Restringing a Stannard Ursa Major Wind Chime

This is a fairly-heavy set of six tubular chimes. The tubes are each suspended by a cord that ties to a pin inside the tube, but the pin is recessed a few inches from its top end. The problem: the original cord gets worn by contact with the top rim of the tube in high wind situations that happen over the years. This wearing-out of the cord means you need to replace it after some years. While the task seems daunting at first, it is actually fairly simple. I provide here my experience learning how with my own set because I could find no other guides for this pin-based cord tying! I can tell you that some people actually discard their windchimes when the first tube "falls"; but you can easily restring these chimes to provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Here is how...

  1. Observe your chimes carefully. Use a Sharpie marker to record the positions of the chimes on the octagonal frame. Write near each tying-point on the frame: the length of its chime tube and the length of string drop needed between the frame and the top rim of each chime tube. It helps to also record these data on the tubes themselves with the Sharpie. Record the positions of the clapper and wing parts along the clapper cord on paper. My data were:
    Clockwise Position:#1#2#3#4#5#6
    Tube Length:274433.530.53935.5
    String Drop:9.52.57.58.54.56
    Length Rank:163254

    The sail on mine was below the longest chime by a few inches. The strike position for the clapper was centered on the tubes, and the String Drop amount for each tube assured that strike position. According to http://home.fuse.net/engineering/Chimes.htm, the ideal strike zone should be near the top or the bottom and describes the center strike as a "dead zone." Hmm. So I lowered my clapper to a point closer to the bottom of the shortest chime in step 5 below. Noting the "chipping" of the surfaces of each tube where the two adjacent tubes hit it, having the clapper strike near the bottom should help reduce that chipping during high-wind events.

    Also, according to http://home.fuse.net/engineering/Chimes.htm, the clockwise sequence should be based on length rank 1 (shortest) to 6 (longest): 1-4-2-5-3-6. This was NOT the location sequence in my Stannard Chime (see above); mine was (going the other way around) 1-4-5-2-3-6. I'm not sure why the 2 and 5 were swapped in position by Stannard; perhaps it was some aesthetic reason as was probably chosen as well for the center strike position.

  2. Disassemble the old cord. Use a screwdriver tip to tilt the knot on the pivot pin inside each chime tube to expose the single-thickness of cord wrapping under the pin. Use an Exacto knife (or equivalent) to slide its flat side along the pin (sharp edge toward the cord) to cut through the cord loop. The tube is now free.

    Pull the cut end of each cord downward from the octagonal frame to expose its enclosed knot. Cut the knot from the cord and pull the cord back up through the frame. The octagonal frame should now be free.

    Unloop the three cords from the suspension ring, noting how the loop was made. Cut the clapper cord from the ring. The suspension ring is now free.

    Pull the knots from the wooden parts of the clapper system; the knots are in a drilled chamber on the side OPPOSITE the side of the part with a metal fitting. Cut the line between the knot and its wood part, and pull the cut end through the metal fitting. Prior to reassembly, you may need to drill slightly larger holes in the metal part and perhaps also the wood parts if your new cord is more robust than the chime's original cord. The clapper parts are now free.

  3. Tie a new cord to each chime tube. Heat treat (melt) the cut end from a spool of Kraft Braided Mason's Line 170-pound test. A lit candle works nicely for this. I used BC344 Green Heavy Duty UV-resistant Nylon (www.krafttool.com). Fold back four inches of cord and crease the bend. Insert the bend down one side of the tube until the fold-back opens to the other side of the pivot pin. Gently lift the line so the foldback comes near the end of the chime tube and the crease of the bend is engaged around the pivot pin. You can now insert a finger down the chime tube and slide the free-end of the foldback out of the chime tube. Now tie a uni-slip-knot www.netknots.com/rope_knots/slip-knot/, leaving just a very short 1/2 inch tail when the knot it pulled tight. Next, pull the long line leading back to the spool so that the slip-knot slides to the pivot pin and locks onto it at the center of the pivot pin. You can use a screwdriver to center the knot on the pin. Measure the length of line emerging from the top of the tube and cut it to be 1.5 inches more than the required drop between the octagonal frame and this particular tube. The 1.5 inches is an allowance for the sheet-bend knot you will tie to attach it to the octagonal frame. Heat melt the cut end of the cord, for both the length attached to the chime tube, and the end remaining on the spool. Repeat for all the tubes.

  4. Attach the tubes to the octagonal frame. Cut and heat-melt both ends of three pieces of equal length (21 inches each) cord. Thread each piece down through the small hole in the top of the octagonal frame for one hanging position, and the other end down through the small hole for the hanging positon directly across from it.

    Tie a sheet bend knot www.netknots.com/rope_knots/sheet-bend/ to join the cord at each hanging position to the cord of its corresponding chime tube. Be sure your sheet-bend is secure: ensure that the free ends are on the same side of the knot. Pull the knot tight with very short ends (1/2 inch). Pull the knot up into the large hole in the bottom of the octagonal frame to hide the knot inside. I recommend that you start with the shortest chime tube (with the longest distance from the frame) first and work your way up to the longest chime tube (with the shortest distance from the frame). You also want to suspend the chime tubes in pairs: those joined by the 21-inch cord in positions opposite from each other on the octagonal frame. If desired, you can remove the Sharpie marker information from the tubes and octagonal frame with some alcohol.

  5. Attach the cord for the clapper to the suspension ring, again using a uni-slip-knot. Thread the clapper cord through the clapper parts and tie an overhand or surgeon's knot in the cord below the part so that it will be held in position at the correct distance from the suspension ring (or octagonal frame); allow 1.5 inches for the knot at the suspension ring. Now grasp the three cords traversing the octagonal frame in their combined centers. Push this grasp location through the suspension ring to form a loop on the other side. Open this loop and pass the suspension ring through the loop. The loop should match what you originally observed, and will obscure the knot for the clapper cord.

  6. Hang the suspension ring on a hook in a basement joist, a tree branch, or the screw-eye in the house eaves or soffits where it will hang. Check that all the sheet-bend knots are fully pulled into their chambers in the octagonal frame. Adjust the lines going between the chimes on opposite sides of the frame through the loop-knot on the suspension ring to make the suspension equal in tension on both sides and centered with respect to the suspension ring.

  7. Celebrate and Enjoy your chimes for another several years!

ℛℴ𝓈𝓈