loose bell Stuckstede Bell Co
July 23, 2011 at 2:33 am #10569knkfarm5Member
I inspected the bell in my church steeple today. I has been used with the “clapper” only for some years because “sombody said something was wrong with the fulcrum some time ago”. This is an 1888 Stuckstede Bell company bell from ST Louis Mo..
I found a solid wooden base and supporting structure of the steeple. I found the yoke supports to be in good condition and the bearings a bit dry, but smooth. I found the bell, looks to be bronze, about 3′ across with a rope wheel almost 5′ diameter all in my opinion to be pretty decent.
The ‘problem’ I saw is that where the dome of the bell is hung on the center pin it is loose. This allows the bell to shift in mid swing which shakes everything. The bell is attached to the center pin with 4 ‘L’ shaped brackets.
Is a bell supposed to be loose to achieve a desired tone or can I place wedges between the L brackets and center pin and tighten it up so it is again solid during swing and doesn’t shift which I know is wearing at the center of the bell hole?
Nice web site,
Any help is appreciated.
July 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm #13035hjlong3Participant
It may have had a leather gasket between the yoke and the bell to keep from metal to metal vibration. In addition, the L Bolts are probably loose and should be tightented.
Harry Long, MD
July 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm #13036Green GrassMember
You have a very severe safety issue …. STOP SWING RINGING this bell!
The original bolt was fabricated of cast iron. When the top of a bell “rounds off”, or the mounting nuts loosen up, or gasketts erode away, swinging the bell stretches the main mounting bolt. If you continue to swing ring this bell, the main mounting bolt stretches and will break, permitting the bell to be thrown across the bell chamber and possible out of the tower, or down the tower.
Tightening the bolt at this point will not help … it will only cause the cast iron bolt to stretch more.
The bolt must be replaced, replace with a stainless steel to provide maximum strenght and to prevent galvanic corosion, which occurs between dissimiliar metals.
July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm #13037
August 1, 2011 at 3:03 am #13038knkfarm5Member
OK Thank you guys.
Rest assured we are not ‘swing ringing’ this bell, good points though.
Were most bells made with a leather gasket between the top of the bell and the monting brackets? If not, is there a way of telling if this one did, there were no obvious remnants in the area.
All hardware, save one L bracket is tight. Bolts are rusted in place and solid to a wrench.
This particular bells center pin has a ‘ledge ring’ machined into it. Picture the L brackets inverted and bolted tight to the bell, (save the one) with the horizontal leg of the bracket overlapping onto this ledge ring and that is how the bell is connected to the center pin. As it hangs there on those L brackets the top of the bell is about an 1/8″ from the bottom of the ledge ring, this is where the bell moves. The center of the bell still appears to have square edges. Is it possible to tighten the bell with wedges or spacers between the top of the ledge ring and the bottom of the L brackets? Does this information change anyones ideas?
August 2, 2011 at 3:10 am #13039Carl Scott ZimmermanParticipant
I’ve never actually seen remnants of leather gaskets, but I have seen remnants of wooden gaskets, especially on Stuckstede bells. I’ve also seen bells as loose as yours, with nothing remaining of any gasket material. From your description, I expect your bell looks like this:[attachment=0:2524qykr]71699_02.jpg[/attachment:2524qykr]
Your proposed approach sounds reasonable, but carries a significant risk. The force required to drive in the wedges could well cause one or more of the suspension bolts to break, with disastrous consequences. That’s because there could be significant rust damage to those bolts where it can’t be seen. Even if the bolts didn’t break immediately, the weight of the bell would be carried unevenly at the points of contact of the wedges, putting uneven stresses on the cast iron flange where the L-brackets clamp.
A much better method would be to put timber supports under the bell to take its entire weight, then remove the four bolts through the L-brackets and replace them with modern stainless steel bolts of equivalent size. This would also enable the insertion of a hard rubber gasket between the top of the bell and the underside of the flange before the new bolts are tightened, to distribute the stresses equally.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.