Paddle gear update

A report by Jim White

Design and manufacture of the gate and ground paddle gear required for phase 1a is proceeding with the aim of dovetailing in to the installation of the first new lock gates. 

Final installation drawings have been approved and the necessary castings and gearing have been detailed and are in procurement.

The design visually echoes the gate and ground paddle gear as it was at the turn of the 20th century and was accepted by the Heritage Lottery Fund Monitor.

Orders for castings are being raised on a local company situated close to the canal and machining the castings will take place within a mile of the centre of Stroud.

We will keep the work as local as possible!

Traditionally the ground paddle gear is mounted on a wooden post, known as a jack head or post, and made from English oak, Quercus pedunculata.

However a much more durable timber for part submerging in water is Greenheart. Chlorocardium rodiei.

This timber has a life expectancy many times greater than oak and is used for marine piers and piling where the close grain and great hardness resist the wood boring mini-beasts.

Some of the jack heads are 4 to 5 metres long and 350mm wide and new oak is expensive.

Investigations discovered a source of reclaimed greenheart timber that had been installed in marine applications and was therefore suitably weathered, and at a much lower cost than new oak.

Always trying to be environmentally friendly about the whole restoration, as an experiment, two 3 metre long beams 400mm square were purchased by SDC and sawn to planks at a local saw mill.

These planks have now been stacked and await further milling and fabrication to make the jack heads.

That will be interesting, as each plank weighs about 200 pounds and is much harder than oak!

Having looked at commercial sources for the milling, plans are advancing to see if some of our expert CCT craftsmen, given the tools, could do the work for the 10 locks and onwards.

If it proves possible perhaps we could turn our hand to manufacturing other timber items for the project.

Watch this space!

Click here to read how this all came about