Vin's Bells

Vin's Bells

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Vin's  Bells

Preparing the false bell.
Preparing the false bell.

About me and the process

Hi, I am an amateur bell maker, I make my pattern sweeps, loam moulds, wax graphics and do my own foundry casting of bells using bell metal that I alloy myself consisting of 20% tin 80% copper. I mix the alloy myself as I know of none in Australia that would supply bell metal and even if there was it would make it even more expensive.

I like to pour bell metal at around 1150c. I use a thermometer, however through experience one can get a very good idea of when the metal is ready to pour. As an individual perusing a hobby like this can get rather expensive so it is imperative to keep ones cost down.



  Once the sweep is made I begin to build up the mix of river loam, fire clay, horse hair and horse manure, this will take about five layers to achieve the inner bell core. Once the core is air dry, normally four to six days, I then coat the core with my secret graphite mix. Then the false bell is formed using the sweep with the inner core shape removed. I use desert sand with just enough clay added to help it bind a little. Once the basic false bell is formed it is then waxed, then the friezes and decals are fixed in place. When all the wax work is complete on the false bell it is then coated with KFC (Secret mix) clay followed by loam until the outer mould is complete.  

  The mould at this point is set aside for up to 10 days to air dry. After it has air dried it is placed in a wood fire to remove the wax and finish off the drying process. When cooled you can now separate the outer mould. The false bell is removed and the outer mould is put back over the core and tied down on a board and then buried in the ground ready for pouring.   

Below are two videos one burning the wax from the mould and another doing a pour! 

Vin Dowd