44" C.S. Bell Restoration help needed!
June 6, 2011 at 11:44 am #11793
Hi everyone, my name is Josh and I am the Manager of a summer camp. At the center of our camp is a large bell, a 44″ C.S. Bell. This bell has always been used at camp, it is rung to signal the start of an event, like games, or to bring kids back for meal time.
It is an amazing bell, and is one of the most identifiable traits of the camp. Kids love ringing it, and trying to spin it completely around!
Anyway, what I can only guess is the original wheel has fallen into a state of disrepair. Not due to negligence, but it is simply rotting and falling apart. Does anybody happen to know where I might be able to find a new wooden wheel for this great bell?
I thought you might like it if I shared a few pictures with you:
June 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm #16446DingyParticipant
I think in this day and time finding someone to build a wooden wheel might take a long time. However, I would think that most any metal/welding shop could make you a permanant replacement for it
June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm #16443
I suppose that is an option, I was just hoping there would be a restoration shop out there that offered something like I am looking for.
June 8, 2011 at 12:37 am #16444AnonymousInactive
Dear Somebody (sorry, but you are not “nobody” if you have an interest in bells!),
It may be helpful to our readers if you let us know what section of the country you are in. We have members all over the world and it might just be that someone has had such an experience with a craftsman in your area.
June 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm #16445
Thanks Carolyn! I have been using the nobodyspecial name on pretty much all the forums that I frequent, not because of a lack of self esteem, mainly I just like keeping a low profile. 😉 Our camp is located in North Dakota. I grew up attending this camp, was then a councilor, and am now the manager. This camp has been a huge part of my life. It is where I met the woman who is now my wife when we were both campers, and we were actually married just to the left of that bell last fall! 😀
So, to say that this camp and its bell means something to me is a little bit of an understatement. Maintenance of the Camp in general has not always been the best, so I am hoping that I can turn that around.
June 13, 2011 at 3:02 am #16447Neil GoeppingerParticipant
It has been several years since I had a wooden wheel made for a bell, but I’ve done it three times over the years. I have a wheel which needs replacing right now but I haven’t gotten around to asking for someone to make one. I’ve had the carpenters make them with treated wood so they would last longer, but the carpenters aren’t too keen to work with treated wood as there is quite a bit of routing involved. It is not cheep. You should be able to find a shop teacher or someone who does cabinate making who would be willing to make you one. Don’t destroy your rotting wheel as they can use it for a pattern and to see how it is made. There is a lot of curved sawing involved so they need a heavy duty band saw.
Another way to go is to buy a ready made iron or aluminum wheel. I don’t think they are currently being made as large as you will need, however. If you do this I recommend the aluminum as once painted you can’t tell the difference and aluminum is much lighter to work with. I’ve used both. The metal wheel will need to have the center drilled out to fit your yoke as they come with a solid center so they can be made to fit any yoke.
I tried to look up the diameter of your wheel, but all I could find was measurments for bronze bells. A 44″ bronze bell takes a 6′ 3″ to 6′ 6″ diameter wheel, depending on the bell firm. Your cast steel bell weighs a lot less than a bronze bell, so the wheel won’t need to be as large to create the leverage to swing it. My experience is the diameter of the wheel can vary quite a bit and still work. So what if you have to pull the rope two more times to get the bell swinging far enough to ring. It becomes more a matter of esthetics. The right size wheel looks better.
If you want to go with a metal wheel, let me know and I’ll climb a ladder and measure my wheel as I have the largest one available on one of my bells, but it’s up in the air. — Neil
June 13, 2011 at 3:19 am #16448
Thank you for taking the time to reply Neil, I greatly appreciate it. I just took the wheel off tonight, well, it mostly fell off. A three foot length of the wheel came off in my hand when I rang it to signal supper time. I disassembled the rest of it, and tomorrow I will piece it back together on the shop floor and trace it out on a piece of cardboard.
I have an Uncle that that is a great fabricator, and he just picked up a new welder and had it up here at camp to make some repairs on our aluminum pontoon boat. I am pretty sure that he has a pipe bender and he loves helping us out at camp. I am going to give him a call and see if he will fabricate something out of aluminum to replace our wooden wheel. I think metal is the way to go, as we will not have to worry about it rotting away in the foreseeable future.
I will keep try to post an update here after I get it pieced back together and give him a call tomorrow.
June 13, 2011 at 3:44 am #16449Neil GoeppingerParticipant
I was looking up some information for something else and came across another table of sizes and weights for the C. S. Bell Company. Your wheel should be 59″ in diameter. — Neil
June 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm #16450
Where did you find that information? I did get the wheel laid out and pieced back together in order to make a template. I regret that I have not been working on it much lately. My (pregnant) wife and I are currently living out of two cargo trailers at the Camp we manage. We have been displaced from our home due to the unprecedented, massive flooding that is happening right now in North Dakota. Our house is completely empty, and we have the Camp to live at, so we are in way better shape than some people.
Your prayers are always welcome!
July 20, 2011 at 2:22 am #16451hjlong3Participant
If you can draw a full scale tracing of the wheel, you can get a good wood worker to fabricate another wheel for you for a modest cost.
Harry Long, MD
July 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm #16452Green GrassMember
The best and least expensive wooden bell wheels are fabricated by Amish wheel wrights. Contact your local Amish community for referal to a wheel wright.
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