Acorn Bank Watermill Trust

Dressing the Stones

"Dressing" of the mill stones involves making the surface of the stone the correct shape and then cutting the furrows and "stitching", fine grooves running parallel to the furrows, into the stone. As the runner stone rotates the grain is cut into pieces at the edges of the furrows. The process is repeated as the grain and ground product moves outwards to the edge of the stones. The mill stones were dressed before they were used to grind flour in 2011 and we decided that they should be re-dressed in 2022.

Mill wright John Bedington visited us to dress our French Burr millstones. This involves ensuring the surface is flat, using blue colouring to show the high spots, which can then be removed using traditional mill bills. The pattern of furrows are then marked out and cut into the stone. This would have been done by hand but the use of angle grinders speeded the process up. The stitching was done using the traditional bills.

Using the bill

Using the bill to remove high spots on the bedstone

Marking out

The pattern of furrows is marked onto the stone

Marked up

The stone with all the furrows marked up

Using an angle grinder

The furrows are cut using angle grinders

The furrow

The finished furrow

Using the bill

Using the bill to create the stitching lines

A bill

The bill - a traditional stone dressing tool

Dressed stone

The finished runner stone