The Tower Handbook
Many catastrophic problems can be averted if you respond to early symptoms, rather than waiting for something major to go wrong. The tables below may help you identify potential problems.
This first table describes some of the symptoms and what can cause them.
|Bell goes worse than normal||Sticking pulley|
Dry pulley bearing
Rope catching, eg on rope guides
Bell loose on headstock
|Rattle or squeak from pulley||Dry pulley bearing|
|Rope behaves erratically||Sticking pulley|
Pulley worn elliptical
Rope catching, eg on rope guides
|Clunks and bangs as bell turns||Loose clapper or worn clapper bush|
Clapper hitting slider or frame
Bell or gudgeons loose on headstock
|Clapper chattering as it strikes (usually noticeable outside the tower)||Clapper loose|
Bell up wrong
(Bell has clapper buffers)
|Bell more or less odd struck than normal||Bell up wrong|
|Bell feels spongey when set||Cracked stay|
|Bell deeper set than usual||Cracked stay|
Slider stop working loose
|Bell deep set at one stroke and light set (or unsettable) at the other||Cracked stay|
|Heavy thud as bell turns.||Bell loose on headstock|
|Bell feels uncertain near the balance||Bell loose on headstock|
|Rope snaking||Bad handling!|
Rope stiff from dampness
Rope guides or holes out of line
Damaged rope guide or hole
|Bell rope slips wheel||Bad handling (and)|
Wheel warped or pulley out of line
Rope catching on pulley
Sally sticking in pulley
This second table tells you what you can check if you suspect a particular cause, together with references to relevant sections for further related description.
|Sticking pulley||Does pulley spin freely with rope held clear?||14.6 d|
|Dry pulley||Does pulley spin freely with rope held clear?
Does it rattle to a halt?
|Worn pulley||Turn pulley round looking for grooves. Spin pulley while looking vertically downwards and observe any variation in radius.|
|Rope catching, eg on rope guides||Look for cracks, rough edges, signs of rope wear or rope fluff.||14.8 b|
|Worn clapper bush||Check side and vertical movement of clapper||14.7 b|
|Loose clapper (independent type)||Check tightness of crown staple nut.||14.2|
|Clapper hitting slider or frame||Observe bell while being rung**||As above|
|Bell or gudgeons loose on headstock||Observe  bell while being rung**||14.2|
|Bell up wrong||Check which side the clapper rests.||5.1 i|
|Bell has clapper buffers - not a fault, just designed that way.||Rubber plugs in face of clapper ball||14.7 g|
|Cracked stay||Inspect visually. Push or thump it to test for any 'give'.||14.5 c|
|Loose stay||Check for movement against headstock||14.5 c|
|Warped stay||Check for straightness ||14.5 b|
|Slider stop working loose||Check for looseness or evidence of movement||14.5i|
|Rope stiff from dampness||Feel it
Does it vary with weather?
|Rope guides or holes out of line||Sight along rope to assess how much out of line
Check for signs of moved boards (with rope holes in)
|Damaged rope guide or hole||Check for cracks or grooves.||14.8 b|
|Wheel warped or pulley out of line||Check by sighting along plane of wheel.
Observe rope movement near pulley while bell is rung**
|Sally sticking in pulley||Observe rope near pulley while bell is rung**||14.6d|
|Bad handling||More common than the faults above! Don't blame the bell if the ringers are the problem.||5.4 d|
**Always take safety precautions when observing rope, fittings or bell while it is being rung. Make sure you are in a stable position and clear of any moving part. Remember that ropes may not go quite where you expect them (especially if you are investigating rope misbehaviour).
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