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Seamless Bells

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Joined: 10 May 2004
Posts: 1678

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject: Seamless Bells Reply with quote

I was wondering if someone could tell me what is the difference between a "seamless bell"and a "two piece bell" . The "two piece" bell is usually what is on a student horn. But there are a lot of pro horns that advertise a "seamless bell" , King, Conn ,Monette, Yamaha, to name a few. Also what is a
plasma welded bell ? Maybe someone could enlighten me .
I'm really curious to know what different results you would get with a seamless bell as opposed to a hand hammered one piece bell.
Thanks in advance.
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Dale Proctor
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Joined: 26 May 2005
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Location: Heart of Dixie

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a post by Brett Getzen from another thread that covers the different types of bell construction.

Getzen wrote:
OK, there is a lot to cover here and I am a little pressed for time, but here goes.

1) Our copper cornet bells are indeed electro formed bells purchased from Anderson plating..... just like a good majority of copper bells used in the industry.

2) We do not use any hydro forming or explosion forming (never heard of that one) in our bell making process. Our one piece bells are formed by hand from a sheet using hands and hammers. If you want to see what hydro forming looks like, look for the episode of Made In America when they visited Bach. That's how they form their trumpet bells.

3) Getting into the bell making process is tough to do here. Instead, here is a summary of an article on bell construction I have been working on for a future Getzen Gazette article. It's brief, but it gets the point across.

Brett Getzen

Seamless, One Piece Bells (trumpets, cornets, field trumpets)
Construction: This is the simplest and least expensive of all four designs. Seamless, one piece bells are constructed from a single piece of brass tubing. This means that the bell has, as the name implies, no seams.

These bells begin their journey with us as a bell blank. That is, they are in the basic shape of a trumpet bell, but are not yet the proper size. It isnít until the blanks are hand spun on the correct that they become a model specific bell.

Seamless, Plated Bells (trumpets, cornets)
Construction: Another simple design is that of seamless, plated bells. These bells are formed by electroplating a thick layer of metal onto a steel mandrel. When the desired thickness is reached, the blank is broken free, leaving you with a basic bell shape.

Just like the seamless, one piece bells, these bells start here as a blank. Using the same techniques mentioned above, the blank is hand spun on a specific mandrel depending on instrument it is intended for.

Two Piece Bells (trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, trombones)
Construction: This is the most common of the four designs. Two piece bells are made by joining a bell stem and flare together. Generally, they fall in the middle in regards to cost and performance.

Two piece bells start as brass tubing and sheet. The bell stem is formed in one of two ways. A sheet stem is constructed by hand shaping a brass sheet into a tapered cylinder and brazing the seam together. A tube stem is constructed by pushing a piece of brass tubing on a tapered mandrel through a pliable die. From here, both stems are hand spun to size. The flare is made on a lathe using a scissor arm tool to form a brass circle into shape over a mandrel. The two pieces are then brazed together and the bell is hand spun to its final size with special attention paid to the flare/stem seam.

One Piece, Hand Hammered Bells (trumpets, cornets, field trumpets)
Construction: By far the most advanced of all four designs. One piece, hand hammered bells are very costly and labor intensive. Requiring almost ten times the man hours as their two piece counterparts.

One piece, hand hammered bells are formed from a single sheet of brass. First a mushroom shaped pattern is cut from sheet brass. The pattern is hand formed into a rough, funnel shape by bringing both sides of the seam together. This seam is then brazed and rolled smooth. From here, the bell enters a back and forth pattern of hand hammering (to shape and temper the bell) and annealing (to alleviate work hardening of the brass) until a basic bell shape is achieved. This very crude bell is then hand spun on a special lathe, forming the flare. From here on, the bell is treated similarly to a two piece bell as itís hand spun to a model specific size and the fabrication is completed.

Olde Towne Brass

Brass Band of Huntsville

"Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away ." - Sir Thomas Beecham
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you , Dale.
Very imformative.
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