Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Bell Foundries, Manufacturers and Artisans Can a foundry help me melt down a big bell into small bells?

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    • #12264


      I am an artist living in New York City. I want to make a bell project. I want to find an old bell that had once rung the hours of the day. This could be a big clocktower bell, or a church bell, or a smaller bell. I’m assuming this is would be a bronze bell.

      I would then like to take this to a bell foundry and melt the bell down into hundreds of little hand held bells. I would then do a performance with a hundred people where everyone rings the bells in synchronicity to mark the hours of the day. So instead of the sound coming from a centralized location, all the sounds of the bell would be spread out through different people across a space.

      Obviously I don’t think I could melt down a bell that has personal attachment to someone or some town.

      Do you know where I would be able to find a bell like this?


      – David Horvitz

    • #17490
      Carolyn Whitlock


      Your question in this posting is “Can a foundry help me melt down a big bell into small bells?” A foundry can melt down a big bell that will then be a vat of molten metal. I’m sure they would charge for this service if they are willing to do it using your metal. The next step would be to pour the molten metal into individual molds. Before the molds can be filled, however, they have to be made. That requires the work of a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman. Once the bells have been cast, they have to be cracked out of their molds, rough edges chipped off, and then polished (the bells will be black when they come out of the mold). If your desire to is make handbells (bells with handles), the handles will have to be made and attached. You can see the process of casting a big bell at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QikYvoG9oU. You can see how hand bells are made at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYEpRZjfaI.

      Another method of making bells is by manufacturing them. You can see examples of manufactured handbells at: http://bevinbells.com/product-lines/brass-hand-bells/.

      Your postings have left me wondering about some things. Are you planning on having all 100 bells be identical? Do you know how big you want the bells to be? Are you expecting them all to be tuned to the same note? Do you know how much bronze you will need to make 100 bells of the size you want? Do you know what size/weight the bell to be melted down will have to be in order to get 100 bells out of it? Is your reason for recycling a used bell because you think it will be less expensive? Have you considered buying 100 identical bells instead of having bells cast? I don’t need answers to these questions but you probably will.

      Jus’ more food for thought.

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