Neck Bearing Assembly
January 11th, 2009
  • Construction of the Neck Bearing Assembly
  • While a technoligical marvel, the neck bearing assembly is different from all of the other components that have been built thus far. First, because of it's location in the cap of the windmill, it is likely to receive some weather exposure --- consequently, it is constructed from pressure treated southern yellow pine rather than oak. Secondly, unlike all of the other mechanical components, the neck bearing will not be visible after it has been installed in the cap...

    This might make one wonder why so much time was spent in sanding, varnishing and polishing this piece... The answer to that is easy, quality was important to all of the volunteers who worked on the project... and the things you can't see are just as important as the things you can.

    The following team of participants were responsible for building the neck bearing assembly:

  • Cody Williams
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Hunter Hobbs
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Daniel Akers
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Ross Davenport
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Lee Latimer
  • Citizen of York County
  • Madelaine Akers
  • Old Dominion University
  • Mrs. Evelyn Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Celebrate Yorktown Committee
  • Mr. Walt Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Yorktown Foundation

  • Ready for Action...
  • Like all of the components in this project, the neck bearing assembly started with a plan, a pile of wood and a team of volunteers. Click on the drawing below to see an animation of the neck bearing and all of it's components.

  • Milling the Yoke and the Neck Bearing
  • Of all of the parts on the neck bearing assembly, the yoke is the one with the most elegant curves. After roughing the curves on the bandsaw, the next step was to smooth the cuts with a sharp chisel before sanding. The spoke shave was especially helpful in cleaning out the inside of the neck...

  • Adding the Braces
  • Because a variety of wooden braces are used top tie the neck bearing assembly to the upper curb, special attention was taken to ensure their strength and stability. In addition to being affixed to the beams as shown (with glue and pegs), they also received galvanized screws and metal fasteners from the backside of the board.

  • Fine Tuning the Fit
  • Even though every component was cut as close as possible to the specification, there are always a few boards that must be trimmed and holes that must be drilled at assembly time. By it's nature, pressure treated lumber is prone to significant shrinkage in the first few months, so it's best to wait until the last possible minute to lock things in place --- and always leave room for movement.

    Our volunteers are seen here trimming the bearing ties and drilling expansion holes in the yoke before they are bolted together.

  • Putting It All Together
  • Once all the pieces were tested for proper fit, we broke out the rubber mallets, clamps and wrenches and performed the final assembly on the contraption. Although several of our younger participants had to return home before the last screw was driven, they all helped immeasurably in bringing the project to completion.

    For additional information, please contact Walt Akers.