Here’s a simple and inexpensive way to make music in the great outdoors in your home, but I’ll warn you, you’ll need a piece of paper and a pencil to take directions. It’s very specific. Let me show you how I made these. In order to make these wind chimes, you’re going to have to have two pieces of 3/4″ electrical conduit.
They come in 10-foot sections and the first piece we’re going to cut is going to be 20 1/2″ long. We clamp it into our vise and measure it off and then using a pipe cutter we’re going to cut that piece off of there. You could use a hacksaw, but I find that this works a lot better, quite a bit faster.
Each time you go around, tighten it a little bit and that cutter blade goes a little bit deeper into the conduit, and this cutter blade, not very expensive. You can get it at your hardware store, too. In fact, you’re going to like these chimes so much, like me, you’ll probably make a whole lot of these. Comes right off. You’ll find that the cut surface may have some sharp edges on it.
You may want to take a round file and get inside there and file that off. Again, it’s important to cut the lengths exactly correctly to get the correct tone. It’s also important to hang them in this specific order so that the top of the chimes is horizontal and doesn’t hang crooked. Hang them in this order, 20 1/2″, 12 5/8″, 15 1/2″, 12 3/8″, 18″, 14 1/4″, 16 3/4″, and 11″.
Our next step is to drill a hole about 1/8″ in diameter, about a 1/4″ from the end of each pipe. The way we do that is to take a punch, set it on the pipe, about a 1/4″ from the end, and tap it with a hammer. We’ve got a little dimple there. Then place that in a vise and get our drill, set it in the dimple and drill through it. Once we got the conduit all cut and assembled in the right order, and the holes drilled in the end, we’re going to go to the wooden parts of our chimes.
I’ve got a piece of redwood lumber here, though any kind you want is fine. Draw two circles on it, one that’s 5 3/4″ in diameter and with an inner circle that’s 4 1/2″ in diameter. On that inner circle I’ve made marks at certain intervals, 3/4″, then 1″, then 3/4″, then 1″. Don’t measure on the curve. Just straight across is fine. We’re going to drill holes at those marks, and those are the holes that we’ll use to hang our chimes from.
The other one we need is for the clapper, the part that hits the chimes and makes the sound. For that we need a circle 3 1/4″ in diameter. But now, let’s cut them out. Once we’ve got the circles cut out, the next step is to drill those holes at those 1″, 3/4″ intervals.
The interval is important because it’s through these holes that you’re going to be hanging your chimes. When I do drilling like this I always put it over a scrap piece of wood so if my drill goes through too hard I don’t damage my worktable. Once we’ve got the holes drilled it’s up to you to how well you finish this.
I like to sand wood until it’s practically smooth and satiny. I’ve already done a couple of them. These look pretty nice. Nice rounded edges, good smooth wood. It’s pretty. How will you finish it? Whether you paint it, whether you stain it, whatever you do, that’s up to you. Redwood, Cherry, any kind of wood will weather naturally to a gray shade.
The next step is to put a hook through the top. You could just use string or rope and put a knot on the bottom and a knot on the top. I have a more decorative hook, and I’ve drilled a hole through the bottom of the hook to hang the clapper from.
This fits through here, put on the washer, put on the nut, tighten it down. The next step is to hang the chimes. Remember, as you hang the chimes you’re going to hang using string and you’re going to hang through the holes that are 1″ apart and leave a 3/4″ space. Then hang your chime from the holes that are 1″ apart and leave a 3/4″ space. What’s important when you’re hanging your chimes is that you use the holes that are 1″ apart.
I prefer to use nylon string for this. It’s easy to work with. Thread it through the holes and thread it into the chime. I like to tie it so that the knot winds up inside my conduit. I can hide both raw ends of the string.
I draw it up tight and tie the ends together just about as tight as I can get them using a square knot, left over right, right over left. Draw it tight and then tuck the ends of the string down inside the chime. With the conduit hung and the clapper suspended from the middle of the hook all we’ve done is attach a plastic wind catcher to the bottom of the clapper.
I made it out of plastic. You can make yours out of Lucite or Plexiglas or even a lightweight piece of wood. Anything that’ll catch the wind and move when the wind blows. Chimes like this could cost $50 or $60 in the store. But I’ve done it for under $10, from electrical conduit from the hardware store. Music in the great outdoors. I love it!
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