Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells Using rust penetrating oil on bronze bell

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    • #12282
      lfuller
      Participant

      We are trying to move a large bell (48″) and want to see if we can carefully get the top pieces off. Would rust penetrating oil possibly damage the bronze if it dripped on the main part of the bell?
      Any other advice on removing the top pieces, or whether the center piece is in fact likely a bolt, would be welcome! I attached a photo.

    • #17536
      jackbell
      Participant

      The oil won’t harm the bronze. Would a photo of the entire bell be possible? If you are wanting to remove it from a tower I suggest hiring a professional rather than risking life and limb.

    • #17537
      lfuller
      Participant

      Thanks. Good advice- we are trying to get a lot of advice about moving this and eventually restoring it. We will probably need to have some parts made as well. It is not in a tower currently, but on ground level inside a building.
      Here is a photo that shows the whole bell.

    • #17535
      pabellguy
      Participant

      A portable band saw would work well to cut what is remaining of the original yoke, the clapper spring inside will just fall down within the bell. Check with Todd Lower with Lower Bells for parts and or restoration needs they are the best to deal with in the business…Good Luck

    • #17539
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      Correct, penetrating oil won’t hurt the bell a bit. I’ve dismantled many of them, even making hydraulic jack systems to get them apart. One warning though. Do no try pounding downward with a sledge hammer on the parts on top of the bell as the thinnest part of a bronze church bell is just below the shoulder (that is where the horizontal top curves 90 degrees to the the verticle side of the bell) and this can break the entire top out of the bell. Even setting a bell down hard on the ground with the clapper still in the bell can do the same thing – I’ve seen a bell to which that happened. Good luck to you. I will admit to one bell I couldn’t get apart. It was corroded too much. When iron parts are in contact with bronze, corrosion starts.

      If you are going to use new mounting parts, you could just use a cutting torch and cut the iron part off. From your photos it doesn’t appear you can reuse the mounting parts. — Neil

    • #17538
      Neil Goeppinger
      Participant

      As I have thought about your problem, there are a couple of other tips I’ll pass along. To use penetrating oil, apply it about twice a day, and each time use a small hammer to tap all the way around the iron piece to vibrate the metal so the penetrating oil can get down into the joint where the two pieces of metal meet. Be patient and do this for several days, even a week if necessary. Time is your friend in this matter.

      Another trick is to use a torch with a rosebud tip and heat the iron piece until at least red hot, preferably white hot. The iron will expand. Since it can’t get bigger in diameter due to the constriction of the bronze around it, it will elongate. After it cools, it will contract, leaving a larger gap between it and the bronze bell. Now you have a better chance to get the penetrating oil to dissolve the corrosion. These two tricks have worked for me in getting iron bell mountings apart from bronze bells.
      — Neil Goeppinger

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