2014 Annual Maintenance
September 30 to October 5, 2014
  • Behold the Ravages of Time...
  • Alright... time is not particularly brutal on cement board and pressure treated lumber, but the paint has certainly taken a beating from the salty wind of the Yorktown waterfront. As you can see from the pictures, the windmill (its north side in particular) stays wet enough that moss and fungi are not an uncommon occurence. As the moisture starts to work its way through subtle cracks in the caulk, you'll start to see bubbles form and eventually paint starts to crack and peel.

    The pictures below show some of the more hideous examples of paint damage.

    In addition to simple paint issues, the sails are always in need of an annual touch-up. Exposed directly to the weather, the whips have through mortises which allows water to permeate into their core. In the winter, the water freezes and cracks occur along the length of the sail as well as along the windshaft.

    It was time for some aggressive attention...

  • Shutters and Buttresses
  • The first major step in maintaining the mill was to replace the parts that were having difficulty. The shutters, being made of pressure treated southern yellow pine, were having no problem with the salt air. Unfortunately though, the tenons only penetrated 1 inch into the shutter mortises. Because of this it was impossible to install wooden pegs to reinforce the glue joints and, after three years, the joints were beginning to fail. The new shutters have 3 inch tenons and are pegged with 3/8 inch dowels to ensure strong joints. Further, the shutters have been painted with alternating layers of shellac and oil paint to produce a strong, durable finish on the pressure treated lumber.

    The original banding around the waist of the windmill was an after thought... an artifact of changing the design from a monolithic building to a dissemblable exhibit. A constant victim of water penetration and peeling paint, the waist band required constant attention to keep it looking good. The new solution was to install pegged buttresses around the waist, that were made entirely of wood. The buttresses have the benefit of looking more traditional, as well as being easy to remove and replace if they begin to show signs of wear.

  • New Handrails
  • The original handrails were designed for quick compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but didn't accent the windmill particularly well. The newly installed handrails are much wider, have greater depth and provide a nice color contrast.

  • Fresh Paint and a New Sign
  • In addition to a fresh coat of paint on all of the exterior surfaces, the Colonial National Historical Park provided signage that tells the history of the original windmill - as well as the history of the recreated mill.

    For additional information, please contact Walt Akers.