Introduction: A Cheapskate's Incredible Chimes

Items needed:

Pipe, cut to various lengths, about 4-5 pieces. Longer pipes make deeper tones.

Fishing line. I used 400 lb test because we already had it.

A round metal or wooden disc, about 3.5" round.

A square or diamond shaped piece of wood or plexi.

Fishing line clips, basically small tubes that you slide 2 pieces of line into and clamp shut with pliers.

One ball clamp or one metal washer.

A large S-hook.

An eye bolt.

A metal hubcap or dog dish.

Tools required:

A drill

1/8" drill bit


Chopsaw or Hack saw for cutting the pipe

I'd shopped for larger bass windchimes before, but was unwilling to pay $300-$400 for them, thus the title of this project. Scrap pieces of pipe were readily available, so I found and dumpster-dived those, had them cut to length, and cleaned them up with a bit of steel wool. I had my heart set on a 1950's moon hubcap for the crown of the chimes, so those pipes sat on my patio for about 8 months....

Step 1: The Search Is On...

The search is on....

Come to find out, a 1950's moon hubcap is not so easily found, for a cheapskate anyway. Months after collecting the pipe and disc for this project, on a random trip to the river with my teenage boy, (it was entrapment, I didn't really want to go), just off the path to the boat ramp, I spotted a rusty, muddy circle in the weeds. "STOP THE TRUCK!!" After he finished freaking out and stopped, we were about 15 yards past the rusty circle. I jumped out and ran back, finding the circle to be an actual 1950's chrome moon hubcap, upside down and full of mud. I dumped the mud out, did a little dance, and jumped around a minute. I was so excited, and even incredulous. The hubcap even still had the sliders on the four insert tabs on the back. I took it home, cleaned it up with some steel wool and dish soap, and it was as good as new!

Step 2: Drilling the Holes

The paddle, in my case, the diamond shaped plexi, needs one small hole in one corner of it to run the fishing line through. The eye-bolt needs a small hole drilled into the threaded end, near the very end. This hole is to run the fishing line through so you can hang the paddle that the wind catches. The crown, in my case, a hubcap, needs four holes drilled around the outer edge, equidistant apart. That was easy enough because the hubcap has four tabs on the back of it that are already equidistant apart. It also needs one small hole drilled into the center of the moon itself. Finding the exact center was problematic, and we finally decided to drop a ball bearing into the bowl shape and allow it to reach the lowest point of the bowl, and eyeball it from there. The dinger, or round disc that will actually ding the pipes, needs a hole in the center. The odd piece of round scrap metal I found already had a hole there from it's previous life (alien spaceship?).

Step 3: Assemblage


Start by taking a length of heavy gauge fishing line and doubling it over the S-hook. Hang the S-hook up so you can work with the entire assembly. Run both lines through the hubcap or crown, and tie off around a steel washer or a ball clamp larger than the hole in the hubcap. The washer provides a good starting point to string the pipe, but the ball clamp allows you to continue using the same piece of fishing line. We used the ball clamp. Once the crown is mounted, you can mount the pipes. We drilled holes through each pipe and ran the fishing line through them and mounted each pipe to the hubcap/crown with it's own piece of fishing line. Attempting to run them all on one line created length problems at the top. The chimes sound better and look better if they are about equidistant from the crown.

Step 4: The Dinger

Using the end pieces of the fishing line coming from the center of the crown and through the ball clamp, we mounted the dinger using the eye-bolt and the metal disc. The disc was a random piece of scrap found in a scrap yard that just looked like it had potential for something great! Screw the eyebolt nut on the bottom just past the hole that you predrilled in the end of the eyebolt. Run a new piece of fishing line through that hole and mount the paddle, in my case, a piece of plexi, but wood is often used in commercial chimes. If using wood, I would seal it or oil it since it will be outdoors for some time to come. This project weighed around 26 pounds, and was hung using an iron S-shaped plant hanger. Click the video to hear the chimes!

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