Acorn Bank Watermill Trust

Extending the Launder

The first job that was needed at Acorn Bank was to extend the length of the launder to reach the second wheel and create a mechanism to allow the diversion of some of the water to each wheel. This needed to be done during the closed season as we will not be able to run the mill until this work is complete.

In November 2023 scaffolding was erected to allow safe access to the launder. After the scaffolding had been erected in the wheel pit it was possible to climb up and actually look at how the water was directed to the first wheel. As it is a pitchback wheel it requires a box structure to direct the water into the buckets on the wheel to turn it. It is not enough to just let the water fall off the end of the launder where some of the force of the water would oppose the turning of the wheel. The second wheel being at overshot wheel won't need this.

Extending launder

Scaffolding being erected in the wheel pit

Extending launder

Getting the sides of the extened launder in place

Careful checking of the levels revealed that the original launder was actually rising slightly as it got to the first wheel, causing the water to need to be pushed up hill. This had to be remedied so that some of the water can go on to reach the second wheel. The launder support beams needed to have notches cut into them to allow the levels to be correct. It was then possible to install the sides of the extension and then start adding the boards that form the base of the launder.

Extending launder

Attaching the boards to the base of the launder

Extending launder

Attaching the boards to the base of the launder

It was decided to split the water so that two thirds will still go to the first wheel as this is the one we use for milling flour. One third can then go on to the second wheel to turn that. In this picture you can see that holes have been left which will allow the water to get to the first wheel. New directional boxes will be needed to ensure the water goes correctly into the pitchback buckets. We will also need to install shutter mechanisms that will allow water to be shut off to either wheel.

Extending launder

Access to the first waterwheel