Ordering and Adjusting Bell Ropes

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This page provides general information on ropes such as ordering and adjusting them. It also lists suppliers.

Ordering Ropes

You will need to tell the manufacturer the following things about each rope that you order:

  1. Overall Length - Length from the very top to the very bottom of the rope with the tail-end untucked
  2. Tail-End Length - Length from the bottom of the sally to the end of the rope with the tail-end untucked
  3. Sally Colours - Up to three colours can be choosen
  4. Weight of Bell - Generally bells over 15cwt have thicker ropes
  5. Polyester Top Ends - Whether you require polyester rope to be used above the sally.

The standard sally will usually be 3 foot long, but shorter sallies can be requested.

Polyester Top Ends

Polyester top ends increase the cost of a rope, but ropes last longer and are not affected by the weather. Click here for further information.

Changing a Rope

This is a simple way to change a rope:

  1. Ensure the bell is down
  2. Put a weight (or someone else's foot) on the tail end of the new rope so that the bottom of the sally on the new rope is at the same height as the bottom of the sally of the old rope.
  3. Tie the top of the new rope to the bottom of the old rope with a reef knot
  4. In the belfry, pull up the old rope dragging the new rope behind it
  5. Untie the ropes taking care not to drop the new rope
  6. Pull up the new rope until you feel it pulling against the weight (or foot) and tie it off on the wheel (*see tip)
  7. Adjust the tail end on the new rope to be the same length as the one on the old rope

(New ropes will stretch so it may be advisable to pull them up an extra couple of inches.)

Adjusting a Rope

With the bell down the rope should be adjusted on the wheel so that the bottom of the sally will be approximately 5'- 8" from the ground when the bell is up. (Ropes on heavier bells will need to be slightly higher.) The tail end should be adjusted so that your average ringers can ring the bell in rounds with 2" to 3" below their hands.

Tying off at wheel - Tip

A tip I was given is not to use knots at the wheel but after making the first loop around the spoke and then making a few (not too many) loops around both spokes, simply pass the end of the rope down and through the first loop which will then trap the end. Any excess rope can be cut off before threading the remaining rope through the loops to finish. (Tony Lees)

Be aware that cutting the rope will leave the ends free to unravel. Just tying string around the end or ‘whipping’ will quickly pull off. (Chris Adams)

Bell Rope Suppliers