Maushart

SEBAS

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Hello everybody.

I want to forge a bell ( about 18 to 20 cm big). I want to Use it for cattle. I want to make the sound last longer when it strikes. Do i have to harden it more or do i need more tension on the metall? Or do i need to do something else to make it sound longer?

Regards and thanks in advance

Sebas

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Most bells that have a long sustain are cast. If you're talking about a plain cowbell they are made from folded sheet and just kinda make a clunk noise like hitting a tin can. 

Bell making is fairly specialized. You may just have to experiment.I'd try thicker stock first.  

If you're trying to make a bell to call them to the barn you could probably have better luck with a triangle.

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Bell or a device to generate a sound they will come to recognize as "dinner is served"?

At what distance does it need to be heard?  This is where your location is important as terrain and weather conditions make a difference.

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I've made a few triangle dinner bells and have found they seem to ring better when using a hardenable steel and hardening them. I haven't used much of a higher carbon steel than around 60pts. 

You could also make a large bell/gong out of an old air gas cylinder tank. 

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The bells look like below. And i exactly dont want them to sound like cans, so that would be my question. I know that i can experiment with the shape, but i was wondering, whether i can do something as well with treating the metal in some specific way. And those bells are made fot the cows to wear them and to be heard.

Regards 

image.jpg

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We had one of those when I was a kid.  My dad brought it back with him from Switzerland.  Mom used it to call us to lunch and dinner rather than the cows.  My recollection is that it was fairly loud and did ring rather than "clunk" but it did not have a long sustain.  I'd say with normal to slightly elevated ambient noise levels and relatively flat terrain you can easily hear it a half mile away and probably further if it's being shaken vigorously.

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Keep in mind that the purpose of bells on cattle is twofold: so that the cowherd can keep tabs on them, but more importantly because it makes the herd stick together.  As such, they're not really designed to have sounds that carry huge distances, like a church bell.

In sheep herding, it was common for a bell to be put on a wether (a castrated male sheep) so that the rest of the herd would follow the sound; this is where we get the expression "bellwether".

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The bells I use for falconry are definitely hardened and for their size ring very loud, they are made by Dave Noble. Bells will crack after being worn by a hawk for a season or two from their continued work hardening. I have made small bells for my birds, but they where never as loud as the Noble bells. I would put them on my dogs collars for a few weeks to work harden the brass, and that would always help with their tone. Keep in mind when making the clacker in a bell it should be faceted not round. This makes it tinkle more, although it may not be an issue with a square bell.

For small table bells made of steel I usually harden them. But even these ring better the more they are rung. 

The thickness of the metal is also important thicker bells like I have made usually have a duller sound or lower pitch.

How they are attached to the cow will also make a difference, if the bell is resting against the animal it will deaden the ring. Like grabbing a cymbal after it is struck.

Not sure but hope these ramblings help,

W

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A cow bell isn't going to have a long sustain as it's touching the cow which will damp the resonance. 

Typical cow bells as I recall are folded and not cupped. Being folded will damp resonace as the sound waves have to turn sharp corners and there are different lengths of metal on the other sides. This effect is why large bridges always have a skew, each girder is a different length so a resonant wave can't form. See Tacoma Narrows or Galloping Gerty bridge collapse for what happens when a resonant wave is in a self reinforcing cycle. 

If you want any sustain the bell needs to be a cup shape, round is best. Flared or tulip shape is easier to tune for tone.

If you wish to forge bells I'd suggest you look into sinking and raising bronze. However if you wanted to learn metal spinning and can get a friend to hold torch for you spun bronze makes excellent bells. Dad cranked out hundreds if not thouands. I used to turn an ugly gray blueish green from polishing the things, 100 grt emery cloth and diesel oil to remove tool marks.  Oh, I held torch too, bronze was trickier than jet/rocket alloys.

When we were done they went to the heat treater then to the tuner. Each was individually tuned but sounded great. Dad had a couple as souverniers, I wonder if my sister still has them. hmmmm.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Typical cowbells in the United States of America are folded. Elsewhere in the world they are not.  Some of the ones I remember from Switzerland were cast.

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The one my Dad brought back from Switzerland in the 50's was cast brass and pretty ornate. It also had more of a standard flared lip bell shape the rounded ones like in the post above. We actually have at least one person on here that works(ed) at a bell foundry in England. 

As mentioned before, compressed gas cylinders make excellent gongs, and have good sustain. I have a large weld on pipe cap that is around 3/8" thick and 14" in diameter set on a post that has a nice ring to it. Some others that I found with good rings are automatic transmission clutch housings and aluminum car wheels.

image.thumb.png.5c4de280319c9ed79367e90a6b2bf4b1.png

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The book "Foxfire 5" has instructions for making cowbells on pages 175-180. They are the box type cowbells not Alpine cowbells like pictured above but still may have some useful info.

Pnut

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