The Tower Handbook


[1]  Not used in on-line version.

[2]  Not used in on-line version

[3]  A spider held up by a rope attached to a nail is not secure in this context.

[4]  In most towers the sallies do not go right through the guides, but in some they do, so check.

[5]  Or that there is a clearly visible notice saying where it is.

[6]  Or dingle or toggle, see section 14.5e.

[7]  In some towers you can talk quietly without being heard but in others you can't. It depends how loud the bells are and how far you are from the ringers.

[8]  You may think such things would not even be contemplated, but we would not have mentioned them unless someone had experienced the problem.

[9]  There is a view that tiny subtle changes in the gap can produce a more pleasing effect, but in most cases where this question is asked, it is not subtlety and pleasing effects that are at stake, but whether or not the ringing sounds rough with clips and gaps.

[10]  Or any regular method which has Plain Bob lead heads.

[11]  This works most equitably if it is not always the same person who always turns up first.

[12]  Make sure the collecting box is kept somewhere safe if your ringing room is open to the church.

[13]  Some were formed much later, with the formation of a new diocese, eg Guildford or Southwell.

[14]  Though over 90% of the organisations affiliated to it are based within the British Isles.

[15]  In Minor they are made in 3rds and 4ths which causes dodging in 1-2 and 5-6 respectively.

[16]  In 1997 there is just one ring of nine at All Saints Basingstoke.

[17]  In 1997 there are no rings of fifteen in use. Fifteen bells awaiting installation at Perth, Australia (in the music department of the university) will now be augmented to 16 and hung in a purpose built tower in the city.

[18]  The most famous illustration of how our brains perceive bell rhythm in pairs was the way Dorothy Sayers described the sound of the bells in The Nine Tailors, 'tin, tan, din, dan, bim, bam, bom, bo.

[19]  That are notified and conform to its decisions on peal ringing.

[20]  You can see why this should be. Consider 3 bells. For each of the two bell sequences, you can insert the new bell in three different places, each of which is a new 3 bell sequence. 123, 132, 312, 213, 231, 321 so the new total is 3 x 2!.

[21]  10,080 x 4 = 40,320.

[22]  See also 'Ringing Jargon Explained'.

[23]  Or perfect closed leads in places where they ring cart wheel style.

[24]  As the rope comes down from backstroke to handstroke its weight raises the bell slightly. As the bell lifts it up again from hand to back it drops the bell slightly.

[25]  Assuming the normal practice of muffling at back stroke.

[26]  The leading edges of adjacent bells may be on opposite sides if the bells swing in opposite directions.

[27]  Unless you have clapper buffers, small rubber plugs inserted into the clapper ball to stop the clapper deadening the hum note.

[28]  Experts differ on this point, but in the Veronese style of ringing where the bells clapper wrong by English standards because they are heavily counterbalanced there is a relatively high incidence of cracked bells.

[29]  Frank King, John McClenahan & Brian Threlfall. See The Ringing World, November 1965.

[30]  Terylene is a brand name for polyester.

[31]  If the frame flexes, the bearings can be pinched which increases friction as well.

[32]  Ropes that run out of vertical for part of their length. See section 5.4c.

[33]  The wheel can be fitted at either side of the pit and the garter hole can be at either side of the wheel.

[34]  It is still worth putting carpet over the front edge of the box to avoid the rope chafing or catching it.

[35]  Ringing was not an egalitarian activity in the days when foot straps were popular.

[36]  Because a billy flapping below your hands would be more distracting than a rope end.

[37]  Some downstairs rings even have the ropes falling between the pews.

[38]  There are a few rings of steel bells but they are rare.

[39]  In former times founders used a lost wax process, see section 4.1k.

[40]  When the mould is dried.

[41]  The patterns leave imprints which are mirror images of the final pattern on the bell.

[42]  Bronze melts at over 1000_C.

[43]  Car bodies do this to make rigid structures with thin sheet metal that is not very strong in itself.

[44]  For more detail see The Sound of Bells.

[45]  Removing metal mostly lowers frequencies by reducing the stiffness where it is removed. In some places it can also slightly raise some frequencies by reducing the mass.

[46]  Some editions of Encyclopaedia Britanica say the hum should be a major sixth below the strike.

[47]  There are also chisel marks on some early 20th century bells.

[48]  Sitting on stone is uncomfortable in cold weather.

[49]  Or window apertures that have been blocked up.

[50]  But work on stained glass windows will be more expensive than on ordinary windows.

[51]  This is more than you might think. Although your body only generates between 100 and 200 Watts when at rest, if you are active it is three or four times this. A dozen ringers could easily generate 6kW of heat.

[52]  At the time of writing.

[53]  You may find the church's current electricity supply needs to be beefed up.

[54]  You also need columns for the date and method with space at the end of the rows for names of any visiting ringers.

[55]  Some people put a soft pad between the clapper ball and the bell to prevent this, but if the clapper is not held firmly, it could work loose and come out anyway.

[56]  'Loose' means a small amount of play as the knots tighten and the rope beds in, not to it coming untied.

[57]  Traditionally this was stated as 'calling the faithful to worship'. In the modern era when many people live out of earshot and drive to church this may not literally be true. Many people see ringing bells in an age when most people don't go to church as an essential witness to the continued presence of the church in the community. The message of the bells reaches those who have fallen by the wayside as well as the faithful.

[58]  For example if two of the band are not keen on practising for a striking competition, they may agree to take part since without them there would be too few to form a team. In return the rest of the band might rearrange their activities to practise at times that were most convenient for the less keen ones. The tower captain might also ensure that the arrangements on the day include having a meal together to cement the feeling of a team spirit.

[59]  Of course your band might be more active if there were more people to do the necessary organising.

[60]  Or lower their expectations for what the band can achieve.

[61]  This is not vote rigging. You can still have as many candidates as the band wishes and vote between them. But democracy and voting won't get you far if there are no candidates!

[62]  Encouraging ringers to go out, ring on other bells, meet other ringers and widen their experience is one of the most valuable contributions to someone's ringing development.

[63]  A prime ring is one which is for an individual's benefit, ie it is of a level of difficulty to provide stimulus (and challenge) to the individual. A piece of ringing may be a prime ring for more than one ringer, but only if the overall combination still provides a stable environment for each of them.

[64]  You can all write the dates in your diaries, but some ringers are notoriously poor at doing so!

[65]  Technically they need to be 'independently examined'.

[66]  Don't forget the thanks, and an occasional gift token or box of chocolates in recognition of freely given time.

[67]  You may also act on behalf of a ringing association. This will have different implications not covered in this Tower Handbook.

[68]  Risks that come directly from ringing, or which are higher because of ringing. In contrast, falling off your bike on the way to ringing is no worse than falling off your bike on the way to the shops.

[69]  In many churches the young choristers receive a token payment and some organists receive a fee.

[70]  Although throughout this Handbook we have carefully talked about service ringing in general rather than just Sunday service ringing, this example illustrates that fact that in most parishes the regular obligation is to ring for certain services (not usually all of them) on Sunday. Services for Ash Wednesday, Christmas day etc are covered here under the phrase 'when required to do so'.

[71]  In a tower where peals are not a regular event.

[72]  If the developer is selling the homes direct, approach him also, since you will be dealing with different people.

[73]  You may think he would not do anything that might deter a sale, but estate agents are under obligation to represent the details of a property accurately. They would not welcome the adverse publicity if it later came to light that they had withheld information already in their possession.

[74]  Or saying when you will open the door, if you have to keep it locked for security.

[75]  Mount it securely in a suitable position. But before you do so, make sure it is not the sort of video camera that turns itself off if left stationary for a couple of minutes. This can be very embarrassing when you come to your first demonstration and find the picture has gone!

[76]  If it does not, you could get them all to sign a disclaimer indemnifying you and the church authorities if they should injure themselves, but this would put a very negative tone on the event.

[77]  Visual aids can provide added interest down stairs, but you will probably get asked these questions while standing astride a bell pit with no visual aid in sight to help you apart from the bell!

[78]  Any tower can enter a band in a district competition, but associations often restrict entry to the winners of district competitions, or districts may enter teams to represent them.

[79]  Many local competitions permit inexperienced bands to ring call changes or even rounds, to encourage them to enter the competition.

[80]  See section 8.8f about what judges find easy to hear.

[81]  Some competition organisers insist you are there at the start for the draw. Others make the draw in advance and give you a time to ring.

[82]  Don't just stand the bells, see section 12.3c.

[83]  It is fashionable to decry exhortations like 'Listen to it', but there are many occasions when the mistakes are spread among several people and not consistent, but where more effort should improve things.

[84]  This is not a reason to avoid training them. After all others will benefit from your training, just as you will benefit from ringers moving into your area who have been trained by someone else.

[85]  You should do this for planned non practice days as well, like your AGM day.

[86]  Unless you have sound control, you may not want to do this for long on open bells.

[87]  In most towers it is considerably more than this, but you could streamline things if people co-operate and if you have a plan for what you intend to do. Placing all the band helps save time, see section 9.3f.

[88]  Or until you lose a Surprise ringer. What happened to all previous Plain Bob learners? Did they become Surprise ringers without an intermediate stage, or did they leave because your practices did not cater for them?

[89]  If this applies to your ringers, why not set a goal to do something about it.

[90]  The ringing master is responsible for the overall conduct of the practice anyway, and cannot shed this responsibility by allowing a free-for-all. If an unsuitable band fires out a touch, he or she is still responsible.

[91]  But there should be no prime rings when ringing for services.

[92]  But not near the end of the practice, since people are unlikely to have time to prepare. Trying to cram in too much is often unsatisfactory.

[93]  In some churches, rather than have a very depleted choir during the holiday season, they have no choir at all. Some churches with high calibre choirs also go off to cathedrals for a week to fill in while the cathedral choir is on holiday.

[94]  This is most likely if the bells are audible in the body of the church, especially if your ringing room is open to the church.

[95]  The traditional reason 'calling people to worship' hardly applies when many people live out of earshot of the church. They hear the bells when they arrive, but probably the main beneficiaries are those in the community who do not come to church but are continually and audibly reminded of its presence.

[96]  Unless any of you can ring double handed, see section 4.2h.

[97]  768 is a more musical ending and means the ringer of the 6th need not be able to cover.

[98]  See section 3.1f.

[99]  Doh, Soh, Me, Doh.

[100]  Alternating big and small bells accentuates problems caused by light bells ringing too close to heavy ones.

[101]  The three transitions 1-8, 2-9, 3-0 are all octave jumps.

[102]  Doh, Soh, Me, Doh or Soh, Me, Doh.

[103]  They tend to have more need for money and more free time than adults.

[104]  Having a muffle come off or turn round during ringing is most disconcerting as the affected bell is then unmuffled on both strokes.

[105]  People who do this claim it avoids lockouts.

[106]  Or you may combine the role with another, see section 7.2f & section 7.3.

[107]  Did you change your approach? Was one person's teaching spread out over many months because of shift work while you taught another every night of the week during a holiday? Did the sixty year old really take longer than the nine year old? And so on.

[108]  There are plenty of other things to do when standing out, eg standing by people, looking, listening, responding to questions or being talked through what is happening.

[109]  This is one reason for favouring teaching raising and lowering while teaching bell handling.

[110]  As a result more energy is used up maintaining balance, and there is more risk that loss of balance may cause a distraction from controlling the bell.

[111]  You may need to be flexible on this point if, say by reason of injury your student finds it difficult to stand for extended periods with the weight on both legs.

[112]  If you haven't used these exercises before, practice them yourself before doing it in front of your student!

[113]  Alternatively, hold a piece of rope end which is used to form a ring around the hanging rope.

[114]  This provides very good feedback. There is no fudging whether the rope is disturbed or not.

[115]  You may need to ask for more force, but the main problem novices suffer from is applying too much resistance as the rope rises.

[116]  Pulling means applying force to the rope as it descends; it makes the bell swing higher. Checking means applying force to the rope as it rises; it makes the bell swing less high.

[117]  eg The Tutor's Handbook, One Way to Teach Bell Handling, Manual of Bell Control, Bell Handling and Control.

[118]  Your association may run one as do the Central Council and some of the independent courses. See The Training Directory.

[119]  No this is not a mistake. The upper hand grips and releases the tail end.

[120]  You can precede this by using a dummy tail end to ring handstrokes only. Some teachers find this helpful but it can be a distraction. Pupils sometimes start adjusting it in the gap between handstrokes. If you use step 8 you probably won't need it.

[121]  Step 11 can encourage a visual approach to catching the sally when it should be based on rhythm. Providing steps 6 and 7 have developed a moderate use of force, step 11 can be omitted without hazard, even if the student does not take every handstroke at first in step 12 (which provides full integration of both strokes with a continuous rise and fall rhythm).

[122]  Partial integration of the handstroke as part of an overall rhythm can also be made if the student rings 'ghost' backstrokes, ie moves the hands up and down in time with the instructor's (backstrokes), as well as ringing the handstroke.

[123]  The pupil ignores the growing length of loose rope below his or her hands. When there is about a foot, you (the instructor) intercept the rope end and move it up and down in a way that ensures the tail remains slack and never interferes with the pupil's hand movement. You will not normally need to make any coils. As the amount of rope increases you need move the end less.

[124]  If you extend the single stroke activity too long, the student gets into the habit of a long dead pause between strokes. This can cause difficulty in developing the continuous rhythm of hand and back strokes.

[125]  (a) is based on Chaddock Manual of Bell Control, (b) is the accelerated method, (c) is based on Moreton The Tutor's Handbook, (d) is based on Pargeter One Way to Teach Bell Handling, (e) is the hybrid method. Sequences (b) and (e) are used but not published as far as we know.

[126]  Excessive rope movement and/or excessive effort.

[127]  If this happens to someone in rounds, stand the other bells, and if you are not already there, move quickly to be near the pupil so you can intervene if necessary.

[128]  Usually bringing the hands up late to handstroke and exerting negligible control over the handstroke.

[129]  But if you are looking at the rope, you should be able to spot them by tiny changes in the rope movement.

[130]  Continually moving the grip too far up the rope without realising it.

[131]  Eg shortening the rope to make the pupil reach higher may drop the bell if he doesn't.

[132]  Slow, slow, slow.....slow, normal, quick, quick, quick.....quick, normal, slow, etc.

[133]  Ringing with a fixed (wrong) length is a common cause of hunting problems for learners. Once they have learnt to adjust it easily, and to recognise when they need to, they will just do it when required. Experienced ringers on light bells often don't adjust their rope length so much.

[134]  If you are the other ringer, you can use your discretion over whether to maintain strict metronomic timing or whether to adjust to retain synchronisation and avoid wasting time while your pupil gets back into place. As you progress this should become less necessary.

[135]  So keep other forms of instruction going as well as communal ringing, at least for a while.

[136]  Or is not seen to be there.

[137]  But having an occasional exercise when you agree that the conductor will mix calling methods while everyone else tries not to go wrong is a good way to see how alert you all are.

[138]  When the order matters, eg when calling up, it is very easy to say the bells in the wrong order by mistake (ie to call the bells into their current order). This confuses many people, but some just do what was intended, even though it was not said.

[139]  There is almost always benefit in teaching an awareness of the existence of coursing orders and the like. You can do this by standing with a trainee and asking him to observe the order bells come to the back, by doing pencil and paper exercise and so on. But what we are discussing here is whether the numbers of bells followed should be the dominant input into deciding what to do.

[140]  If you know which bell to follow, you do not need ropesight to work out which one it is. The main argument for ringing by numbers at this stage is that all you need to worry about is moving the bell.

[141]  Many never ring advanced methods, but in a culture that assumes everyone except a 'learner' can ring methods they will be permanently handicapped if they don't master the basic techniques of method ringing.

[142]  There were, and perhaps still are, towers where nothing else is taught.

[143]  This only applies when hunting up.

[144]  Ringing at constant speed, but periodically changing to different speeds over as wide a range as the trainee can control the bell.

[145]  Large smooth expanses of concrete seem to be the worst.

[146]  You need not restrict this exercise to learners. All ringers should be able to it, so why not encourage your experienced members to set an example. But don't force anyone. Some ringers of long standing do find it hard, and although they are probably your less good strikers, you don't want to upset them by showing up their inadequacy. With a good band, you should all be able to turn outwards at the same time with no problem.

[147]  Ideally all learners should ring with a simulator before starting communal ringing. This gives them far more rope time in an evening at a stage where they need lots of practice, and they should also continue with this after they have started communal ringing, since they still will need lots of rope time. See section 9.3q.

[148]  With very erratic ringing there may be little overall rhythm, so it may be unclear where the right place is.

[149]  See also section 7 of Ringing Skills.

[150]  This makes it harder than ringing the bell yourself!

[151]  Failing to change speed after hunting down, and as a result going below first place.

[152]  More or less depending on the correction needed and the size of the bell.

[153]  In extreme conditions (eg when raising the bell rapidly) you can relax your grip as the bell rises to backstroke and 'let the bell take the rope it needs' (it will not take more than it needs).

[154]  This is with an average bell. A very light bell with a small wheel reduces the total rope travel making it difficult and unnecessary to have quite such a long stroke.

[155]  Obviously this requires more than handling style. You need to understand about and be capable of speed changes, hearing where you strike and making corrections as well.

[156]  Some of whom also manage to get away with questionable handling styles.

[157]  ie when letting ropesight dominate your timing at the expense of rhythm and listening.

[158]  See section 5.1a-d for a description of odd struck bells.

[159]  Remember that different bells may have different length ropes, and the length that gives you best control at the speed you are ringing may also be different. Don't fall into the trap of holding so many inches from the end and clinging to the same spot regardless.

[160]  See also section 3 of Ringing Skills.

[161]  Weight for weight a ring of twelve might go a little more slowly than a six, but there are twice as many bells to fit into the interval.

[162]  See also section 2 of Ringing Skills.

[163]  This assumes that the sallies are the swimmers. The hands only go 'half way up the pool' every time, so it is more helpful to concentrate on them.

[164]  If you are ringing mainly by rhythm and using ropesight for 'navigation', then ringing in front of a bell is just as valid as ringing after a bell. Only if you rely on 'waiting for another bell to follow' will you not be able to make use of such information.

[165]  Passing downwards is sometimes called 'cutting'.

[166]  Two places removed from you except at the front and the back in plain hunting.

[167]  Especially if you are round the back end.

[168]  This won't help you to strike well, but it will ensure that you stay somewhere near where you should be and therefore increase the chances of sorting out the mess and settling down.

[169]  This is the biggest weakness of this system of calling.

[170]  Nothing is completely certain. Someone may just call the changing pair in any order and not bother to say the 'and'. You should be able to work it out, since the new order must be different from the current order.

[171]  It is called Original, and ringing touches of it can be quite exciting because calls can come thick and fast (every whole pull) and everyone can be affected including the treble.

[172]  Many people explain the speed difference in terms of the number of bells that strike between successive blows of your bell. On four bells, this number is 2, 3 or 4 for hunting down, making places and hunting up. but the speed depends on the number of intervals which is one more than the number of bells. Count the dashes in this example of the treble hunting up. 1_2_3_4_2_1_4_3_2_4_1_3_4_2_3_1.

[173]  But there are benefits in doing so, since you are more likely to be able to keep yourself right.

[174]  Or when ringing a method like Plain Bob.

[175]  We know this isn't very likely, but you never know your luck!

[176]  The term 'blue line' originates from a book of methods published in 1881 by Jasper Whitfield Snowdon (first president of the Yorkshire Association) that showed methods with the figures for each row set out beneath each other (as in The Ringing World Diary) and a blue line drawn through the path of one bell. He also used a red line for the treble's path but the term 'red line' is less widely used.

[177]  A blow after in the case of Grandsire.

[178]  In 'little' methods where the Treble does not go all the way to the back, it will not pass all of them, but those it does pass it will only meet once.

[179]  Where the hunting and dodging is 'right'.

[180]  A lead and a half includes a whole lead under the treble and whole lead over the treble.

[181]  Singles in Grandsire are conspicuous exceptions, but even they only span three changes and only alter two of the three.

[182]  These are the starts of the place bells, see section 13.10e.

[183]  See section 13.8b and 13.9d-e for illustrations.

[184]  The pieces of the blue line which each bell rings first. See section 13.10e on advanced method learning.

[185]  Or Reverse Canterbury places if you know Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Bob Doubles.

[186]  Only to save space. The same principles apply to any number of bells.

[187]  This is different from the symmetry most methods have from end to end, ie being able to find a point where what follows is a mirror image of what came before.

[188]  Both methods must have the treble doing the same thing, ie both plain hunting or both treble bobbing.

[189]  If they are Treble Bob methods, the triangles will have jagged edges caused by the treble dodging.

[190]  It may or may not be a valid method, ie one conforming to the Central Council method rules.

[191]  It will be less if some of the combinations don't produce proper methods, eg only having two leads.

[192]  Actually last place, ie sixth place on six, eighth place on eight and so on.

[193]  See section 13.10e.

[194]  ie the coursing order without the Treble, see above.

[195]  In methods like Cambridge and Yorkshire, most people learn the (few) places where you only hunt, and tend to take dodging for granted.

[196]  With a 4ths place bob.

[197]  The term 'long London' is used in other methods too, and in fact there is more in Bristol than in London.

[198]  Strictly 'Nths place bell' is the bell that rings the work, thus you become 5ths place bell, but it is common to use the term to refer to the work itself.

[199]  Assuming a Treble dominated method. Principles are divided into sections, but the section boundaries do not always align with the starting positions, eg Stedman.

[200]  It is also called the 'lead order'.

[201]  ie regular methods (with the same lead heads as Plain Bob, but not necessarily in the same order).

[202]  The number of working bells is one fewer than the number of bells. In each different place bell order the 2nd (say) becomes a different place bell (3rds, 4ths, etc) at the next lead, but we must exclude the one where it returns to the same place, since this would give only a one lead plain course. Therefore the number of place bell orders is two less than the number of bells (or three less in a twin hunt method).

[203]  The first lead head is rounds.

[204]  It is the same over the Treble and a few bits under.

[205]  On six bells, if 3rds place is made (and not 4ths), then 6ths must also be made because if 1 & 2 swap, and 4 & 5 swap, 6 is left with no one to swap with.

[206]  These are ordered as in Plain Bob. In some other methods the leads are in a different order, but the names of the calling positions are still based on where the highest working bell is.

[207]  Home is sometimes called Right. Thus a calling like 'WHW x3' becomes 'Wrong Right Wrong x3'.

[208]  For Doubles there are few enough bells that it is fairly easy to keep an eye on where all the other bells are. There are only three apart from you and in many methods the bells will spend considerable time working in pairs, eg in Plain Bob the pairs that dodge together, in Grandsire, the pairs on the back or the front when there are runs of calls at successive leads.

[209]  The lead heads (and other rows) are of concern to the composer, since it is the rows you hear, and most composers are concerned with the music produced. Most composers now use computer aids which greatly reduce the chore of composition, allowing them to concentrate more on what they are trying to achieve and less on grinding out the figures.

[210]  See section 13.9i on learning methods for descriptions of what coursing order is.

[211]  In more complex methods you will meet them less often in the coursing order, but even if you only meet them for part of the time you still have more chance of being able to do something to help.

[212]  For example with Plain Bob Doubles there is only one extent and the affected bells ring 'In, Out, Make the bob', each starting at a different point in the cycle.

[213]  It moves a different number of places for methods with different place bell order from Plain Bob. See section 13.10f-i.

[214]  The bell making the bob is about to be 3rds place bell. One ahead of that is 5ths place and two ahead is 7ths place.

[215]  The maximum possible number increases with more working bells. For Doubles it is 4, for Minor 6, for Triples 6, for Major 12, and so on. The minimum in all cases is 2 (or 1 if the block itself comes round).

[216]  P= plain lead, B= bobbed lead, S= singled lead.

[217]  If you use a string of the same type of lead, make sure it does not come round on its own. For example BB comes round in Plain Bob Doubles, BBB does in Plain Bob Minor.

[218]  But not one of each, so you must choose a suitable insertion point.

[219]  With calls at the same place in each course eg H, the number of courses in the round block is:
SS = 2, BBB = 3, BSBS = 4, BBSBBS =6.

[220]  This assumes you have a choice. If you ring a 120 of Doubles, a 720 of Minor or a 5040 of Triples, then you ring every row, musical or not. Being selective about the music applies mainly to shorter touches of Triples (including quarter peals) and any composition of Major and above.

[221]  Don't tighten both bolts on one side or one end first. Always tighten nuts diagonally opposite in pairs.

[222]  The block that supports the bearing. Also plumber block or pillow block.

[223]  The surfaces of the bearing between which the balls run have a spherical curvature, rather than cylindrical.

[224]  The wall which runs on both sides of the 'sole' or rim of the wheel.

[225]  Always do it in this order, ie loosen one before tightening the other.

[226]  Or better still have a third person with you.

[227]  Make sure that they will not foul any objects stored in intermediate rooms through which the ropes pass.

[228]  Wool not synthetic fibre, see Care of bell ropes.

[229]  The strength and durability of a rope depends on the twist given to the fibres when the rope is being made. This is what holds the strands together. Bell ropes vary considerably. Some are so tight it is hard to separate the strands to make a tuck. Others are loose and do not hold the tucks in place very well.

[230]  The durability of this technique is much more variable, depending on the condition of the rope and your skill in nesting the strands properly together as well as applying the glue.

[231]  Some people that order ropes with very long sallies have been known to strip enough wool from the top of the sally so they can repair it by splicing!

[232]  But you can sometimes do an emergency repair of a garter hole break by pulling the rope up slightly and tying it just inside the wheel. The sally will be very high, but the bell will be ringable. If you do this, make sure to repair or replace the rope as soon as possible afterwards.

[233]  Normally three but you may meet four stranded rope (not very common these days).

[234]  Pulling outwards and back down against the work you have done helps form a neat, compact splice.

[235]  Or four in a four stranded rope.

[236]  A well tapered short splice can be perfectly satisfactory if the rope does not need to bend, and it uses a lot less rope. For joining a synthetic top end to a natural fibre rope above the sally a short splice is preferable because a long splice would have strands of different mechanical characteristics running alongside each other, and they would not evenly distribute the load.

[237]  Modern ropes are usually flax.

[238]  That is why rock climbers use it. If they fall, it stretches to help absorb the impact.

[239]  ie the rope run is bent away from the vertical by pulleys or guides.

[240]  Obtainable from the Bristol Rope and Twine Co. and possibly other rope suppliers.

[241]  Some people have used Hempex for top ends as well, with many of the benefits of pre-stretched polyester, but its hemp-like qualities seem to add little virtue for a top end.

[242]  Such rumours describe the rope as 'hard' whereas polyester is softer and smoother than most hemp or flax.

[243]  A bell is odd struck if the blow at one stroke is earlier or later than the other when the bell is swinging evenly, ie with the same time between the two strokes.

[244]  In this order, and only a small amount at a time.

[245]  For example, two steel bars 10"x2"x0.5" (250x50x12mm) weigh 5-6lb (2.5kg). Doubling the thickness and width would increase the weight to around 20lb (10kg).

[246]  Think how little force you need to apply to the rim of the wheel to move it an inch.

[247]  If there is substantial space above the bells, and higher openings, the shutters can take the form of a heavy trap door in a floor above the bells, with the lower side openings in the tower blocked.

[248]  A 20dB reduction means the sound power is reduced by a factor of 100. Typically this would still be audible outside in quiet conditions, but not if there was much traffic. Some installations attenuate the sound less than this, mainly serving to take the harshness off.

[249]  See section 6.6a.

[250]  25mm is reasonably substantial but not too expensive and easy to modify.

[251]  Glass is used so there is some natural light in the bell chamber. The outer layer is wired glass for safety.

[252]  Best described as strands of lead woven into plastic.

[253]  Installations with tilting windows say 0.5 m (20 inches) square, giving an aperture less than 0.1 m2 around the edge when open, have been measured with similar sound level to previous apertures of around 1 m2.

[254]  Fill or partly fill it with wood so that the screw fits tightly when screwed in.

[255]  They could ring at any time, and the bell is in a position where the hammer could not work anyway.

[256]  Some frames have the ropes merely tied to a wooden bar which is wedged down in place to tighten the ropes or lifted out to loosen them. Getting the ropes all the correct length is more fiddly in this case.

[257]  Gudgeon movement is not easy to see, but you may feel the thump transmitted through the frame.

[258]  You cannot do this if you have deliberately curved stays, see section 14.5.b. 

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