Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Ceramic Bells how make a large ceramic bell?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Garry 1 month ago.

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  • #27364

    claymaker
    Participant

    Thanks for your organization. I hope you can help me. I want to make ceramic “wind chime” bells (say 5″ diameter by 14″ tall) for my back yard. I”ve learned very little with web search. My questions include…1. What type of clay and clay thickness is best to create a “ringing” sound… more or less “grog”in the clay? 2. How should I hang the bell and attached the clapper? I’m currently thinking a “eye” bolt thru hole in the top of bell with a chain for hanging, attach to eye of bolt. Inside the bell, the threads of eye bolt pass thru a 2″diameter piece of wood and secured with a nut and washer. The clapper would hang from this wood. See sketch 3. Best shape/material for clapper? I’m currently thinking a round disk of hardwood suspended near the base of the bell. 4.Any books or articles that would me?

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  • #29007

    Garry
    Participant

    Wow! Great Project! Sorry about my late reply, I have been pretty busy so don’t get onto the site as much as I used to.

    I will try to answer your questions as well as I can, but I don’t make bells myself so take it as a starting point only!

    The Clay:
    You will need to experiment;

    1) The ringing sound comes from the crystalline structure of the material. So the ‘coarser’ the clay, the less ‘ringing’ the sound. Having done some pottery in high school (way back when) I know that the clays are all different and can be different between batches, so uniformity is going to be an issue. You want it as homogeneous (even particles) as possible.

    2) The second factor is going to be the thickness, as you know. This is a tradeoff between how HIGH a ring tone you want (thinner) vs the strength of the material (shatter when rung!). The thicker the bell, the stronger but the lower and less vibrant the tone.

    3) Firing is going to also be important. I assume you know this though. The dryer the final product the better the ring.

    Personally, I would try synthetic washers (like for a garden hose) rather than the wooden block. It’s a wind chime, made to hang outside in the (hopefully) moist air. Wood swells in moisture (ie fog) and cracks in heat (sun).

    A ceramic clapper is likely best for the striker, and if you have a long enough bolt hanging down through the top should be easy to attach it with a simple tie knot pinched between a couple of nuts or something like that.

    Hey, let us know how you did! If you do photos and a bit of a story I bet the site here might be interested in publishing it for you!

    Garry

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