It is not uncommon for me to be given a box of bits with a request to make a usable instrument.
As can be seen, this bell tree is on its last legs, or rather stumbling around drunk, spewing its bells and generally falling apart. This is a nice job to ease myself back into work after the new year.
Having removed all the bells I can repair the frame. It’s the same old story; percussion instruments are designed and made by people who do not understand basic principles of applied forces, like leverage or motion. As the top has bent in, the reinforcing corner blocks have acted as fulcrums to help pull the instrument apart. This is compounded by the manufacturing technique which has used glue and nails. As can be seen the back is being pulled off the nails (driven up through the base), which means that nails were the wrong choice, because they just don’t work in that direction.
So I pull everything apart, remove all the nails, ready to rebuild it using glue and screws, because screws pull things together providing a mechanical connection as opposed to pinning in place, which is what nails are for. The second reason for screws is that they provide a clamping force which means that the glue will work better (I also probably use better quality glue).
Whilst the glue is drying on the frame, the next jobs can be completed. First on the list is to straighten the rod.
Next I polished the bells so that they look the part.
There is only one sleeve in the box of bits, so I had to make another which will hold the bells in place at the top.
Finally I can reassemble, and finish the job.