Current restoration

May 2019
Forging the angled rod ends for the 4 fan tail tie rods at the 'Hot metal works' at the Museum of Water and Steam in Kew.

We've got the ends, now for the middles...

March 2019
Fitting the control ropes and pulleys to the brake mechanism.

The brake lever is the slightly lighter angled beam (which is pivoted at the front of the mill- to the left in the photo). 
Its weight applies the pressure around the brake band, and the rope and pulley are to lift it clear when you want the sails to turn.  
You can also see the special hook which allows you to latch the brake up, but also release it with a sharp tug on the control rope.

February 2019
The hopper construction is 'furniture grade' carpentry!

November 2108
Turning up the first set of legs for the grain feeding hoppers.

October 2018
A new top bearing segment is now seated correctly on the rear of the windshaft. This is not an original feature but it will provide a safety restraint should the mill ever become 'tail-winded', and addressees the somewhat front-heavy sail layout, resulting from a relatively short windshaft.

July 2018
The brake band has been dismantled in the workshop and lifted into the mill in segments and reassembled in position around the brake wheel. The mounting chains and brackets to hold it clear, and the brake lever to apply it ,will follow shortly.

Then, once we know we can stop the mill, we can move to turning the sails using the wind.

March 2018
Work on a weight-powered door closing system for the workshop, to help keep in any heat!

January 2018
Final assembly of the new brake band, demonstrating that volunteers can do it!

On cleaning up the the original brake band irons, we've found stamped text suggesting they were made at Coalbrookdale:

September 2017
The replacement brake is being assembled- we have the original, but after close examination we decided that 'new copy' rather than 'restoration' was appropriate for such a safety-critical item

August 2017
Fitting the tooth blanks into the brake wheel. They have 1/4" taper on two sides of their shank to lock them in position, plus a complex tooth form which will be dressed 'in situ'

March 2017
Now the old shed has been removed there's space for the foundations for the remainder of the fan tail track to be dug:

They seem quite deep though!

October 2016
The Chinnor Historical and Archaeological Society have made a donation to help cover the costs of manufacturing the cast iron wheels, gears and bearing housings needed to complete the fan tail mechanism.

The C H A S logo will be incorporated into the patterns for these casting, providing a permanent record of their support to the windmill and their role in the village.

September 2016
Lifting the new windshaft tail beam on up to the upper floor, and lowering the badly rotten beam which it replaces -   two 1000kg chain hoists, 4 people, 5 hours.

August 2016
It's basic carpentry, it's just that the pieces are massive and so handling them takes time.

Here we are lifting a new windshaft tail beam up the steps into the mill.
Next time we'll lift it to the upper floor and into position, and lower the old rotten piece.

June 2016
Dismantling and clearance of the old iron shed.

We've made a raised bed in its place so we can grow some wheat for grain-to-loaf events (some time in the future)

The old iron shed is flat packed again for one last relocation.

February 2016
5 page article in Landscape Magazine (March/ April edition from page 88) on the mill's restoration 

Featured on BBC2's 'Escape to the country- Oxfordshire' as a reason to move to Kingston Blount

January 2016
The move into the new visitor center/workshop is now almost complete.
The the rusty old corrugated iron shed (which was at least third-hand when it was re-erected in 1982), which had kept off the worst of the weather while we made the replacement parts for the mill, is now cleared, ready for demolition.

December 2015
The sail are being moved forwards slightly and re-angled to improve clearance on the front left of the mill.

August 2015
In the grinding area the stone floor has been laid and the casings that surround the stones have been made

- but we are one set of mill stones short.... any offers?

February 2015
We've had the trench dug for the track on which the windmill fan tail wheels will run (using digger- not by hand!). This will be filled with hardcore and will also contain a drainage pipe to help prevent the mill base filling with water after heavy rain.

January 2015
The fitting out of the visitor centre with lighting, electrics and workbenches is complete,  so you can now look around a permanent display on the mill's history and restoration, and we can work in the dry and out of the wind!
(bring your own coffee and sandwiches!)

December 2014
The hay rake wheels had previously considering using for the fan tail carriage (see June 2013 entry) have proved too lightweight, so we have bought a pair of heavyweight wheels, originally used on a traction engine's water bowser in Cornwall:

In order to fit the worm ring gear onto this 10 spoked wheel, the pattern has been converted from 6 to 5 spokes: 

November 2014
Taking a break from fitting out the visitors centre

October 2014
A link to video of the sails being lifted into place is now under 'other websites'

September 16th 2014
Chinnor windmill now has sails again, 47 years after it was completely demolished, (seen here being turned by hand from inside!)

The volunteers have put in over 15,000  hours of work to get the windmill to this stage.

Lifting the sails in practice...(It went pretty much according to the plan below!)


September 2014 ...planning!
Lift sail number 1 (with the mill's 'parking brake' full on), then ASAP put number 3 on to balance things up again.

Breathe a sigh of relief, have a brew up, then release the brake and turn the sails a quarter turn.

Repeat with sails 2 & 4, then go home after a good days work!

September 1st 2014
The sails are now on site

August 2014
Test assembly of the fan tail blades onto their cast iron hub

July and August 2014
The 'visitor centre' is built up on the stone floor and foundation wall of a cowshed recovered from Milton Common.

Part of the building will form an exhibition area for artefacts from the mill and and displays on the mills history and restoration, and part will act as a workshop in which the remaining mill machinery can be rebuilt. 

23rd July 2014
The sails are being made for us by Dave Empringham and his team of millwrights, weather permitting we hope to fit them on the 16th -17th September

The sails will be fitted with canvas to start with, but have been designed for easy conversion to fit the surviving patent shutters, as and when funding allows!

July  2014 'Homework'
Scarf jointing an angled hidden dovetail joint onto one of the diagonal braces which support the fantail frame

13 April 2014
Fantail frame assembly lifted into place

31st March 2014
The fantail frame (built in the shed during the winter) is reassembled outdoors ready for lifting into position

27th October 2013

Tail pole fitted (laminated Siberian larch), and the stocks prepared ready for lifting into place

1st June 2013
Checking templates for the reconstruction of fan tail (from the one surviving blade):

and making patterns for the various cast iron gears required, a left handed worm wheel set to drive the fan stage wheels...

and a 3:1 bevel gear set for transmitting the fan drive down to the wheels

17th April 2013
Windshaft is lifted onto its bearings and the brakewheel wedged in place onto the windshaft

2nd Nov 2012
Featured in the Thame Gazette as we lifted in the auxiliary drive gear

July 2012
Working on the central strengthening stringer up the middle of the steps (using a two man saw)

National Mills Day 2012 (second Sunday in May)
Along with most other mills across the country, Chinnor mill was open to the public, with tours round the mill in the afternoon, explaining the mill's history, operation and restoration.

The new steps have now been lifted up to provide access to the mill.  This will make it easier to admit visitors safely without needing to climb a ladder as that had been the only way to access the mill since it was lifted onto the main post last summer.

Following the lift of the buck house onto the trestle earlier in the summer, work is ongoing to construct the permanent steps up into the back of the mill.  This will soon provide access for visitors and make working on the mill easier too!

The volunteer team works on the mill mostly on alternate Sunday mornings.  Please drop along and visit, or volunteer to help.

There is a link to a short video of the buck being lifted onto its post
 listed under 'other web sites'