Changing a Rope
by Derek Beaufoy
Changing a rope is best done by two people – one in the Ringing Room and one up in the bells.
FIRST MAKE SURE THAT ALL THE BELLS ARE DOWN
You might think that the next thing to do is to take off the old rope. However, that would be a big mistake, as the old rope can act as a guide to get the new rope through all the pulleys and rope guides.
- The person downstairs needs to unpack the new rope and lay is out clear of any obstructions.
- Tape the top end of the new rope to the bottom of the tail end of the old rope.
- The man at the top end now pulls the rope up through the hole in the floor and when the new rope appears he untapes it and secures it to something to stop it falling back down again.
- Now he can remove the old rope from the spokes of the wheel, and put it out of the way.
- He then threads the new rope through the hole in the wheel (garter hole) and shouts to the person downstairs that he is now going to pull the rope up into position.
- The man downstairs watches the rope disappearing through the ceiling, and when the bottom of the sally reaches the level of his nose he holds it tight and refuses to let it go any further.
- The man upstairs can if he likes put a small piece of insulation tape around the rope level with the garter hole. He can then keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t move while he is tying the rope on.
- The rope goes onto the two vertical spokes of the wheel. First, take one turn around the spoke furthest from the garter hole. Next wind the rope round and round the two vertical spokes until there is a yard left. You now wind this spare rope round and round the rope that you’ve just put round the spokes, starting at the end nearest the garter hole and pull it fairly tight to take up any slack. The very end of the rope has to be pushed down through the top of the coil and tucked under that very first turn around the spokes. This traps the rope so that it can’t come undone.
- The man upstairs can now coil up the old rope and go downstairs.
- If this is a new rope or one from another tower, you will have to adjust the tail end.
- Pull up the bell and see how the rope is for length.
- Tail ends are manufactured so that they will not unravel, and they should NEVER be cut. Use a Marlin Spike to open up the strands of the rope. Be careful not to allow any twists to get into the rope that you are opening up and also to poke the end of the rope through from the correct side so that the two pieces of rope lie parallel.
- The distance between the tucks should not be more than about eighteen inches. It is normal for the last two tucks to be very close together, making a double tuck.