How often should you recondition your bells?
- A church with only one adult bell choir using the bells once per week, keeping them well polished and adjusted, might need a Clean / Polish / Adjust and Voice every 5 years and a Reconditioning every 10 or 15 years.
- A school using the bells hard several periods a day in class with a teacher too busy to maintain the bells sufficiently might need maintenance such as polishing and adjusting every year, a Clean / Polish / Adjust and Voice every 3 years, and a Reconditioning every 6 years.
- The bells at Asbury UMC (where Al Paul used to ring) were used hard by 6 choirs. The advanced choir is hard on them because they ring aggressively. The kids choirs are hard on them because they are not careful. End result, the bells were Adjusted and Voiced every summer, got a C/P / A&V every couple years, and a Reconditioning maybe every 5 years.
Budgeting for handbell maintenance
It is a good idea to set up a sinking fund for handbell repair / maintenance. If you can get your church or school to budget a few hundred dollars per year for instrument maintenance for your handbells (as is often done for pianos and organs and band instruments) then when youʼre confronted by the cost for reconditioning in 5 or 10 years, it will not look so bad if you have already funded it! Obviously, you do not want to set up a sinking fund for bell maintenance that then “disappears” into somebody elseʼs account because you didnʼt use it fast enough.
Ringmaster Services can work with you if you have money and are in a “spend it or lose it situation.” Directors at some churches have confronted us with that situation. We can take advance payment for work to be done in the following year. For your security and peace of mind, we will want to issue a contractual receipt for such an advance payment spelling out what you paid and what we promised.