Firefly’s tapered winch drums will be made from four sections of white oak laminated together.  I am counting on the oak being hard enough to hold up to the three strand rope that will be winding over it as the winch is operated.  At this stage I can’t see how it is not going to work just fine.  Still, best not to underestimate the enemy.  I will keep the tolerances on the axle hole through the middle of the drum  nice and tight.  Also the diameters on the ends of the drum need to be a snug fit inside the steel cups that are attached to the axle.   Both these things should equalize the pressure on the wood and help prevent splitting.

Judging from the smooth action of the axles in the bronze winch bushings,  it looks like the drums will pay out their windings very cleanly when it comes time to reload.  This is especially important for a one man operation of the machine and is the main reason I’ve eschewed any designs involving a block and tackle.  It is important  to be able to pull out the winch rope with a minimum of wrangling.   The last thing the Romans would want is a slow and clumsy winch in the middle of a human wave attack by a bunch of frothed-up barbarians.

I sense that the more we maximize for performance all aspects of the design within the limits of what the Romans could have made, the closer we get to the truth.   Any specific suggestion of what they “would” have constructed,  smacks too emphatic even for me.

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