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Bell Maintenance2018-06-19T15:23:09+00:00

Bell maintenance and service

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

Over time, bell hardware becomes worn and fragile, making the ringing of the bells unsafe. An article in Sacred Places magazine highlights the importance of regular maintenance, inspection, and repair of bell ringing equipment. Verdin can update your bell equipment to ensure it rings properly, is structurally safe in the tower, and that your church bells maintain the clear, warm sounds they originally had.

“WE TOOK OUR BELLS FOR GRANTED. BUT THE MOMENT OUR BELLS BECAME SILENT, THE COMMUNITY NOTICED.”

HAYDEN L., RALEIGH, NC

READ SACRED PLACES ARTICLE

Are the bells in your tower safe?

OUT OF SIGHT SHOULDN’T MEAN OUT OF MIND

Annual maintenance will often keep a bell ringing for decades before any repairs are needed. Unfortunately, bells are located high in towers and are generally difficult to access; maintenance is often out of mind since the bell is out of sight. Many churches do not realize their bell is in need of assistance until there is a crisis.

Notice these things?

  • Bells difficult to ring? This might be a sign that the pulley blocks and/or wheel is loose, poorly aligned, damaged, or could indicate rope wear.
  • Muffled or stuttering bell? This could be a sign that the clapper return springs are loose or broken.
  • Feel a shock when ringing bell? This may be a sign that the bell is loose from its yoke connection and needs urgent service. Immediately stop using the bell, clear the area, and call for repair. The bell is at severe risk of falling.
  • Support beams rotting, rusting out? Check for water damage and wood rot.
  • Bell sound has changed? This may be a sign the bell clapper is loose. The strike point of the bell should be checked annually for the bell’s proper ring tone to stay contant.
  • Bat and bird droppings? Animal droppings corrode bells and hardware. It’s very important to keep bat and birds out of the bell tower. If droppings are present, figure out where the animals are entering and take steps to screen them out.
  • Can’t remember the last time your bells were serviced or evaluated? It’s probably time to schedule an onsite evaluation and service.

Keep your bells ringing

Often times it is not the bell but the hardware associated with it that has deteriorated. A cracked yoke, rusted clapper pin, or rusted bolts that hold the bell to the yoke impair ringing and pose serious safety hazards. Rusty bolts are usually the greatest hazard because the untrained eye does not easily see this condition.

One major place for wear that is especially difficult to assess is the head bolt that supports the weight of the bell. The head bolt passes through the bell head, where it can’t be seen unless the bell is taken down. Should this problem go unnoticed and unresolved, the bell could swing off its yoke while ringing, causing structural damage to the bell and tower, and injury to anyone nearby.

CLAPPER

Bell clappers and strike point should be checked annually for the bell’s proper ring tone to stay constant and to protect the bell from cracking. Clapper wear can change the resonance of the bell.

CLAPPER SPRINGS

Check for proper tension to the force of a swinging clapper. Missing or broken clapper spring(s) could lead to bell cracking when clapper strikes bell. Photo shows bell with a broken clapper spring.

CLAPPER PIN

Ever hear the term “Flying Clapper”? It’s referring to a style of bell ringing. But it’s also what could happen when the clapper pin rusts or the pin is not secured properly, and the pin becomes loose and breaks. Photo shows wire improperly used as a clapper pin. Clapper will fall when rusted wire breaks.

BELL YOKE

Years of wear can cause movement between the yoke and the bell, which can result in a broken bell yoke. It is important to properly assess the yoke’s condition to ensure the bell is safe.

HEAD BOLT(S)

Head bolts support the weight of the bell. The rusted bell bolt above was especially difficult to assess because the bolt passes through the bell head, where it couldn’t be seen unless the bell was taken down. A bell supported by a bolt like this is at risk of falling.

BEARING SHAFT

The bearing shaft/bearings for rotation of the bell allow for a smoother ringing operation. Over time, the rod wears down and becomes oval in shape, indicating that it’s time to replace.

STRIKE PATH

A bell that is loose from the yoke or beam will begin to rotate from the vibration of each strike, forming a “strike path.” This creates diminished or distorted bell tone.

WOODEN TIMBERS

Support beams can rot and bolts can become loose, leaving the bell at risk of falling. Some towers and supporting structures may no longer be stable enough to handle the swing of a bell. These bells can be immobilized and a stationary bell ringer installed.

BAT & BIRD DROPPINGS

Animal droppings corrode bells and hardware. It’s very important to keep bat and birds out of the bell tower. If droppings are present, figure out where the animals are entering and take steps to screen them out.

Watch: Visual bell inspection by Verdin

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BELLS

Clapper Springs [Part 1]

Clapper Springs [Part 2]

Bell Wheel & Timbers [Part 3]

Bolts & Bearings [Part 4]

Verdin restores, upgrades, installs, and services all bells.

CONTACT US FOR ON-SITE BELL EVALUATION

The components of a bell

Verdin will restore and repair your bells to their original condition and resonance. Our craftsmen can expertly determine the best methods to recapture the original beauty, sound, and character of your bells. Each Verdin bell striker and bell-ringing equipment is custom-fit to a customer’s unique arrangement of bells.

Close-up view of headpiece, clapper pin, and clapper spring

Close-up of the key parts of the bell headpiece.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

A diagram identifying the key parts of a bell and its stand. 

The Verdin Outside Strikers are custom designed to ring stationary bells.  Strikers are arranged to strike the correct striking point on the exterior of the bell.

The Verdin Inside Striker is custom designed to ring a bell that is mounted in a stationary position, with the striker housed within the bell to be rung.

The Verdin Vibro-Isolator is designed to prevent unwanted vibrations of cast bronze bells from radiating through the bell beam and (the mechanical noise) then being heard inside the building. The isolators also keep the vibration from adversely affecting the mortar on the tower where the bell beam is mounted.

The Verdin yoke is a highly customized component, designed to permit safe and proper swinging of a cast bell. Yokes are balanced to produce the proper tempo of ring which is customary in America.

Verdin A‑stands are designed to support the weight and associated hardware of the swinging bell. A-stands distribute the weight of the bell over a wide area, rather than concentrating the force of the downward thrust of the swinging bell at one point in the tower.

Bell wheels are custom‑designed for the bell on which they are used. A Verdin bell wheel controls the proper speed and swing of a bell as set up by the American standards of ringing. The steel constructed wheel runs true when installed on a Verdin bell yoke.

The headpiece secures all the internal hardware and the bell to the yoke assembly. The clapper pivots in the headpiece clevis, and the headpiece provides the mounting for the clapper springs.  The headpiece is made from structural steel of the proper size and weight for the particular bell.

The clapper is designed to allow the bell to be struck at the correct spot on the inside of the bell.

The clapper spring is engineered to withstand the action of the clapper. The clapper spring protects the bell from the clapper striking the bell with too much force. It also keeps the clapper from resting against the bell after each strike and dampening the vibration, thus, allowing the bell to ring out crisp and clear. Special pads are fastened to the clapper spring to eliminate a metal to metal contact noise when the clapper strikes the spring.

Pillow Block Bearings allow for easier and smoother swinging motion for the bell. They also significantly reduce vibration and yearly maintenance as compared to old bell assemblies without these bearings.

Pillow block bearings are permanently lubricated and sealed against dirt and extreme temperature ranges and other weather conditions experienced in bell towers. These bearings are fully self-aligning.

The Swinging Bell Ringer is a custom engineered machine with proper horsepower rating for the bell to be swung.  The operation of this ringer is controlled through an automatic clutch mechanism that reverses the motor drive at the precise moment to insure proper bell swinging action. Upon activation of the swinging ringer, the bell is brought to its optimum full swing, and is maintained at that proper swing height until the ringer is turned off by the control equipment.  The swinging tempo of the bell is the natural swing tempo of the bell to be controlled; the swinging ringer provides the precise amount of power required at each swing to maintain optimum striking.

BELL RINGING EQUIPMENT

Each Verdin bell striker is custom-fit to a customer’s unique arrangement of bells. Verdin manufactures several types of strikers to meet the requirements of both stationary and swinging bells.

In places where a structure can’t handle the stress of a swinging bell, or when aesthetics won’t permit swinging bells, Verdin offers stationary bell ringers. The precision hammer allows the bell to ring in a stationary position, and can be used to convert bells in older towers or frames. Verdin’s stationary bell ringers are so precise that most people can’t tell the difference between a stationary bell ringer and an actual swinging bell.

Inside striker

Inside striker pre-mounted inside bell

Outside striker

Outside striker mounted to bell frame above or to timbers below

Verdin’s silent, precision-built swinging bell ringer is a custom engineered system that will ring any bell with the correct swing for maximum richness of tone. With Verdin’s swinging bell ringers, bells can be rung automatically or switch-controlled.

Verdin controllers are the preeminent controllers in the bell industry. Verdin’s digital bell controllers can be used with both swinging and stationary bells, as well as tower clocks. Many of our digital carillons can also operate the ringing of your cast bells and play genuine bell melodies from a comprehensive library.

INSTALLATION AND SERVICE TEAM

A team of experienced, licensed, insured Verdin-certified service technicians are ready to assist you with the installation and maintenance of your Verdin bells, bell ringing equipment, or clocks. Our service technicians are also trained in the diagnosis and repair of bells and bell ringing equipment, electronic carillons, tower clocks, and post clocks.

PLANNED MAINTENANCE FOR BELLS AND CLOCKS

Having your bells and clocks serviced and maintained annually is critical to long-term durability. Our full-service maintenance program ensures that a Verdin-approved technician will inspect your equipment regularly. We provide genuine Verdin parts, discounts on repair parts and new equipment, and priority service appointments.

When was the last time your bells were serviced and checked for safety?

Thousands of churches all over the country have old bells in their towers. While most cast bells last forever, the mechanical parts and supporting equipment becomes worn and fragile. Verdin can help you inspect, service, repair, and restore old bells in disrepair.

CONTACT US FOR ON-SITE BELL EVALUATION

Includes evaluation report and appraisal of your bells

Verdin Favcon

VERDIN STORIES

One church’s journey to restore their bells

HOLY CROSS-IMMACULATA, MOUNT ADAMS, OH

Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams, Ohio, completed the restoration of their three cast bronze church bells that were in urgent need of repair. The 150-year-old bell tower was silenced because the equipment that houses and rings the bells had become dangerously fragile and in need of replacement.

Are your bells in your tower safe? Bell Safety Guide

Are the bells in your tower safe?

Over time, bell hardware becomes worn and fragile, making the ringing of the bells unsafe.

  • How long since you’ve had your bell tower inspected?

  • 10 things that should be checked yearly to keep your bells safe.

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Updating and restoring old bell ringing equipment

Cast bells will often outlive the structures in which they hang, but may become inoperative or unsafe from neglect of the bell-ringing equipment and hardware that supports them. Because bells are priceless heirlooms to their church and community, restoration is one of our most valuable services. Verdin craftsmen can refinish — and when necessary, recast— bells to recapture all their original beauty and resonance. Restoration of bells begins with an evaluation and includes new hardware and ringing equipment where necessary.

Bell restoration at Christ Church, Greenwich, CT

VIEW RESTORATION IMAGES

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