The Megalith Movers Prehistoric Engineering
Blog 14th November 2015    With Sean back at sea for another four week shift and Ewan and Joe otherwise engaged, we were down to a workforce of two for the time being. As we were now working on the scaffolding, every time we needed anything one of us had to climb down to ground level to get it, and at my age this was very tiring so Steve ended up doing most of the work. Nonetheless we completed a lift on the first day Monday.    The previous week we had noticed we were losing perhaps 80% of our lifting capacity on every lift compressing the crib on which the fulcrum was resting, before the obelisk began to lift. Over the weekend I thought of a way to retain this compression while the levers and sandbags were still in place and on Monday inserted some packing between the crib and the lifting beam, before the levers were unloaded and removed. This idea worked reasonably well and after the session was over Steve and myself were looking forward to a really good lift the next day.    It was not to be, next day I received a message from Steve telling me he had developed some kind of tropical fever and would not be fit for work. Wednesday he was still ill, but thought that the fever had broken and he would soon be fine.    When no word arrived Thursday I set off for Steve's hoping for the best. When I arrived he was ready for work none the worse for his experience, and looking as fit as ever. We achieved a lift in excess of three inches, our best lift for a long time. As we were reaching the end of the lift, although the sandbags had not fully bottomed out, something was telling me to be careful. I didn't know at the time what was causing my unease but knew from experience to take heed. We called a halt and climbed down to think about things. In the end we decided to settle for what we had achieved and repacked the fail-safe tower.    When I awoke Friday morning I knew what had been troubling me. We were now at an angle of about 30 degrees and the top of the obelisk was travelling in an arc, which meant it was not only getting higher, it was also moving towards the plinth. Which meant that the lifting beam and the fulcrum was also moving towards the plinth, my unease had been caused by the fact that the fulcrum was getting close to the end of the scaffold making the scaffold unsafe and inclined to tip. We had a choice, extend the scaffold, or move it forward. The trouble was the fail-safe tower was in the way!    Luckily for us we had been extending the fail-safe tower forward as the obelisk rose, and now had a fail-safe in two sections. We reloaded the levers just enough to take the weight off the fail-safe, and while the levers were holding the weight, dismantled part of the fail-safe. This enabled us to extend the scaffold into the space created. With the new section of the scaffold in place, we packed between the top of the scaffold and the obelisk above. We now had in effect, two fail-safe towers, one on the ground and one on the new scaffold. We reinforced the new scaffold with more pit-props and now had plenty of room to move the fulcrum progressively forward. The photo below shows the new scaffold in place   << previous blog page next blog page >> To read & post comments click here return to top of this page

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