Stayless trebles

Chris Povey cmpovey at 3...
Thu May 13 23:12:09 BST 2004

Thanks to Richard (Offen) and Jim (Phillips) for the reasons for using deal/pine as stays for small bells, ie it is cheaper: even 'a good deal cheaper'. 

But is it? The basic material will be cheaper, although parana pine won't be much cheaper than ash. Matthew (Higby) tells us that the ash stays at Warden Hill didn't break easily, so the tower Captain asked for pine ones thatdid (!). I would guess that ash lasts at least twice as long as softwood (deal/pine/parana pine), because it's known to be the best for flexibility and shock absorption (otherwise, why do we use it?).

I purchased some ash recently at £20/cubic foot. A cubic foot equates to about 14nr 2"x2"x2'-6" lengths, which makes each length £1.40. If deal/pine were half that amount, then each length would be 70p. That's saved 70p. Smaller lengths will save less. I don't mind making stays, but I'm not looking to make stays that are supposed to break more frequently. Even a small Warden Hill stay is going to take at least an hour to remove the broken bit, make a new one and then fit that. Unless you are retired and time isn't money, there has to be some sort of cost on time. Making two stays instead of one therefore saves nothing in materials and costs at least (at the very least) a fiver extra. Sorry, I can't see the logic that it saves costs.

I quite liked the Warden Hill bells with their stays and sliders. I thoughtthey handled very well. I happily rang the treble (24lb) double-handed. The stays/sliders at least give the impression they are a normal ring. 

Jim mentioned 'sports' ash (apparently it's used for hockey sticks and the like). I hadn't heard of this until recently, when a bellhanger/carpenter/ringer of some note told me about it. He said exactly the same as Jim. I agree with Jim, too, about using semi-green ash in preference to well-seasonedash (even air dried). I've not had any semi-green stays move. Yes, even air-dried ash can get too dry. I've seen a new stay crack after just a very small tap. When you've just spent three hours making and fitting it (a Hastings), you get a bit annoyed. 

Chris Povey

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