Welcome to Wheatley Windmill

1997 - 1999: Making the New Cap

With the original cap all but destroyed it was obvious a new cap would have to be fabricated. This job fell to mill restorer Chris Wallis, whose first job was to source enough of the original cap to use as a template for the new one, and where possible reuse the original material.

The first thing to be constructed was the ring that forms the base of the cap, and then the two giant oak shears were attached.

Next a series of oak ribs were fabricated to the original pattern (some of the original ribs had survived and were repaired sufficiently to allow them to be reused). A new Finial was also made that this time. By attaching these ribs to the cap base and to the suspended finial the cap started to take shape.

In between each rib a series of wooden slats were fitted, and then these were covered with a layer of plywood. Iron strips where then attached of the joins in the play wood sheets and the whole structure was coated with a waterproof sealant called bituthene. Another layer was then added to provide a rough surface so that the cap could be painted with bitumen to make in weatherproof.

The most complicated pieces of construction were the two dormers at either end of the cap. The front dormer is based around the wind beam and has the fitting for the windshaft in it. The rear dormer is a complex set of curves that form an arched door that gives access to the tail.

The whole structure was built at Chris Wallis's workshops near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and then transported in one piece to the mill.

The Finial is suspended over the cap base and the first couple of ribs are added.

The salvaged original oak ribs.

A view of the repaired and new ribs as the new cap takes shape.

A view showing how the top of the ribs are attached to the Finial.

The Cap dome takes shape notice the wooden slats.

The ply is added to cover the slats.

Metal strips are placed over the seams in the ply.

Chris Wallis inspects the dormer taking shape over the weatherbeam.

The inside of the top of the cap with all of the dome completed.

Chris placed the door frame in place for the rear dormer.

The ribs for the rear dormer are now in place.

A view from the inside of the cap looking out of the rear doors.

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