Tubular Bell Hanging

6 comments on “Tubular Bell Hanging

  1. Paul Mouradian

    Hi Paul,
    I wholeheartedly agree leave it to the top professionals like yourself. How can a novice compete with the training, vast experience and talent you have. Like most things in life I think what you do from what I have seen and heard you on utube and through our communication; you are incredibly intuitative which I think is absolutely a must in becoming a great craftsman. You need talent, intuitiion, training, experience and passion. You have all of these. best wishes

  2. Brian THOMAS

    Our band owns a set of Premier tubular bells (from the 1970’s I think). The wire loop suspending one of the bells has frayed and broken – currently the bell is supported via a cable tie, which works, but it’s clearly not a long-term fix. I do have some narrow steel cable (bicycle brake cable actually) that I could use to make a replacement suspension loop, but I don’t have crimping or cutting tools to do the job neatly.

    So my question is – what specific tools and techniques do you need for making the steel cable loops to hang tubular bells?

    • pauljefferies

      Hi Brian,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      There are two essential tools, wire cutters and a swage tool.
      wire cutters
      Swage tool
      Sometimes they are combined in the swage tool as pictured – I have both because the swage tool is large and cumbersome. Expect to pay around £10 and >£30 respectively.
      You will also require the ferrules to crimp onto the wire rope. These are either aluminium or copper depending on the rope used and specific to the diameter of the rope.

      However, I do not replace the wire rope used on Premier bells, in fact I generally cut it all off and replace it with cordage. When I have to use wire rope I buy the highest quality which is very flexible and therefore has the side benefit of not stabbing into the ends of your fingers whilst you are working with it. Premier unfortunately buy the cheap shit which I think is 11 strand galvanised steel, anyway it is horrible stuff to work with. Furthermore, depending on the age of the bells, there is often no sleeve inserted into the bell through which the rope would pass. This results in the wire rope sawing through the tube wall and creating a very problematic repair.

      All in all I just use note cord and prepare the bells properly so there are no sharp edges on the mounting holes. Cordage will never buzz, it is very cheap and easy to replace and requires no specialist tools. You do have to know the difference between a granny knot and a reef knot and you will have to accept that it will require replacing more often. Therefore when I overhaul a standard set of bells I prepare 20 lengths of cord to hang the bells so the customer already has two spare.


      • Brian THOMAS

        Thanks for the very comprehensive reply. Our tubular bells do have internal mounting sleeves, so it should be OK to use cord rather than steel cable. But can you expand “note cord” for me? Google doesn’t seem to know what it is.

      • pauljefferies

        Hi Brian

        Further complication: Premier used two types of sleeve, the first were spring pins, latterly they are solid. The spring pins are obviously made from spring steel which is very hard so almost impossible to work. These pins are mass produced so you will need to check them for burrs. In general I just remove them and finish the tube properly since having a sleeve is a bit overkill. The solid sleeves are turned on a lathe and worked from both ends, this means that there is often a burr in the middle where the holes from either end meet – these can be drilled whilst in the bell using a cordless drill because essentially you are just reaming the hole smooth.

        Note cord is nomenclature by which I mean it is a word invented by a profession to convey superiority. All it means is cordage for note bars. Cordage is just small rope and can be made from anything in any manner. For your bells you just need a generic cord. Like the steel rope more strands equates to a higher breaking strain and more often than not greater flexibility. There is little difference in material but nylon melts most readily to facilitate sealing the ends. You can buy expensive cordage using a kern and mantle construction – the kern is the centre of lain fibres within the mantel which is a highly resistant outer sheath – great in concept but difficult to tie however you could use ferrules, but we would be back to square one with regards to tools.

        For reference the generic note cord I stock is black and costs £1.35/mtr dependent on diameter; I suggest 4mm and you will need around 6 meters so buy 7.


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