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I am chair of the Strachur Smiddy museum in Strachur, Argyll
This is an old smiddy that was working from the 18th century till about 1950. It was  restored as a museum in 1997. We have a working forge and a blacksmith who is a comes in on weekends. 
There are two things I'm looking for some expert help with. 
First is our "Boring Beam". It is a very old mechanism for drilling holes in iron. My guess is that it became obsolete at least a century ago. I believe that when the smiddy was investigated by an archaeologist in 1996-7, at the time of the restoration, the boring beam was something they were interested in. Apparently they are now very rare, possibly because they involve a substantial 10ft length of hardwood that could have been repurposed for many other things.
Anyway we have now got the boring beam working in a very basic way.  That has immediately thrown up a host of questions about how exactly to use it, how to sharpen the drill etc. There are some pictures on the Boring Beam page of our website at  We can probably figure it out but if there is someone who knows or would be interested to find out then please get in touch.
Second is the floor. Rumour has it that it is made from a mixture of mud and bull's blood.  It could do with some repairs. Is there anyone out there who knows about such things could advise on how to fix it?
Thanks for your help 
Patrick Gibb 
National Museums Scotland, Scottish Charity, No. SC 011130


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