I have always wanted to make a bell rope, but in my mind the biggest setback was not having a bell to hang the rope from. For many months, leading to years, I had been searching for the ideal ships bell. The trouble was that the bigger the bell the greater the cost. Then if the bell had a name on it, it would be well out of my budget.
However every so often I would check eBay to see what was on offer. Then one-day I got lucky! Somebody had posted an very sad looking old bell on-line, with a buy it now price. So I leapt at the chance and purchased the bell. It had a rather rough exterior with a George V marking, it also still had the original clacker.
Even though I had the bell, I still could not make a rope for it till I had cleaned it up! So two good weekends were spent getting it polished to a high shine.
Making the Bell Rope
My first issue was which rope to use when making the bell rope? I decided that I would use polished hemp that I had previously bought from Des Pawson.
The first thing I did was to find a piece of rope that would fit snugly around a stainless steel rope thimble that I already had. I then began to cover it with a very fine polished hemp that I had. This particular section was covered with Cockscombing.
After I had covered the rope I then let the two ends of the rope hang down and tied them off at the base of the thimble with a constrictor knot.
I then got a thin wooden dowel and ran it between the two lengths of rope, so as to ensure that the finished bell rope would be true and stiff.
Anyway what I did was lay multiple strand of cord along the length of my bell rope till I had achieved the overall desired thickness. I then added an additional layer at the end where the bell rope would be most handled. The picture here does not show the additional layer.
Now that I had the guts of my bell rope in place, it was time to make it look pretty. This is where my polished hemp came into play. I evenly placed 12 strands around the bell rope, I then began to Crown Sennit along the length of the core.
Now that I had the basic bell rope made, I just needed to make it look nautical and something that also looked good enough from my bell. I then decorated the bell rope with some Turks Head Knots and Globe Knots, but also left a clear area so that the Crown Sennit would show.
OK so now that I have a polished ships bell and a bell rope, why are they not married? Well, I have now created another problem, due to the size and weight of the bell, I am still searching for a good place to hang it. Not only that I think the bell needs a summer and winter HQ. So I am now thinking about where to hang it outside for the summer and then where indoors for the winter. The trouble is that I also have to deal with C-in-C NagHome (wife).
Once I have done this I will post more photos here.
To view the pictures in full size, click on them.
Bell & Bell Rope Marriage
At long last I have had my beam made up and also now with a bit of sunshine, I have now managed to hang the bell outside with the bell rope.
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