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church bell/metallurgy questions

GUEST,leeneia 18 Jul 05 - 09:22 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 18 Jul 05 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 18 Jul 05 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jul 05 - 09:44 AM
Wesley S 18 Jul 05 - 10:00 AM
DonMeixner 18 Jul 05 - 10:16 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Jul 05 - 10:21 AM
Micca 18 Jul 05 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Mingulay at work 18 Jul 05 - 11:25 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Jul 05 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jul 05 - 11:42 AM
JohnB 18 Jul 05 - 02:33 PM
Fergie 18 Jul 05 - 03:38 PM
DonMeixner 18 Jul 05 - 03:45 PM
Kaleea 18 Jul 05 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jul 05 - 09:19 PM
Bert 18 Jul 05 - 10:38 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 05 - 09:22 AM
Ringer 19 Jul 05 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM
The Walrus 20 Jul 05 - 12:13 PM
Liz the Squeak 20 Jul 05 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM
David Ingerson 20 Jul 05 - 04:56 PM
skipy 20 Jul 05 - 05:56 PM
a gud ole bwoy 21 Jul 05 - 04:06 AM
JohnB 21 Jul 05 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM
GUEST 21 Jul 05 - 11:29 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 05 - 09:12 PM
bobad 21 Jul 05 - 09:23 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Jul 05 - 09:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Jul 05 - 10:19 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 05 - 10:29 PM
JohnB 21 Jul 05 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Jul 05 - 12:52 PM
Silas 22 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM
The Walrus 22 Jul 05 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Peter the Snapper 22 Jul 05 - 05:13 PM
Ringer 22 Jul 05 - 06:26 PM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Jul 05 - 07:16 PM
The Walrus 22 Jul 05 - 07:54 PM
Bob Bolton 23 Jul 05 - 09:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Jul 05 - 11:57 PM
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Subject: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 09:22 AM

Well, yesterday two men in harnesses climbed the bell tower of our church to see why the bell wasn't ringing. They found that the shaft of the clapper had failed (broken into two long, thin pieces. The shaft seems to be wrought iron, worked by a blacksmith, as it is not actually round, just looks hammered. The shaft is about six feet long and 1.5 inches in diameter. It simply broke apart about halfway down its length.

At one end of a broken piece is the fat part of the clapper, the bulge that actually strikes the bell. It is solid metal and is about six inches across. It is approximately the shape of a toilet plunger. The shaft has to be repaired in such a way as to handle the weight of the fat part, swinging.

The bell is of bronze, circa 1870. Obviously, it can't be struck with any old thing, and we would like to keep the clapper it's always had.

Does anybody have any experience with metals and so have any good suggestions for how to restore the clapper?


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 09:25 AM

Using the old parts a mould can be made and a new clapper cast from the mould, any good foundry could do that easily. Probably the most cost effective way would be to have one made up for you at a machine shop.

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 09:30 AM

and the old metal could be re-used once the mould has been cast. If it is indeed wrought iron the remaining metal is probably too brittle to be repaired and used without re-casting anyway.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 09:44 AM

Brilliant! Re-using the old metal should solve eliminate the fear that a new clapper would be too hard.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 10:00 AM

Leeneia - Not knowing specifics about the grade of metal used - my boss suggests having the clapper welded. A reliable welder should be able to tell you if the metal is strong enough to hold. It doesn't need to be pretty. I guessing that the clapper isn't visable. If welding isn't an option you should be able to get a machine shop to make a new one for you.

What part of the world are you in ? I work for a metal distributor in Texas. Feel free to PM me if I can help with some contacts. Or perhaps your local Ren faire would be able to put you in touch with a blacksmith.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: DonMeixner
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 10:16 AM

I imagine the shaft of the clapper is wrought Iron. Over time the bashing of metal against metal will work harden the less "sophisticated" of the metals. Bell metal is designed to do what it does and do it for ever it seems. The wrought iron should be able to be forged back together by a skilled ornamental black smith.

There should be people in the region who do this work. Historic preservation is a grownig trade. Contact someone who offers steeple jack services and look for a recommendation there.

Don


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 10:21 AM

Unfortunately, just recasting the metal may not give a usable product - metals often undergo change when melted.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Micca
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 11:18 AM

Leeneia, you could always contact the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London UK Try Here they may be able to at least advise if recasting is feasable or if you would need a new clapper


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,Mingulay at work
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 11:25 AM

I seem to recall when making a set of mutes for the bells in a local church that the clappers were made also of bell metal. However, that was a few years ago and the little grey cells are not what they used to be.

By the way, wrought iron is not the same as cast iron. Also cast iron would more than likely shatter as it hit the bell, having a fragile crystalline structure.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 11:42 AM

The shape and weight of the "toilet bowl plunger" at the end probably is the most important thing to be preserved to keep the original sound. The rod it hangs on was probably cast and then hammered (wrought) to make it strong enough to hold the knob.

A re-casting of the arm will get you plain old cast iron. That should be okay for the knob on the end, but the rod needs to be "wrought" by heating and hammering to break up the grains of the metal. When iron cools in a mold, the part that gets hard first has a different composition than the part that solidifies last. It has to be "wrought" by hammering to redistribute the components of the mix, sort of like working a bunch of raisins into your cookie dough to get them uniformly distributed. Even if you end up with the same shape you started with, more or less, the hammering is important to getting good strength and toughness in the final part. Almost any experienced blacksmith should be able to advise, and to do the job, although few are likely to have the facilities to do the recasting.

Welding wrought iron is a little tricky, since the weld will be "new cast" material and you can't really work it much. If a welded fix is chosen, it would likely be desirable to "add on" a couple of sidebar pieces to span a few inches past the edges of the break. Of course this will change the appearance of the rod, but it would take a fairly large amount of added material to affect how it works.

The suggestion to contact the bell foundry for advice is a good one.

John


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 11:42 AM

Thanks to all of your for your insights. There are a lot of good ideas here for people to talk to and methods to consider. I appreciate this very much.

Yes, we do think it's wrought iron rather than cast iron.

It's good to know that re-melting the clapper might change its properties.

By the way, the bell is so big that two six-foot men could kneel inside it and detach the clapper. It doesn't look that big from the ground, so that was an impressive surprise.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnB
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 02:33 PM

If you can't find a Blacksmith here you are probably in the UK in which case do a search for BABA (British Artist Blacksmith Association)
DO NOT let anyone try to melt it down and recast it. Please don't let anyone with an arc welder or a torch anywhere near it either.
A good Blacksmith will be able to Forge Weld a repair as necessary using the same type of Wrought Iron Material. The final product will be as good as new, cos that's how it was made to start with. If you need more help try the ABANA office, they may be able to help with someone in your area.
Good Luck, JohnB, Woodside Forge, Ontario, Canada.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Fergie
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 03:38 PM

Leeneia
Don Meixner is most likely correct when he suggests wrought-iron. A skilled welder with the correct filler rods should be able to patch up the old clapper good as new, and it shouldn't be too expensive.

Hey Don where did you pick up the insight? Seems you are a man of MANY talents

Regards
Fergus


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: DonMeixner
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 03:45 PM

Hi Fergie

I'm a silversmith and at one time I built steel fishing boats for a living. Other than that I've spent 54 years paying attention. Of course my Dad was convinced otherwise.

Don


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Kaleea
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 08:20 PM

My Grandad, though gone for more than 20 years, was a terrific blacksmith, and could make most anything. He actually did make a new clapper for a church bell many, many decades ago.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 09:19 PM

I am amazed at the amount of knowledge and the number of ideas here.

John in Kansas, thanks so much for your informative post. And JohnB, thanks for the information on blacksmiths.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Bert
Date: 18 Jul 05 - 10:38 PM

If it's really wrought iron, you'll need to find a local blacksmith. Preferably an old one because not many people can work with wrought iron these days. He'll take it and fire weld it.

Most of what is called wrought iron now, is really mild steel. If that's what it's made of then it can be annealed and welded easily.

If it's cast iron, then you have quite a different kettle of fish. Cast iron can be arc welded using high nickel content rods and then stopping every half inch or so and peening the weld the relieve the cooling stresses. Even then the strength of the resulting weld is somewhat questionable.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 05 - 09:22 AM

could get more useful information from the You experts


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Ringer
Date: 19 Jul 05 - 09:30 AM

The clapper on such a bell is certainly wrought iron, a commodity which is unavailable these days (today's blacksmiths might claim to work with wrought iron, but in reality their medium is actually mild steel). Welding's a possibility but (as pointed out above) can affect the structure of the clapper & just cause another failure almost immediately.

These days, spheroidal-graphite cast iron can be used as an alternative; the afficianados of bell music will tell you that the sound is inferior (compared to wrought iron), but I can't tell the difference. (Ordinary cast-iron's no good at all)


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM

Since the shaft is so old, and since it is rough-looking, with hammer marks in it, we assume it is truly wrought iron. It looks as if someone took a shaft with a rectangular cross section and then hammered it into an approximation of round.

This is how the bell came to be there. Before the American Civil War (1860-64), my neighborhood was a lively place, with settlers, farmers, and businesses. Then the battles, guerrilla fighting and Army repression attendant on the Civil War caused it to be deserted.

When Europeans returned, it was Germans who came. Eventually the bishop, at his HQ on the Big Muddy, decided that a German-speaking parish was needed down here. A modest building and a fine bell were the result. We no longer speak German, but we do have a lot of German names on our stained-glass windows. (windows c. 1922)

To hear a gratifying tale of art triumphing over brutality, check out the true story of George Caleb Bingham and General Order Number 11.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Walrus
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 12:13 PM

I'll back what others have said, either arrange for the original to be 'forge welded' - but the piece may need to be heat treated to give the required mechanical properties - or 'drill out' the old shaft and replace it with a new piece - either hammer-forged, as the original or machined from newer materials, to give the same effect.
DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER recasting the shaft, as the casting will be brittle (even after heat threatment it will be relatively brittle compared to the original) and likely to shear in service (fairly early on at a guess).
Sorry I can't help more, my fields were corrosion and (later) wear.

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 12:19 PM

Is the bell free hanging or static?

If free hanging, why not consider hanging it in a static cradle and using an external hammer to sound the chime?

Please don't go down the route my local Catholic church took... they took out all their bells (there were 6 on a chiming mechanism) and put in a single toll - recorded!!! It's set to chime the hour and does a different toll for the Angelus at certain times. It sounds pretty good, but it doesn't have the resonance of a real bell.

LTS


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM

Thanks for the metallurgy info, Walrus. I'm going to print out this whole thread and give it to the Building & Grounds Committee.

LTS - the bell has two mechanisms. Both a clapper and a hammer are present. We like to have both sounds; the hammer is used for tolling at funerals, and the swinging bell is used at other times.

There is no danger of us going to a recording; a survey has been done to define the church's "treasures", and the bell is one of them.

I, too, dislike recordings of bells. Sometimes, they cannot be helped, as when the church or bell tower is too fragile to take the dynamic load of swinging bells. However, our tower has recently been inspected, and it's up to the job.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: David Ingerson
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 04:56 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how much information and knowledge--sometimes highly specialized or arcane--is out there among you 'Catters. And the helpful attitude that usually accompanies it is a gratifying bonus. Y'all rock!

David


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: skipy
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 05:56 PM

There is currently a book on sale on ebay on the sudject of church bells, 1st ed 1908. Being sold by Folkdlg! wonder who that is then?
Skipy


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: a gud ole bwoy
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 04:06 AM

Try this web site www.realwroughtiron.com
A UK based company that deals in the proper stuff, they have an e-mail address for advice.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnB
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 07:10 AM

You just beat me there. I was going to say that Wrought Iron as opposed to Mild Steel is stil being made and available, you just have to know where to get it. I don't think any is made in North America but it is available here and expensive. This particuar project requires little material and the expense is worth it.Old wrought Iron from bridges to buggy's is readily reuseable. It has an inherent restistance to corrosion, which steel does not, so it hangs around for a long time. To identify wrought iron you look for what almost appears to be a longtitudinal grain pattern, similar almost to wood. You can also do a "spark test" with a grinder and you will get dullish red long straight sparks with no bright clusters on the terminal end. Compare the sparks to a "known" piece of metal, like the end of a drill, or a file tang, mild steel etc. you will see the difference. The high carbon steels have a bright yellow spark with lots of clusters.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 10:58 AM

Will do.

That's interesting about wrought iron having a grain. I never knew that.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 11:29 AM

JohnB said:

"I don't think any is made in North America but it is available here and expensive."


John go to these sites The Rockbridge Bloomery, iron.wlu.edu

ferrognome.yahoo.com

and The Cooperstown Farmers Museum. Newly made wrought iron materials are readily available and affordable.

Don


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 09:12 PM

Wrought iron isn't too different in composition from other low carbon iron products. Very low-carbon iron tends to be brittle, and more carbon makes it more ductile. Too much carbon, and it's soft and not too strong - as cast.

Unfortunately, as an ingot solidifies, the highest melting point material - with the least carbon - gets hard first, usually at the outside of the ingot, and the carbon gets "pushed" to the middle. The last material to get hard - with the lowest melting point - may be quite high in carbon even if the total composition of the ingot is fairly low.

The ingot is brought to a malleable temperature and hammered, or "Wrought" to break up the clumps of material with different composition, and to mix them together. The hammered ingot is often folded back on itself multiple times, to assure full mixing of the material, much as you might roll out pastry dough, fold it and roll it out again - multiple times to mix in more flour. It's the folding and hammering that produces the long layered grain in typical wrought materials.

If you melt, and re-cast, wrought iron, you don't have wrought iron anymore. You just have cast iron. Enough time with a hammer, and you can (possibly) turn it back into wrought. A traditional blacksmith can make "wrought iron" from any cast iron that has a low enough carbon content. Unfortunately the iron tends to pick up carbon from the forge, and in fact "carburizing" is a common method of adding a bit of carbon. There is no simple way to make large reductions in the carbon in iron except in a molten mix, so the traditional smithy is somewhat limited on how much improvement can be made if the stuff is overworked and picks up too much carbon.

The hammering in production of wrought iron is now done mostly by running the ingot between rollers. Since the repeated deforming of the material is what makes it "wrought," and rolling usually produces flat surfaces, it's usually finished into square or rectangular rods/bars/straps, and that's the way you'd ordinarily buy it. (It's very difficult to "squeeze" something to a good round shape.)

Of course the blacksmith can hammer to any shape wanted, and the "almost round" rod described would indicate that the blacksmith in this case wanted it to be more nearly round.

John


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: bobad
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 09:23 PM

"Unfortunately the iron tends to pick up carbon from the forge"

Would'nt that be a coal forge, and don't most blacksmiths use gas forges nowadays ?


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 09:55 PM

Actually, for proper forge welding you should really use charcoal. It is possible to build a good fire with cola (what a typo! - COAL!), but because you use water and heat to coke the coal, you actually produce coke which is really burnt in the fire.

This is usually acceptable, but the impurities such as sulphur and phosphorus etc which may be in the coal can cause problems when they infuse into the metal, so you need good quality 'blacksmith's coal'.

"don't most blacksmiths use gas forges nowadays ?"

I wouldn't know - why would they if they were 'classically trained' by a real blacksmith? The gas forge is useful for farriers mucking around with horseshoes, but you can easily alter a coal fire to produce both oxidising and reducing fires (if you were trained properly) - if you try to alter a gas fire, you could easily poison yourself with too much carbon monoxide. Gas burners tend to be designed to always allow sufficient air, even to the extent of too much, thereby reducing the temperature with excess air - thus often an oxidising flame, which may be acceptable for shaping, but useless for welding.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 10:19 PM

Oh, and as for 'turning cat iron into wrought iron'

If you get (by burning or slagging) all the impurities out, old type cast iron is pretty weak. Modern 'spheroidal' stuff is a different game.

Wrought iron was made from billets of fairly impure iron, by belting it to squeeze all the remaining sludgy slag out***. Carbon was in the sludge too - so some steel was formed. The grain structure is formed as a consequence of this process - if you belt the billet enough it lengthens and narrows so you fold it and weld it and belt it until you are tired of doing so. You get 'ropes' of iron surrounded by steel. If you have heard of 'pattern welding' - swords which are made of several pieces of metal shaped and welded like a piece of braided belt, then you are on a similar wavelength.


*** This was the case until such processes as the Bessemer Converter came along. It achieved higher temperatures, thus more completely melting the metal and floating the slag to the top, where the oxygen blast burned it out, leaving fairly pure molten iron. The older lower temperature processes tended to give a sludge of lumps of iron full of sulphur, phosphorus etc mixed in with semi molten slag - thus you literally had to 'beat the shit out of it'. :-)


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 10:29 PM

Unless your gas is pure hydrogen, you still have sufficient carbon to affect the metal unless you control things very carefully. (Carbon is extremely soluble in iron.) Gas is used, natural/propane etc., for some purposes, but can't attain the temperatures you can get with charcoal or coke, and it's reportedly much more difficult to achieve a large enough area with uniform high temperature with gas. Gas is okay for fitting horseshoes, perhaps, but any major smithing is probably best done with a more traditional (solid) fuel. (Or so I've been told by people who should know.)

I have seen a couple of "performance smiths" who set up at festivals to show off how they make the stuff they have for sale and who use portable gas forges for the demonstrations. Maybe next time one of them is around I'll get a chance to ask if he does all his work with gas... but I'd be surprised if he does. The stuff done on site at the festivals is generally pretty simple.

John


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: JohnB
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 11:23 PM

Sorry Don, I don't believe any of your contacts produce wrought iron in "commercial" quantities. There are a couple of European Companies producing Commercial Wrought Iron. When I say expensive, I mean in relation to mild steel prices, a factor of around 5x I think.
I have been involved in two smelts in Canada, we have succesfuly produced bloomery iron both times. It is a long, hard, dirty, process. It's also really neat, I have a little piece from the first bloom on my shelf, how many people in the world can claim to have a chunk of hand made iron which they helped make?.
On a less interesting note, there are a lot of truths above and some myths, you CAN for sure forge weld in a propane forge, both naturally aspirated and forced air types. I make virtually all my work using propane (I don't normally forge weld that stuff) However I always use coal for demonstrations, I use a small handcranked forge which is probably over 100 years old and will still obtain a welding heat, using coal, which is (as someone else stated)converted to coke during the cooking process.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 12:52 PM

Meanwhile, the saga of the clapped-out clapper continues. Yesterday I took my car to a garage which happens to be owned by a fellow church-goer. We talked about the broken clapper, and he confessed that he had never liked the sound of the bell, that it didn't have a nice "bong!."

His assistant then suggested that the clapper hadn't failed all at once, as I had assumed. He thought that the harsh sound might have been caused by a partly-broken shaft on the clapper.

I asked the DH, and he said yes, that part of the failed zones was new and part was covered with rust. Who knows how many years it has been since someone heard the bell sounding as it should?

If we restore the clapper perfectly, will the humble Building & Grounds committee be the heroes of the community? We shall see.

Thanks for the continuing information about metals.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Silas
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 01:20 PM

I'm a photographer. If it were up to me, I'd have a new one made of rubber.

Bliss!


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Walrus
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 02:54 PM

"..how many people in the world can claim to have a chunk of hand made iron which they helped make?..."

Almost guilty as charged!

Somewhere I still have a 2" length of 1/2" diameter very high purity (metallurgical laboratory quality<1>) iron I helped produce from cast iron billets back in 1976 - middle of a heat wave, everyone else was in lightweight clothes and muggins here was in heavy cords, lab coat, safety boots etc. and full face visor working in a foundry -oh joy!
Not quite smelting from ore, but perhaps the follow up stage?

W

<1> Better than 'ARMCO' purity IIRC


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,Peter the Snapper
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 05:13 PM

The information you need to fix your church bell is readily available. Metallurgical and Welding Engineers deal with these things every day and it would be well worth spending a few dollars to have a qualified person look at it and give you a repair proceedure. If you had a problem with your heart, for instance, I believe it would be sound advice to suggest that you see a doctor and not rely on the well meaning but erronious opinions of folk music fans.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 06:26 PM

Good advice, Peter.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 07:16 PM

Peter the Snapper is correct, but it's fun chatting (and for some of us it brings back mostly pleasant memories of past activities!), and now at least leenia has heard some of the more important concepts, so is less likely to be ripped off by some con artist, as at least some relevant questions can be asked.


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: The Walrus
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 07:54 PM

"...and it would be well worth spending a few dollars to have a qualified person look at it and give you a repair proceedure. If you had a problem with your heart, ... I believe it would be sound advice to suggest that you see a doctor and not rely on the well meaning but erronious opinions of folk music fans..."

Jeeneia,

Peter's advice is sound enough. Consult a professional.
As you are in the USA, I'm not sure which body you should consult. You could try to see if either ASTM (American Society for the Treatment of Metals), or NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) could point you in the right direction.
Don't be put off if you cannot find metallurgists listed anywhere as it now seems to be taught as a sub unit of 'materials science' (pure metallurgists are a dying breed).


Peter,

"...well meaning but erronious opinions of folk music fans..."

Has it occurred to you that although we meet on a folk music board, many of us have interests/qualifications/jobs far from the music scene?

Walrus (former metallurgist)

I'll not offer advice here (other than that already given) as I haven't seen the work piece and it has been far too long since I dealt with such materials


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Jul 05 - 09:14 PM

G'day leeneia,

I suspect that your blacksmith wrought the original clapper from two long, ~ square rods ... of the largest cross section at hand. He would have forge-welded them together longitudinally, then forged them into an approximate round shape. If there is no sign of the head being attached, he probably then "bumped it up" in the forge until he had a large enough 'lump' to do the job and then forged the other end down a little and turned it round to make an attachment (ring ... ?).

What he did with his skill and what was available locally has lasted most of 135 years, but it will have failed at the weakest point of the exercise ... the long forge weld of the two bars to make a sufficiently solid shaft. The best repair (unless a really good blacksmith could reforge the shaft without delaminations, perhaps adding some material the strengthen it) would be to replace it with what the original smith would have done ... if he had the heavier material.

If the correct metal rod can be obtained in heavy enough crosssection, a good smith could forge it roughly round, "bump up" the clapper to match the shape and mass of the original and turn a suitable ring for attachment at the other end ... and it ought to last far beyond any of our imagined futures. Obviously, all the real questions have to be asked at your end ... starting with finding a good traditional blacksmith and asking him what he would do ... and how.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: church bell/metallurgy questions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jul 05 - 11:57 PM

Peter the Snapper: Naturally, we are not going to turn the fate of an irreplaceable bell over to Just Anybody. I posted to the Mudcat so I could talk to various people and learn what questions to ask. As you can see from the foregoing posts, there are quite a few educated and helpful Mudcatters.

As The Walrus points out, it is good for the consumer to know the concepts.

Bob Bolton: thanks for the information on blacksmithing techniques.

Anyway, aside from the bell, I am interested in this stuff because I am a die sinker's daughter.


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