bricks will be the chamber edge capping stones.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, work on the upper, nearside wing wall has started with damaged bricks being removed in preparation for more repair work.

    [​IMG]

    All this work needs co-ordination and teamwork between the gangs who are doing the work - I'm on the Monday gang - so the team leaders had a meeting with the C&RT site supervisor to discuss the next steps on the way forward. Here they are talking about required work on the corner posts, having prised themselves away from the tea, doughnuts and biscuits in the welfare cabin.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst reaching new heights with the walls is very welcome, it now means we are out of the shelter of the lock chamber and are now exposed to the winds that can get a bit brisk across that part of the Vale of Belvoir.

    Finally a slightly different view of things. This photo of the scaffolding was taken looking through the sluice opening in the concrete weir that was put in when the canal was closed in 1932 - its purpose was to maintain water levels above the lock. There's quite a jungle of metal in there. The weir's days are now numbered and its removal will signify another major step forward in the restoration of the lock to navigable status.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Hot on the heels of my previous report, we had another concrete pour today.

    It turns out that this was the last pour for this particular part of the restoration. The decision not to do anymore pours was based on the fact that the next pour, if it had happened, would have been 1 metre narrower than this pour. This would have resulted in a very narrow ribbon of concrete behind the block wall; the cost of such a minimal amount of concrete (probably part loads) plus the hire charges for the pump really couldn't be justified. What will happen is an extra course of blockwork will be laid behind the facing bricks to give the support required. Bear in mind, the brickwork you can see will be above the water level when the lock is full.

    The pour begins on the off-side.

    [​IMG]

    The off-side after tamping. The blockwork now has to be built up behind the facing bricks, the good news is we don't have to go any higher.

    [​IMG]


    The off-side facing brickwork is now at its final height.

    [​IMG]

    The near-side wall is coming along nicely - if you look closely, you might see a couple of bricks laid by my own fair hands. Bricklaying activity will now be focused on this wall to bring it up to the height of the off-side wall - that's in addition to all the blockwork that has to be laid behind the facing bricks. It's all coming along but there is still plenty more to do.

    [​IMG]

    The shuttering we have used has had a bit of a battering due to all the pours it has supported. The C&RT site supervisor has decided it should be gracefully retired .....on a bonfire.

    Apologies for the different picture sizes - they're all meant to be 640 x 480 but Photobucket seems to be having "a day".
     
  19. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Nearly a month since I last updated. Photobucket has been playing up with re-sizing of the photos , so apologies if they appear to be different sizes, they are all meant to be 640 x 480.

    Some time was lost due to the weather; in cricketing parlance "rain stopped play" would be the appropriate phrase. There was no point in laying bricks/blocks as the rain would have just washed the mortar out of the joints. The ground was absolutely saturated and resembled The Somme in places, which meant that our plant couldn't move and even walking on the surface was a struggle. It's not fun trying to walk on squelchy mud in stockinged feet whilst one's wellies are stuck a few feet away. The surface of the site looks OK to walk on, but that boot-sucking mud will trap the unwary.

    [​IMG]

    The bog boards in the foreground were laid to move pallets of blocks/bricks up to the work face. The bad boy in the background turned up with fresh supplies of blocks and more are to be delivered over the next few days. Some Xmas presents don't come gift-wrapped!!

    However, we are a hardy bunch and have managed to carry on laying the facing bricks on the near-side lock chamber wall in order to bring it up to the height of the off-side wall. As well as laying facing bricks, blocks are being laid behind the wall in order to re-inforce/support the facing bricks. It seemed like an unending task until....all of a sudden there was space only for one more facing brick.

    [​IMG]

    One of our volunteers gently laid the final facing brick into the vacant gap.......

    [​IMG]

    .....and gently tamped it into place.

    [​IMG]

    That was it! The near-side lock chamber wall was finished. No fanfare, no popping of champagne corks or stop press news in the local rag. Just satisfaction that that part of the restoration appears to have been completed, whilst silently hoping that we have got the levels right and we don't have to add more layers! That didn't mean everything is just waiting for the gates to be installed and water let into the lock chamber. Oh no siree!

    We have something like 4,000 blocks to be laid behind the facing bricks as re-inforcement. At least we have made a start on that phase.. it may take some time.

    [​IMG]

    The eagle-eyed will have spotted that there has been some additional scaffolding installed up-stream of the weir - it's there for the next phase of work in that area.

    Jobs still to do include repairing the upper and lower outer wing walls, removing the concrete weir, re-instating the letterboxes and paddles, installing the lock edge capping stones and loads of other things that I can't remember.

    Work will be winding down for the Christmas and New Year due to the supervising Canal & River Trust staff being on holiday. Hopefully I'll be back with more news sometime in January.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    edited due to a photo not appearing properly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
  20. Vilma

    Vilma New Member

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    An excellent report again, as always.

    This really is the most interesting and well-presented thread on the forum, I hope you have as much fun doing the work and the reports as I do reading them!

    I really hope it all turns out well in the end and that the thieving scumbags don't return and are visited by a thousand demons in their sleep.

    Really good work. And not a word about the finished colour...
     
    GSN likes this.

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