Due to the extremely bad state of repair and to prevent the complete loss of the ensemble the restoration works had to start quickly. Therefore the order of restoration was sequenced according to the condition of individual building parts. The monument protection authorities supported the swift start of the work and accompanied the restoration steps continuously.
A structural engineer, several architects and a pest control expert were contracted at the beginning of the works. Moreover, a certified conservator guided the restoration from the very beginning. She instructed the volunteer helpers in performing the work professionally. For some work a graduated restorer supported the Youth Mason’s Guild of the German Monument Protection Foundation carrying out work at the mill.
As an increasing number of buildings with regional identity in the district of Harburg were being demolished, the conservation of the watermill is of utmost importance to the initiators of the Mill project. The mill has been a central site (key place) of the (entire) region and this should be brought back to life again.
Before the restoration commenced, the technical problems appeared to be immense. Due to the excellent cooperation of monument conservators, craftsmen and -women, restorers and volunteer “Millhelpers” all problems were quickly resolved. For example: Prior to erecting the scaffolding to restore the roof of the main building and the watermill, the former cesspool had to be closed and fallen trees removed.
To preserve as much as possible of the original substance of the buildings, the restoration work was carried out with great care. Traditional skills and crafts were utilized for the necessary completion and repair work, e.g. traditional wooden joints, loam plaster and painting using casein paint or linseed oil.
Traditional craft skills were utilized in the restoration. Many experienced craftsmen and -women, master craftsmen and -women, among them masons, painters, carpenters, cabinetmakers, gardeners, roofers, pavers, electricians, metal workers, plumbers, stove fitters, heating installers and many farmers have been working voluntarily at the Watermill for many years now. In addition, graduate engineers and architects provide assistance and advice. An indispensable component in the restoration and maintenance of the Mill and Sawmill technology was the expertise of a very experienced master miller and master metalworker (locksmith). In 2016 15 “Volunteer Millers” were trained at the Mill and successfully passed an examination by the “Mühlenvereinigung Niedersachsen-Bremen”. The certificate awarded herewith is the mandatory requirement to operate and maintain the historical milling gear and the entire machinery.
During the restoration work special care was taken to largely use historic building materials e.g. loam, chalk, wood and bricks in historical “Reichsformat”, a standard established in 1872. The only exception was made for materials of the new sanitary tract to comply with current hygienic standards.