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Fixing cracked bell

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  • Fixing cracked bell

    My dad brought me an old bell he wants me to try and fix. The bottom of the bell is about 14=16" across. It has a crack that goes about 4-5" up the side of it. The bell's wall thickness varies, but seems to be around 1/4". There is one spot where it gets a little thicker and then goes back down again.

    What would be the best method? Obviously it is cast. I am thinking it will need to be preheated, and cooled slow? I know I will need to find the end of the crack and drill it.

    I await the wisdom of the experts!
    "When life gets tough and it looks like the gators are going to get you, step back, take a deep breath, and start killing them one at a time, usually the closest one first."
    -- PAUL HOWE --

  • #2
    Find out what kind of metal it is first.


    • #3
      We hashed out a repair on a bell on Practical Machinist. There was a zillion suggestions. If it was me i would pass on it. You could be chasing a crack for a long time. Esp if you get it fixed and someone beats on it and it cracks again...Bob
      Bob Wright

      Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.


      • #4
        Is the bell to be used or a static display?
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        • #5
          Guys he said it is his Dad's whom wishes he TRY and fix it.
          I would more than likely bevel out each side,(no drilling for me) run some nickle in it a short distance at a time to let it cool, and peen on it before moving a bit further and doing the same. I would assume a bell has to be some pretty good stuff.
          If it breaks...well you TRIED!

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          • #6
            It is a pretty old bell that belonged to my grandparents. It would not be used much, but they would like to use it occasionally. I am not sure how old it is, but It was old when I remember first seeing it at my grandparents about 30 years ago.

            I will try and get a couple pictures of it tomorrow. I am thinking it is cast iron. It is rusty.
            "When life gets tough and it looks like the gators are going to get you, step back, take a deep breath, and start killing them one at a time, usually the closest one first."
            -- PAUL HOWE --


            • #7
              Q: Braze it?

              I'm a rank amateur wannabee hobbiest, so please excuse if this is real low brow. I've read that cast can be touchy welding but I think I recall it brazes fairly well. Although maybe there's a problem cleaning the inside of the crack to get good adhesion? Chemical clean maybe?



              • #8

                Best of luck.
                It won't be easy.
                I admire your guts, as I personally would not try as I would make things worse.

                As a bit of humor, you are in good company.
                There is a building not far from me (in Philadelphia) where there is a bell in need of repair as it is also cracked.

                However some politician decided it is historical so there was no need for repair.

                Just kidding.....................!

                Sorry, I do not mean to hijack your thread, I just wonder if today's technology might make a difference.

                If you had a duplicate of this bell and could experiment, what would be your procedure?
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                Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !


                • #9
                  Originally posted by walker View Post
                  Find out what kind of metal it is first.
                  Most old iron bells are cast steel alloy, a very hard metal. Grind the crack all the way through. Heat the bell up with a wood fire under it to probably 400 degrees. Pack sand inside the bell to keep out leakage from the running welded metal Fill up the gap you have ground with weld metal. Cover the whole thing with insulation and let it cool down on its own. After the cooling is done , you can test the bell with a hammer but not real sharply. If it sounds good, turn the bell on its yoke to where the clapper will not strike the weld area and give it a swing test and ring it normal. If it rings awhile without cracking again, you have done it successfully.