Great Big Gates revisited

From: Jane Williams <janewilliams20_at_...>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 19:04:53 -0000

I've spent the last week doing some practical research into this problem. Or rather, I've had a nice relaxing week on a narrowboat, going through Locks.

The bottom gate of a canal lock is about 7 feet wide. The height varies, but say 14 feet high. Made of heavy wood, with steel reenforcement.  The whole weighs about 3 tons.

Here's some pics of one being replaced - and it's one I've been through.

Yes, given the balance beam you push on, one non-muscular person (me) can open and close those gates. Not with one finger, more like with a lot of grunting and heaving, but it's entirely possible. And that's with the bottom 4 feet of the gate (at least) underwater.

What I found particularly interesting from our POV was the difference the wind made to the ease of gate-shifting. A breeze I didn't even notice could mean the gate kept blowing closed and had to be held open while the boat came through, or could make it so hard to move I had to call for help. Very good news for the Orlanthi, I think!

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