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Making a ships bell from brass rod and wire

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I needed a bell for a model I am restoring and I did not want to see what the internet had, nor wait for it to arrive if it even existed in the first place.

3mm was the thickest solid rod my local art supply store had, I was hoping for something thicker that I could then carve down to a bell shape. 

Instead I used a ring of brass wire set into a grove cut into the rod stock to represent the flared out shape of the bottom of the bell.

I used the high speed cut off wheel for most of this. I have a love/hate relationship with these disks. On the one hand they cut through anything. On the other hand they are so fragile they always break apart. I have used hundreds of them and maybe only three of those actually wore down to a tiny doughnut. The rest broke being handled or flew apart while under load. I have never been cut by flying pieces but then again I ALWAYS use eye protection when using a cut off wheel.

I have no lathe so this is all by hand and eye. I cut a groove around the rod and I round off the end of the rod to resemble the curved top of the bell. I wrap thickish brass wire down into the groove I cut, aiming for exactly the right length so the wire forms a ring. Then I hammer this down with a tack hammer, trying to mash the wire into the groove while smoothing the juncture with the rod.

Then I use the cut off wheel some more, this time as a shaping tool, smoothing the transition from the wire to the rod.

Then I part off the "bell" and as I was doing this I realized I could leave a bit of the "stalk" intact to look like a clapper.

I drilled a hole in the top of the bell and put in a fine brass wire eye, secured with super glue. I did not want to solder anything as I was going to use the brass in its natural finish.









Edited by JerseyCity Frankie




 Niagara USS Constitution 


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A neat solution indeed.



Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8;      Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8;       Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500 ;   Maria, 1:2  Now just a memory    

Future model Gill Smith Catboat Pauline 1:8

Finished projects  A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100  


Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.

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