Sluice Gates Restoration
Sluice gates were used to control the water flow to the mill, one before the mill pond, one after the mill pond, one along the leat and finally one just before the wheel, They were usually made from oak, pitch pine, Douglas fir or cast iron.
The top photo shows the original opening, I found the remains of the bottom oak frame in the stream bed preserved like rock!. I had a real job removing it from the sides of the walls with a chisel.
The 2nd photo shows the new sluice gate installed, the rack and pinion are originals found buried when I was excavating the leat. It took me many hours scouring other mill sites to work out how it worked, then I had them repaired and a handle made. The wood is green oak, I made them myself. I thought that the channel in the frame might swell and stop the gate sliding up or down but so far it has been OK. The purpose of this gate is to let the water back to the river quickly when the water wheel is no longer required to turn.
The 3rd photo shows the gate closed and how the leat starts to fill with water.
The 4th photo is of the gate valve from the pond. This will control the water flow during a flood, or it can be used to drain the pond.
The bottom photo shows the head sluice gate which is made of cast iron in an oak frame. This gate is original and I found this one in the wheel Pitt under about five feet of soil and rubble where the top of the leat had collapsed due to a tree growing through the wall behind the wheel. I believe that this gate which is also operated by a rack and pinion was operated by a lever inside the mill which lifted a cast iron plate shaped like a letter box to adjust the flow of water over the wheel.