The state of the bells

After several months of work on the bells and tower, things are in better shape;  but there is still plenty to be done and some mysteries to be solved.

Frame capture from video.

Why does the tenor sometimes double-strike?

It is less pronounced than before its staple bolt nuts were tightened, but is still present.  It may be more of a knock or thud now and less of a strike;  it occurs about ⅙ second after the clapper strikes.  I put a video camera on the left bearing to see if the tenor is shifting side-to-side as it swings;  it isn’t.  In the audio from the video, recorded only a foot or so from the mouth of the bell, it sounds less like a thud or second strike than a modulation of the bell’s sounding.  Perhaps it is due to the clapper resting against the soundbow and swinging free after the ⅙ second?

Why do the 3 and 6 thud as they strike?

Most of the bells sound clearly as they strike, but the 3 and 6 also produce a simultaneous thud.  From the ringing chamber it sounds as though a heavy mallet had struck the ceiling each time the 3 or 6 strike.  So far no cause for this has been found.  Why is it happening, and why only on these bells?

The tenor’s rope boss sounds like it still rattles

Carroll and Thomas spent an entire day remounting all the rope bosses with new hardware and a rubber gasket, in part to stop the bosses from rattling.  Some of them make rattle-like noises, though that may be just the sound of the rope striking them.  The tenor’s boss is loud enough that it may actually be rattling still.  We need to get the ladder and its standoff out and take a look at it to see what the problem is.

Work to do

These are known, big tasks that have to get taken care of at some point, the sooner the better.

  1. A permanent awning set up over the bells to keep leaking rainwater and spray off them.  Preparations for this have been underway since the 5’s staple bolt nut was resolved;  it is at the stage of setting up to be able to drill holes and mount hardware safely, high in the bell chamber walls.  This task is urgent:  it must be completed before the rainy season begins.
  2. New bellropes.  The present set is still serviceable but are showing their age.  Rob has begun looking into where we should order the new set.  It may take months for the new ropes to arrive so the order must be put in ahead of when they are needed.
  3. Replace the 6’s damaged slider.  Ken repaired it with steel mesh reinforcement when it cracked many years ago, but it is still a concern.  We have a replacement slider and we should use it.  The auto-ringing hammer mechanism for the 6 The bracket for the slider’s pin (photo at right) will have to be unbolted and set safely aside in order to remove the old slider.  After the old slider has been removed, it will be measured and the measurements used to drill a corresponding hole in the replacement slider for the steel pin it rotates on.  The 6 will be out of service while this goes on;  it could easily take a week even if all goes well.
  4. The bell bearings, to stop the bells shifting laterally.  Almost all the bells have shifted laterally in their bearings.  We have instructions for what to do, but it is a big job.  It may put a bell out of service for an extended period of time if anything doesn’t go as it should.
  5. Repaint the bellframe.  Large areas of paint have flaked off.  There’s no obvious rust, but the frame is simply plated steel, not stainless, and it needs to be repainted.  It looks like the current paint is the original from 1984.