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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. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Thank you for your kind words. The thieving scumbags have paid us a recent visit but they left empty-handed - a quad bike is no use for trying to tow a heavy duty pump up a muddy incline, plus ( you'll like this) they didn't spot the covert camera which captured their every action.

    The base colour at the moment is 'Vale of Belvoir mud', the finished article will be "Birtley Old Brick red'.
     
    Cullen and nick813 like this.
  2. Baldopeter

    Baldopeter New Member

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    Like many others I have enjoyed all the information you have given us. I was a volunteer on the Welsh Highland rebuild. It is always a problem when a project draws to a conclusion on what to to with all the postings. I do hope you can keep them for others to see in years to come.

    Regards

    Peter
     
  3. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    There's no early conclusion on this project as there's plenty more to do. There's another three locks in this particular flight which need to be re-built - that should keep us busy for a couple of years. Then, when that's done, the small matter of clearing the next nineteen miles of overgrown water way plus replacing numerous flat bridges before we get to the next lock which happens to have a de-watered section in the way. Then a new route to the Trent has to be excavated to replace the section at West Bridgford............and breath. Oh! did I mention the hope to restore the canal under the A1 and back to the centre of Grantham? I don't know if I shall see completion of the project in my lifetime but I shall keep doing reports for as long as I can.
     
  4. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Now that the festive season is past, it's been back to work with the rebuild. Unfortunately, the weather has not been in our favour and the considerable amount of rain that has fallen has made the site almost unusable by the vehicles.

    It looks fairly benign but it's just waiting to trap the unwary.

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    However, a trackway made of shuttering and bog-boards has allowed blocks to be moved upto the near-side wall so that the re-inforcing block wall behind the facing bricks could be built. The near-side block wall is now completed and is currently under wraps to allow the mortar to go off. The offside block wall will have to wait as the ground is just too wet and muddy even for tracked vehicles.

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    As further block wall construction is held in abeyance, our attention has turned to other tasks which can be conducted despite the ground conditions. As a result , our demolition skills are being tested on taking down the weir that was installed, circa 1936,to maintain water in the canal following its closure. The intention was to provide a water source for the farmers who's land was adjacent to the canal.

    The weir can be seem in the background when we were just starting to rebuild the lock chamber walls.

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    Another shot of the weir from the upstream side. It doesn't look very big until you try to break it.

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    Before we started using the breakers, some cuts were made into the concrete to try and help with the breaking. However, the weir is made of strong stuff and those cuts didn't really help.

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    This was the result of the initial assault with the Hilti breaker.

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    ...followed by a lot of shovelling to clear the debris.

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    As we broke the concrete, reinforcing bars became visible. Not your normal re-bar, but part of the redundant paddle gear .

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    Another shot of the breaking so far. Note the twist in the "re-bar" ex-paddles.

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    This piece of re-bar is the bit where the cogs of the paddle gears engage when opening/closing the paddles.

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    In the rubble I spotted some unusual discolouring.

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    It turned out to be the remains of a newspaper. Our guess is that the paper was used either as packing to fill gaps in the formwork/around the sluice opening to prevent concrete from leaking out when the concrete was poured, or to provide a break point between the shuttering and the concrete. We couldn't see a date on the newspaper but we suspect it is dated from around 1936 when the building of the weirs was stipulated in the Closure Act. Anyway, whatever the purpose, it's amazing that it survived in such a wet environment.

    Another point of interest, if you look closely, you can see one of the adverts is for guns!! I don't think that sort of advert would feature in today's newspapers

    What we will discover next on this project remains to be seen. In the meantime, there's more concrete to be broken.
     
    Aberdare, Enterprise and oddsocks like this.
  5. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Active Member

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    Grease guns if you read closely !

    Bob.
     
  6. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    I'll have a closer look when I'm next on site on Monday.
     
  7. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    We've been busy of late.

    When the weather has been suitable (i.e. not raining or forecast), our volunteers have been building up the block wall on the off-side. There's only a couple of courses to be laid toward the centre of the wall.

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    Off-site, the preliminary work to procure the lock chamber edge capping stones is underway.

    Meanwhile, when the weather has not been conducive to block laying, our efforts have been focused on demolishing the weir that was installed many years ago when the canal was officially closed.

    Bit by bit, we have broken the concrete with the trusty Hilti breaker. Sometimes the concrete proved to be tougher than the breaker's bits but we weren't going to let a broken bit stop us.

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    Finally, after the steps had been removed, we were left with the base of the weir and a concerted effort was made by yesterday's team to remove the remaining concrete.

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    We had to take care that we didn't damage the forebay floor, which proved to be a mix of brick and timber (oak?), when we were breaking the concrete. Removal of the last level of concrete was assisted by the fact that when the weir was built, a layer of gravel was laid over the forebay floor before the concrete was poured. This layer of gravel ensured that the concrete did not stick to the brickwork or the timber floor - perhaps someone had the foresight to realise the canal would be restored at some future date.

    Over the years, the gravel acted as a trap for mud/sludge that was carried by the water with the result that it became like a black clinker with the benefit that it broke quite easily. This layer of gravel/sludge helped provide a clue for when the breaker bit was getting close to the forebay floor by producing a change in the sound of the breaker's bit doing its work.

    At last, the final layer of concrete was gone to reveal the forebay floor in excellent condition and the likelihood that no time-consuming remedial work is required. The inside of the sluices also looked to be in reasonable condition. Beside the lower, horizontal scaffolding pole are the remains of the original paddles which were left in place when the concrete was poured.

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    If you're wondering, the broken concrete was shovelled into buckets which were then emptied into wheelbarrows for conveyance to the on-site spoil tip. The ground conditions at that end of the lock had deteriorated to the extent that it precluded further use of our excavator. Who needs to pay gym fees to keep fit???

    When the last remnants of the concrete were broken, one of the lock gate pivots still in its mount was revealed. Judicious use of some WD40, a chisel and club hammer soon had the pivot out of its mount.

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    The lock gate pivot. It's a heavy little lump of metal despite its size.

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    With the concrete weir removed, it's starting to look like a proper lock once more. Part of the team view the scene with the quiet, satisfied feeling of a job well done. In the background, more volunteers can be seen undergoing training to operate our excavator and dump truck.

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    The scaffolding in the foreground will be removed soon to allow remedial work to take place on the brickwork of the forebay wing walls.

    There's still lots more to do but the removal of the weir is one of those landmark events which spurs you on to the next challenge of the project.
     
    andalfi1, 60017, GSN and 11 others like this.

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