Friday, June 3, 2016

Rebuilding Windchimes

One of the most disappointing issues with the windchimes I have purchased over the years is they wear out. I realize that some brands are better than others – but eventually the darn things will wear out. The most common failure is the string/cord holding the tubes. The next most common failure is the head/striker, or windcatcher – usually due to the rotting of the wood. 

I have tried to repair the cord failure using fishing line. This didn't work to well. The single strand line was too stiff. It also tangled easily and was not easy to untangle. But I had it around and it seemed like a logical choice. 

Recently I had one of the larger chimes come apart. It was a cord issue. I googled "windchime repair" and discovered that paracord is the string/cord of choice for mounting the chimes. I purchased some 1/16" cord off the internet. You can also find it at Hobby Lobby in the beading section. The "head" was also rotten. I wanted to replace it with something more durable. I decided to try a melamine plate from Big Lots. It is about 8.5" inches in diameter. I created a spacing/drilling template in Draftsight. It is shown below. 


There are 6 tubes. The holes for stringing the tubes are near the edge. The 6 inner holes are for the strings to hang the chimes. The center hole is for the striker/windcatcher string. 

I printed out the template full size and taped it onto the plastic plate. The plate is not flat so the template does not lay down perfectly but it is close enough. I drilled the holes with a bit slightly larger than 1/16". The center of the plate was thinner than the rest and I cracked the plate while drilling. I had some stainless steel 2" diameter washers which I epoxied to each side to strengthen. 

I removed the sharp edges from the holes using a pocket knife blade. 

I used one long piece of cord threaded through the six holes and around a metal ring for the hanger. 

 I used one long piece of cord to thread through all the tubes. I threaded the tubes at a table, sitting down.  I wasn't too concerned about the position of the tubes in relation to each other. Since the holes in the tubes were not in the same position on each tube you have to adjust the length of cord as you go. Also, each tube had two eyelets  to string the cord through. I removed the eyelets. I found it easier to string this way. I used toothpicks as needles to help string up the tubes. It actually was easier than I thought it was going to be. 

I could not find a solid disk of plastic the right weight and size for the striker. For now, I reverted to a wooden disk I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I also picked up a 5x7x1/4 piece of wood for the wind catcher. I painted these a bright red and used a spray on outdoor varnish. I hope to replace with something more substantial and weatherproof at a later date. I used the same paracord to string up the striker/windcatcher.   

The paracord is nylon. I used a knife to cut. All ends were melted to keep from fraying (after assembly).

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