Every year in the autumn the millstones have to be “dressed”, a process which involves lifting the huge stones, which weigh around half a tonne each, sweeping them clean of flour and carefully re-grinding the channels and grooves which help to produce the high quality flours for which Heatherslaw Mill is renowned. If this wasn’t done then through time the surface of the stones would become so smooth that they would no longer cut and grind the grain correctly and would eventually cease to make flour.
In addition to dressing the stones the bearing in the bed-stone has to be cleaned and regreased, then it is packed tight with sheep’s wool and grease to keep everything turning smoothly for the year ahead
In days gone by the stones were dressed by hand, the miller using a “mill bill” – a type of stone pick – to slowly chip the lines and grooves. Nowadays the process is done using an electric grinder, which not only speeds it up but also causes much less damage to the millstone and produces a better end result.
Dave Harris-Jones, miller at Heatherslaw said…’’ Dressing the stones is such an important part of the mill year, when they are put back together and the first flour comes out it is as fine as talcum powder and always a time for celebration, The first of this flour will be available for the Ford Christmas Market on Nov 26th, The Mill is also staying open this winter on most Weds and Thursdays so our customers can call in to buy their flour and cereals”