Friday, April 18, 2008

Wind Chimes

April 18, 2008

I love ‘em. But they need constant attention. Or seem to. Either the clapper falls off or the metal tube falls off or the part that wafts in the wind and makes the clapper bang against the tubes falls off or the whole bloody thing falls off the hanger onto the ground.

I have about six or seven outdoor chimes and several indoor. The outdoor ones range from a single bell with a huge clapper, to the gorgeous Woodstock Chimes with precisely tuned tubes.

Yesterday I began the process of fixing two of the latter. The wood is very weathered and I first sanded them down and then put spar varnish on . Really a fun task when you do it without first removing the tubes. They get in the way JUST A BIT. One had fallen off it’s hanger AND lost a tube. The other had lost it’s flapper and banger. Clapper and flapper? I’m sure these things have proper names but I don’t know what they are.

So. I had already bought string that I thought was more or less the same width as that on the chimes. First I tackled the one that had lost it’s flapper and banger. I got a very large needle and eventually managed to get the damn string through the eye. At the top center of the circular wood part (from which hang all the tubes) is a drilled hole. (From this hole dangles the clapper and flapper.) I tried to get the needle down through it. The needle eye was too large and it got stuck. I attempted to force it. The hole was too small. I got a pair of pliers and pulled. And pulled. The needle eye was TOO LARGE and the hole was TOO SMALL! Okay. It really WON’T GO THROUGH. I get it. Now I have to try to push it back out. Swell. I did. It wasn’t easy as I had really jammed it in there good and hard.

I then proceeded to get the battery operated drill in order to make the center hole large enough for the needle eye to pass through. Slapped the battery onto the bottom and began to look for the correct bit. Odd. I THOUGHT we had drill bits for it but I guess not. I only found phillip and flathead heads for screwing. Screw it! Then the battery fell off and knocked over an open jar of paint remover which I had used to clean the varnish off the brush. Aaargh! I knew this entire procedure would take patience. I just didn’t know how much. So then I wiped up all the terpentine.

Back into the garage cubby to get the extension cord and the electric drill. Figured out what size bit I’d probably need and proceeded to drill the hole larger. A wee bit larger. Finally got the needle with the string down through. Now - how to secure it at the top? Contemplated just making a big knot to keep it from going through the hole but opted to tie it around a small nail first. Not terribly pretty but functional. Had kept the old string so I had a template of sorts for the new one as far as length and where to tie the middle knot under the banger (clapper).

Then had to drill through the center of the banger (another round piece) to increase it’s size so I could get the string through IT, tied a big knot under it to keep it in position and tied the clapper on. Voila! That only took about half an hour.

Onto the next one. This was a bit tougher. The whole cording system at the top was different. So once again I drilled a larger hole so I could get the needle through, then added a new hole. But I could NOT get the needle eye through. So instead I managed to poke the string down through, then threaded the needle, pushed it through the tube holes and then poked it up through the other hole at the top. Make sense? Of course not. Ya had to be there. Then I found some old carpet tacks, put them in the holes, wrapped the string around them and hammered them down. Voila! That took about a half an hour.

So. I spent at least an hour and half sanding them, staining them, varnishing them and an hour fixing them. Think they might make it through the summer?

Oh, and PS - Husband told me of course we have drill bits for the battery operated drill. Yup. I just didn’t see ‘em.


Dan said...

Oh my! That sounds like such the ordeal to go through! Glad you got them fixed.

Giulia said...

You're such a doll for commenting all the time. Makes it all worthwhile.

RebJam said...

I love windchimes too but my neighbors i believe would object here. Grr

One thought before the next major windchime repair/intervention--

---Fishing line--

Giulia said...

Your neighbors would OBJECT to WIND CHIIMES???!!! Gees. What kind of neighbors do you have?

Yes, intervention--

EJ said...

I've heard some complaints that neighbors are not so keen on the "noises" made by wind chimes. As a solution, I suggest using wind spinner instead because they are silent but still visually dynamic!

Giulia said...

Wind spinners are great too. But no doubt the neighbors who complain of the sweet sounds of wind chimes would also complain of the sight of gaudy spinning plastic objects. Let alone the sound of a bell around a cow's neck or laundry blowing in the breeze on a line. And that's why they have happy little gated communities with all sorts of rules and regulations. And that's why we don't live in one.