We have a No. 28 American Bell Co. school bell in our restored 1915 country school. The rope has frayed and come down three or four times. The restoration carpenter has replaced the rope….but it happened again. Any thoughts on why?
The rope is rubbing against something. Any of the holes it passes through from the belfry down through the building might not be big enough. Probably an easy fix but will require climbing so be careful!
I agree. The rope must be rubbing on something that is causing it to fray. This is probably a hole drilled in the planking of the floor or ceiling that the rope passes through. It may not be placed flush with the rope. You may need to place small pulleys or smooth metal guides at the site where the rope passes through the floor or ceiling. This will reduce the friction on the rope.
You likely have a cast steel wheel that has developed a sharp edge due to corrosion (rust). You could try smoothing the edge of the hole in the wheel with a rat tail file, placing a protective sleeve (plastic tubing, rubber gromet, copper tubing) in the hole to keep the rope from contacting the sharp edge. The steel cable idea is good, but it will eventually fray if in continuous contact with a sharp edge.