Ratchet Canal Lock Paddle Windlass
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Over the years there have been a number of ratchet windlasses commercially produced attempting to address the difficulties experienced by the elderly, slight of build and infirm opening aging and stiff British Waterways lock paddles, sluices and drawbridges. Most have come and gone because of expense, excessive weight and reliability in use issues.
This homemade ratchet windlass is another great example of a British shed invention.
Sophisticated engineering principles
While the ratchet's construction appears crude the design is exceptionally elegant with a couple of unique features not seen on the commercial windlasses.
Selectable mechanical advantage
When first trying to release a stiff paddle the mechanical advantage can be increased by positioning the cranked end giving an increase of swing from 20mm to 35mm. Once the paddle becomes easier by simply giving a half turn back the swing is reduced back to the standard 20mm enabling easy rapid cranking of the paddle mechanism.
For really difficult paddles the main body of the windlass can be extended to 55mm
Construction and key components
As can be seen the key component is ratchet head mechanism taken from a mechanics socket set.
The rest of the construction is 25mm box section steel for the main body, 18mm box section welded onto the end of the socket handle which enables the sliding adjustment. A 35mm box section for the socket head with a smaller cut out in the back plate to make it universal for all sizes of paddle mechanisms.