Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Repair, Restoration, Parts, Cleaning Cracked 2300 lb. Blake/Hooper Bell

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    • #11026
      steeplejack
      Participant

      Can anyone recommend a company (or individual) who could repair a 15″ crack in a Blake/Hooper church bell. I am estimating the weight based on the Meneely bell weight/tone chart. This crack begins at one of the six bolt holes which attach the bell to the yoke, and runs diagonally down the bell. It is all of the way through the bell as water staining is clearly present from the inside. The bell is in position and cannot be removed without serious modifications to the steeple. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • #14313
      hjlong
      Member

      With a 15 inch crack extending through the shoulder of the bell, I believe that it is beyond repair. Bronze braizing will result in an unstable repair that will crack again next to the weld when the bell is rung. The US Liberty Bell is a prime example to many ill-fated attempts at repair of a historical icon. The Liberty Bell is currently so fragile it is only mounted for observation and has had support struts attached to try to prevent it from falling appart in many pieces. A proper attempt at repair would require the bell to be carefully removed from its tower, taken to a metallurgical lab, carefully heated to near melting point, welded with similar material, and then cooled slowly to avoid brittle patches that would crack when struck. This would be rather expensive, and could result in a bell with poor quality sound. You are probably better off purchasing a comparable reconditioned bell to replace the current bell. You can search http://www.brosamersbells.com for a suitable replacement bell.
      HJLong, MD

    • #14314

      Actually, bronze bells CAN be welded, but hardly anyone in North America knows how to do it properly. I know of one very bad example done by a bronze statuary shop (I won’t say where), and one excellent example done by a welder in Indiana. The process is fairly well known in Europe – there are firms in England and Germany which regularly weld bronze bells, even those broken in pieces by falling out of the bellframe! However, it requires pre-heating the bell, and thus cannot be done in the tower mentioned by “steeplejack”.

    • #14315
      Syldenschi
      Participant

      Yes it can be welded, but to do it you need nickle rod, the ability to reverse polority, to preheat nearly the entire bell before welding, keep ti heated, and cool the whole thing equally.
      It’s an art you will have a hard time finding anywhere except maybe near a foundry in Pennsylvania
      (can’t think of the town).
      Hope that help’s.
      Sylden

    • #14316
      HeritageCrackRepair
      Participant

      We are the company in Indiana that Carl mentioned, we were able to repair the bronze bell. We are currently working on a cast iron bell and having some success with it as well. Like has been mentioned it is truly more of an art than an exact science.

    • #14317
      nightflier51
      Participant

      The trick to welding the bell is to grind alway through the crack start welding ( brazing) from the ground out crevice (top of the crack) all way to the sound bow or lip. It is chancy but worth the try. Woops! i gave the secret away, Lol

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