The Pinawa Heritage Sundial

Pinawa Heritage Sundial Conceptual Design
Hour Lines

The hour lines of the Pinawa Heritage Sundial are used to indicate the time of day by referencing the position of the gnomon's shadow relative to these lines. There are two sets of hour lines, one for the inner dial and one for the outer dial.

The outer dial, showing local apparent time, will have hour lines from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The outer dial, showing zonal solar time, will have hour lines from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daylight Savings Time. This is probably pushing the limits of what the sundial can actually indicate but only time will tell (Yucky pun!!).

Hour line layout for two dials.

The hour lines needed to made from a material that was unique but yet had some significance to the region.

I went to Winnipeg and visited a company called CANAC. There I met Dave Price and described our project to him. He was very interested and enthusiastic about the project. One thing CANAC is involved in is the recycling of used railroad track. I had thought that it would be a unique approach to make the hour lines for the sundial from rail. Well, apparently so did Dave. He donated 7 rails that were each 36 ft. in length. The rails weighed 85 pounds per yard, 1020 pounds per rail, 7140 pounds in total. This was a totally unexpected and generous gift. It was appreciated very much by our entire group.

Well, now we had to move these rails. AECL was donating the use of a 28 ft. flatbed trailer to help move the rails but the rails were too long. Dave helped us out again. After determining the best cutting lengths, 28 ft./ 8 ft., Eduardo Gara and Jose Reis of CANAC cut all the rails and loaded them when we arrived with the flatbed to pick them up.

The rails were moved to the machine shop where the gnomon was constructed. There they were cut to various lengths as required to fit the two dials. This work was done by two volunteers, Clive Schultz and Carl Sabanski. There were many angles and lengths that required measurement. We weren't quite sure how easily the saw would cut through the rail but it went well.

After the rails were cut, all the edges were rounded with a disc sander. Because the tops of the rails are arched, it would not be possible to set them level with surface of the dial plate. The sharp cut edges would pose a hazard and sanding them down reduces this. Once the edges were complete, the top surface of the rails that would be exposed were sandblasted and coated with a clear acrylic coating.

The track is a truly unique feature of the sundial. The track was used and in fact had the year 1934 cast in its side. It must have had the steel wheels of many trains pass over its surface as is evident from the significant change in its profile and the odd chip of missing steel. These sections of track are history!

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Canada Millennium Partnership Program Western Economic Diversification CanadaWinnipeg River Brokenhead Community Futures Development Corp. Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism

Local Government District of Pinawa