Continuous Maintainance Work

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Inscription : 13 févr. 2006, 13:13

Continuous Maintainance Work

Message non lu par Bladnoch »

Among the day to day jobs in an old distillery like Bladnoch, probably painting is the one that needs to be done most often. The old stone and mortar walls are always a bit damp and with the lade running under the building and the river closeby, inside the buildings there's always a dampness which causes mildew. This is increased by the yeasty atmosphere and the sugar in the washbacks.
It used to be much worse; one of the traditional ways to construct distilleries was to use a large cast iron water tank to form the roof of the Tun room. This was the case at Bladnoch even when John, our stillman first came to work at Bladnoch, twenty five years ago. The tank collected rain, it was used to provide cooling waters and it was also considered very useful in the event of a fire. It's disadvantage was the huge amounts of condensation it caused particularly when the distillery was working and warm. Ultimately this caused decay in the timbers.
If I was an architect asked to design a new distillery, where possible within the production area I don't think I would use wood.
This weeks spare time job has been construction of new lids for the top of our washbacks. Despite what I've just said, I've used wood possibly because it's cheaper and easier to work with than stainless steel or aluminium. A pallet of 12 foot lengths of 6 by 1 inch cost around £850 and should be sufficient to omplete new lids for our 6 washbacks.
Another job requiring a bit of attention is the drainage coming off a neighbouring field, which seems to have increased rather a lot. I think the farmer has improved his drainage and as we are on the lower side, after rain it comes down to us a grear deal faster. Our difficulty is that the space between the distillery boundary fence and the field is not sufficiently wide to employ a decent sized digger so we'll probably hire a small mini digger (£75 per day) and dig a new drain. In addition all the drains around the warehouses need a bit of attention. Because the warehouses were build in the late 1960's and early 1970's the drainage pipework is of a good standard and adequate.
Not so handy to access are the valleys between the hips in the warehouse roofs. These valleys hold the guttering and the roofs are made of corrugated asbestos of a slightly less hazardous variety containing a cement compound. They tend to be a bit fragile and very brittle, hence the Warning Signs, Use Climbing Boards. This is a job that I do personally ... John's a good bit heavier than me and from a Health and Safety legislation point of view I think I'm allowed to put myself in danger but not employees. This may not be strictly true in the sense that our company is a separate legal entity and I dare say the company could be considered guilty of negligence to me. .... the sort of issues you have to consider nowadays before going up a ladder on to a dodgy roof.
You can see how being involved in the building trade or indeed historically, practically minded people like farmers, who were capable of doing their own repairs were suitable owners of distilleries.
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pat gva
Maître distillateur
Maître distillateur
Messages : 8072
Inscription : 14 févr. 2006, 22:54

Re: Continuous Maintainance Work

Message non lu par pat gva »

From what you say, Raymond, it's properly amazing the amount of details you have to think of, together with running the make of new spirit.
Now I start to undersand why it make more sens (when you are rich enough) to demolished an old building and built a new one.
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Messages : 357
Inscription : 10 mars 2006, 09:18

Re: Continuous Maintainance Work

Message non lu par Yves »

Hi Raymond

Always a pleasure to read your posts and follow what's happening at Bladnoch. Keep 'em coming!

All the best
Always give the best!

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