Anybody made a rotary quern?

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tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Cheers Mary!
I'll measure the bowl and work out what the proper size of the pestle should be from the proportions of other sets I've seen on the net. Thanks very much by the way!

i wonder what it was used for back in the day?

ill start cleaning it tomorrow anyway, there's a small crack but it won't effect using it.

From the number on eBay etc they don't seam that uncommon, although no doubt the older they are the fewer of that type survive. I'm amazed there's not any information on dating them ( I've googled every variation on the theme I can think of ) as bits of them, or whole ones are being dug up a lot. I've written to the local museum service to see if they have any contacts who could point me in the right direction. I suspect something this heavy wouldn't be shipped far, not when locally there is suitable rock and a big quarrying industry etc.

atb

tom
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Walking home a neighbour called me over to see if I wanted this to restore as he was throwing it out.

imagejpg1_zps55f8b5c9.jpg



It will be a long term project as I will be cutting it down , sanding the thing to death and shrinking wide copper or iron (probably actually be mild steel) bands on to it. Basically ill be making it approximate a Anglo Saxon bucket for gloops to use in the garden. I 'll fit a bail handle of course.

'must be some sort of karmic reward for spending 3+ hrs cleaning one of the two carpeted zones in the shed, I got through a full bottle of vax shampoo. It took 8 or 9 fills of the machine and endless kettle fills thrown on and scrubbed madly to get the glue, paint etc off. Perhaps I shouldn't leave it so long next time......

'actually my real reward was the 14 little 1:1200 white metal sailing ships and rule book arriving that the wife ordered for me only yesterday. Brilliant service and the guy chucked in various freebies! As ever I digress.

atb

tom
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
With the weather starting to change my thoughts have returned to making a quern stone in time for next years harvest. The middle son has been busy preparing the ground for planting the bere barley and on Wednesday we ripped out a dying bush ( the greenery was mainly parasites climbing all over it ) that has added another 8 foot square patch. There's a bit more digging and weeding to be done then we will source some well rotted manure and dig that in, maybe borrow a rotatvator as the weeding and digging has been done by hand and all the real nasties have been removed already.

Anyroad I was wondering if before I start anyone had any more pointers or advice, especially any drawings/dimensions I could use to make the final design. I'd like to do one I could also use if I ever finally do some living history so one that wouldn't look out of place in 10th century northern England would be ideal, especially if its a style that will do for earlier periods as I've a interest in the late Iron Age as well, say early Roman conquest. I've been poking about the net looking for books on the subject but my googlefu is as poor as ever.

From boots I have picked up a decent array of tools and PPE, just need to have a pattern before I get some stone.

ATB

Tom
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Found this book, too rich for my blood so I will try and get it on inter library loan. Looks like it should have the info I need.

http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/the-stone-of-life.html

Also I've been chatting to a stonemason and quarry man in the valley who works in gritstone, over the net like, and he seams to be prepared to supply the stone from off cuts, which sounds hopeful. He's already supplied beehive rotaries and saddle stones to museums so knew what I was on about.

ATB

Tom
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
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Scotland
Haha, Toddys right atween finding the mortar and being given the bucket you're a jammy so-and-so just now. Both cracking looking pieces.
Interesting stuff and I'm really enjoying the thread.

Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
For various reasons the rotary quern project has stalled (still got a couple of months before there's own to harvest so I may get there yet ) but I've just got to the part in Traditional Food In Northumbria where. Theses a page or two on making frummety and the equipment used to prepare the grain.

image.jpg1_zpsz3cxbzqe.jpg


So it's a knocking trow we dug up and there's two bits for me to turn, a bittle and a Knokin-mell!

i've been looking for more info now I've the proper names, particularly the wood used for the head of the mell and the bittle. Ash would be the logical wood for the handle of the mell. No joy so far.

ATB

Tom
 

tombear

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Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Ps, bit the bullet and put a chit in with herself and she's ordered the Finds Research Group Volume 2 that should have the info I need to finish the working drawing for the Quern.

ATB

Tom
 

boatman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
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Cornwall
We wondered if the earlier saddle querns were for cracking grain to make a sort of porridge. Our own, and the child slaves, efforts were not that productive of usable flour. The saddle quern would also have been good for turning roasted sprouted grains into malt for beer. Beer has been suggested as the original reason for barley cultivation. Rotary querns are an industrialisation of the process and do produce reasonable quantities of bakeable flour.
 

tombear

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Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Aye, boiled up crushed grains is something I've never tried so we are going to have a go as there's easily followed instructions in the book. We've got whole spelt from a health food shop and what we didn't plant from what we gleaned at St Fagans when they were preparing their crop for the straw for their round house roofs. Also the lad got a sack of barley for malting so we can try that.

On that vague note. The spelt we planted a bed and a half of is doing surprisingly well on our poor upland soil. The lads says he's seen some of the Hebridean rye sprouting but it could be weed grasses for all I know. The few heads worth of emmer and einkorn herself put out as seedlings haven't died yet but don't seam to be thriving like the bere etc. when it's warmed up a bit we will do some weeding

atb

tom
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,883
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S. Lanarkshire
We wondered if the earlier saddle querns were for cracking grain to make a sort of porridge. Our own, and the child slaves, efforts were not that productive of usable flour. The saddle quern would also have been good for turning roasted sprouted grains into malt for beer. Beer has been suggested as the original reason for barley cultivation. Rotary querns are an industrialisation of the process and do produce reasonable quantities of bakeable flour.

I've used both. Up here we reckon rotary is roughly from Roman onwards. I've found a bronze age saddle quern (in pieces unfortunately) up on a Lanarkshire hillside that is now sub marginal land but was productive arable land in the past when things were a little warmer.

Saddle querns make good flour, but there's a knack to it. You need to gently crack the grain first, and you need a cloth under it to catch the flour. Two cloths are better, a rough more open weave one on top and a fine woven one beneath. They act a bit like a sieve and trap the chaff (and stoney grit too to some extent). The chaff and grit is still rich in flour so that gets used to make sowans, waste not want not, iimmc. think of it like the horlicks of the time, and the debris finally fed to the livestock.

Rotary querns are neater, but they're still hard work, and they need to be 'made'. A saddle quern starts out just as a suitable flattish stone and you find a river or sea washed rubbing stone to use as the grinder. S'easy :D

M
 

boatman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
2,444
4
75
Cornwall
Thanks for that Mary. We never thought of cloths which is strange because we are familiar with the use of bolting cloths from the restored Wilton windmill in Wiltshire.
 

tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Got my copy of The Finds Research Group AD700-1700 Datasheets 25-40 yesterday and it's got the info I've needed to do a drawing to work from. Playing catch up at the moment as I was flat on my back from Thursday with a stomach virus. Just when the seedlings were reafy to go in and be netted up.

ATB

Tom
 

KIMBOKO

Nomad
Nov 26, 2003
379
1
Suffolk
Has anyone been daft enough to do this by any chance who can give some practical advice? Or can anyone save me all the trouble and point me to a dirt cheap source of excellent reproductions which will save my time and lessen the chances of me removing a thumb during the construction? I'm not holding my breath on the latter....

Rotary querns are sold by "Celtic Webmerchant" 65 euros plus postage!!!
 
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tombear

Full Member
Jul 9, 2004
4,383
440
52
Rossendale, Lancashire
Cool! Thanks for that. It's a bit small but would do me. I'll have to drop them a line to see what they make them from. I'm a bit suspicious that the type of stone isn't mentioned as I know some reenactment jobs are made from a variation on concrete.

By coincidence I heard back from the millstone grit specialist mason up the valley today and he's still interested in the project. I'll have to get a drawing to him and see how much the basic cutting out of the parts would be.

ATB

Tom
 

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