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The bells at the Foundry

The bells have been at the foundry in Loughborough for a while and at times one has wondered whether anything was happening up there. Well of course the answer is yes - progress is being made.

Weighing the tenor headstock

First the old headstocks and the bell pads had to be removed. We had always known that the headstocks were too large for our bells but it was a bit surprising just how oversized they were. The tenor headstock weighed in at 128.5 kg (2.5 cwt) but it's replacement will be nearer to 80 kg (that's 1.5 cwt).

The bell pads were also removed and were sent back to us in case we wanted to turn these oddly shaped pieces of wood into something artistic.

Next the old crownstaples were drilled out. These large sections of iron formed part of the original bell hanging which attached the bell to the wooden headstock. Removing these would help to reduce the weight of each bell.

Once the crownstaples and old bolt holes have been cleared of iron the voids are filled with resin. First, a stop is placed inside the bell to support the resin which is poured in from above. When the resin is solid it is skimmed and levelled and finally a hole is drilled through the centre.

Meanwhile in the carpentry workshop the wheels are being resoled and reshrouded, this has raised a few problems because some of the wheels were found to be rather warped, so we have had to commit to three new wheels. That's why you have a contingency fund.

The bells will be returned to Calstock on Wednesday 24th July, complete with a new set of bell ropes. The process of rehanging will begin the following Monday and should be complete by the middle of August.


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