The ringing chamber at Calstock church is about 27 feet high; such a long drop would make the ropes difficult to handle, so at some stage in the past a rope guide was installed. This guide is now in need of repair and with the bells out of the way this is the perfect time to tackle the job.
The scaffolding was delivered to the church bright and early on Saturday morning. A few of us had agreed to meet so that the tower could be erected ready to start work on Monday morning, we would only be at the church for a couple of hours. Needless to say, we were there all day.
It wasn't just the scaffold tower, although that did take longer than we expected. We also aimed to strip the protective coating from the strengthening beams. This sounded so simple at the planning stage, you just had to run a grinding disc along the length of the beam. But the coating was remarkably resilient; after an nearly hour's work and three spent corundum discs we were less than a quarter of the way through. A rethink was necessary.
This would have to be a team effort. Patrick and Kev had finished the scaffold tower and had worked out the spacing for the strengthening beams so they went off to get lunch and more tools while Sue carried on grinding. It was a lovely sunny day, so at least this noisy, dusty job could be done outside. Once we had two sets of discs in action it all went much faster and before too long the beams had been stripped.
The team were now full of enthusiasm and we were determined to get as much done as we could. Kev cut the beams to size, which turned out to be much easier than stripping them, and then started to drill the bolt holes we needed. A couple of drill bits and a good deal time later they were ready to be painted. Sue set to with the red oxide paint which would protect them from rust (hadn't we just spent some hours removing a coating that protected them from rust?) and finally they were propped against a corner of the scaffold tower, ready for black paint next week.
We left the church about 6 o'clock all feeling very well satisfied with the work we had done and looking forward to getting together again on Monday when we would drill eight long holes into the granite tower walls.