Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

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Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane


South Yorkshire England

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A Presentation from Ralph Law

Text, transcription and page formatting John Doxey

Ralph Law photo background Mick Carver, text and Ralphs photos added by John DoxeyThe handbook on the right was handed to Ralph Law on the 9th March 1966 at Silverwood. It is  a British Standards Manual concerning the correct methods for certain aspects of Ralph's, or any Blacksmiths work at the colliery. It will be noted that blacksmiths were also referred to as mechanics of the mine, this may have been because they were often called upon to repair mechanical breakdowns throughout the mine, and not because they were mechanics as such by trade.

The sections from the book on the following  web pages are placed here for those of you interested in the technical side of a blacksmiths work, and also gives a little more insight into just how knowledgeable and versatile are the men we know as blacksmiths.

On the Ralph Law page are photos of Ralph and his colleagues capping with molten white metal, and the section from the manual below shows the correct procedure for that particular job.





Please note that the following extracts are from a manual 40 years out of date at time of writing [ 2006 ] and it is recommended to obtain an updated British Standards Manual before attempting the following work. The manual is shown here merely as an example of the skills required by a blacksmith.



To ensure that a reliable capping is obtained when using white metal, the following procedures should be strictly observed. The progressive operations for capping are illustrated in Fig. 47 and detailed below.




1. Seizing and Clamping

In order to prevent any loosening of the wires during the cutting or capping operations the rope should be securely seized before cutting off the old capping or excess length of new rope, and where appropriate, clamped on both sides of the proposed cutting point X in Fig 47.

Seizing wire of the size shown in Table 2 should be used. It is important that only single wire is employed and not stranded wire, which tends to collapse and extend. On no account should copper wire be used as it is liable to cause corrosion.

For stranded ropes and small locked -coil ropes apply two or more short seizings at least 6d in length [ d = rope diameter ] to secure the rope end; the seizings may be of the soldered type or of the type where the ends of the seizing wire are finally twisted together to complete the seizing.









In the case of large locked coil ropes of 1 in. diameter or more- where there is a very strong tendency for the rope wires to loosen on cutting-more stringent precautions are necessary. With these ropes the seizing AB on the part of the rope to be discarded should be at least 6d in length, and the seizing CD on the part of the rope to be retained should have an overhaul length equal to 20d plus the length of the basket. The seizing must be of the soldered type, but need not  necessarily be composed of one continuous length of wire. Apply the seizing wire to the rope under tension by means of a seizing mallet in neat, closely packed turns, commencing at D and finishing at C.  Rotate the mallet in the direction which would tend to flatten the locked wires into the rope, rather than in the opposite direction which would tend to raise their leading edges.

Secure six clamps on the rope between D and E, just clear of the long seizing described above. These clamps should be of the half-clamps two bolt type [ machine finished and grooved ] having an  1/8 in. gap between the half clamps when tightened on the rope. Set the clamps on the rope alternately at right angles to one another, the clamp nearest the old capping being employed as a marker clamp if required, with the bolts in the required direction of the pin in the new socket.

Before cutting the rope, set temporary clamps at B and C immediately on either side of the cutting point X.


continued: pg 2




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