ZEN AND THE ART OF BELFRY MAINTENANCE

Inspiration for Steeple Keepers - 2

SLIDERS and FRICTION

It is not often realised that the slider, moving partly across it's track at each stroke - and further when the bell is being hunted 'up' to when being hunted 'down' - can offer a fair amount of friction, resulting in some effort required in normal ringing. This may be exacerbated in situations where oil from plain bearings leaks down; far from lubricating the sliding action - it's more likely to gather dust and dirt, and as a consequence become very sticky. Even where there is no oil, various things may contribute to friction - accumulated dust, mis-aligned runners due to creep or other adjustments, grease or oil from previous maintenance, tightening of pivot bearing, etc. etc.

So, when the opportunity arises to attend to this item, I suggest a session devoted to all sliders and their 'running boards' - the track on which they move.

  1. Clean off any dust or dirt from the entire length of the run. Any oil or grease should be removed with a degreaser - WD40, paraffin, etc., but wipe off and DRY afterwards.
  2. Ensure free run throughout, including pivot. Sandpaper any rough spots, and blow clean.
  3. Rub on a little DRY lubricant - graphite dust, stove black, or even black boot polish! (just on the track, wipe with rag after applying). This reduces friction still further and ensures that any dust will blow or push away.
  4. While you are at it, check tightness of nuts on the stay, and look around the rest of the slider assembly for anything loose.
  5. Clean up and put things away!

Hastings Stays: the above notes of course apply to the common type of stay design - some designs such as the 'Hastings' design (widely used by Taylors a hundred years ago), and other 'metal to metal' locations, would also benefit from careful attention to ensure cleanliness and freedom of movement. These ARE likely to have a small film of grease or oil on them, which could do with cleaning occasionally. The 'dingler' or moving finger should also be checked for freedom, and tightness of it's bearing bolt. If any repairs have been carried out on this type of stay it is essential that it's operation is observed, to ensure that the stay is the correct length and that the dingler is not strained on one side or the other when setting the bell. Also check tightness of securing bolts. Otherwise, they have proved to be a durable design, and worth keeping in good order, even though the replacement of stays is a little more complicated!

The above notes however, are about ensuring freedom of movement, and hence to minimise corrective effort required by the ringer.

DWS

Document last modified 9-MAR-2014