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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'.
     
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  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.
     
  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.
     
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  8. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Apologies if the photos haven't come out, Photobucket is playing up like a spoilt child at the moment.

    Since I reported last month, we've had to lay a 'few' more facing bricks and blocks on the lock chamber's walls.

    C&RT's engineer decided that the lock chamber's walls needed an extra couple of layers of bricks and blocks to accommodate a higher water level - the half mile long pound above the lock is to be dredged and the banks built up. Our volunteers cracked on with getting the job done and the job of re-building the lock chamber walls has now been accomplished. The scaffolders have been in again and raised the work platform to its final level that will allow us to lay the edge capping stones along the top of the finished chamber walls.

    This is the latest view of the lock chamber with the walls on both sides now up to (the amended) final height and awaiting the edge capping stones.

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    The scaffolders also removed the scaffolding in the upper fore bay after we had demolished the weir. The area has been washed, swept, hoovered, dusted and polished ready for the archaeologists to do some drawings before we start on the remedial work required in that area including cutting new channels for the stop boards.

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    The focus of our attention at the moment has turned to the area at the lower end of the lock where tidying up of the original brickwork is taking place. There's a fair bit of work needed in that area and the lower dam will have to be moved in order to complete the work - that should be "interesting". What isn't visible is some work that was undertaken to pin sections of the walls together where there were some cracks in the masonery. The work involved drilling into the brickwork, inserting some re-bar and grouting with a cement /water mix.

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    Finally a view of the network of scaffolding poles under the work platform. The scale of the re-build is starting to be visible and all will be revealed when the scaffolding is finally removed. This time last year we were still taking the walls down - have a look at Page 5 of this thread to make a comparison with today's state of play.

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  9. Chris B

    Chris B New Member

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    I take it if the upper pound level is being increased, the the wier for the bywash will be lifted as well otherwise the dredging will only result in higher banks?
     
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  10. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    The intention is to eventually close off the by-wash. When it was constructed , slots were built in to it to allow the installation of stop boards. I'll try to remember to take a photo of the slots the next time I'm on site.
     
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  11. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    As promised, here's a photo of the by-wash with the slots for the stop boards. If I heard correctly, the water level has to come up about six inches (two courses of brick). The lock chamber sluice letter boxes, through which the water will normally flow, will be slightly lower than the top of the stop boards, therefore the risk of the water overflowing the stop boards or the (soon to-be-raised) bank should be minimal ......(he said with fingers/toes crossed). The by-wash will remain in-situ so any overspill will just flow around the lock chamber and back into the canal at the lower end of the lock as it does now.

    [​IMG]
     
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