Introduction: How to Turn an Old Cylinder Mower (reel Mower) Into a (tuned) Wind Chime
I accidentally broke my old mower. So I have been turning it into things. A gong, a knife and a bin so far. But the wind chime has been the most fun.
I had to find a tune with 5 notes that would be appropriate to a lawn mower. 'One man went to mow' fit the bill perfectly...
Step 1: Cutting Crew
Remove the cylinder (reel) from the mower. Carefully cut the blades from the cylinder. You want to keep them as intact as possible.
Step 2: Take a Note...
Tie a loop of string through the holes in the blades. This is so that you can tune them.
Find out the note of one of the blades. Do this by using one of the online guitar tuners and banging the blade soundly. It is important that you hang the blade while you are doing this otherwise your fingers will deaden the sound.
This note will now be the lowest note in whatever tune you're going for.
You can skip this step using the next page, but I like to know the actual note rather than just the relative one.
Step 3: How's Your Maths?
Now for the hard bit; figuring out how to tune the other blades.
If you are good at maths you can use a formula to find the lengths you need to cut the other blades to. I tried this and my heard hurt. Bad...
There are some online calculators for this. They also made my head hurt. But they at least are workable.
If you are lucky you can find complete tables of glockenspiel lengths and once you find the length that matches yours you can simple figure out the lengths for the other relative notes.
The other alternative is to cut a bit off at a time and keep testing it against the tuner. This would be lengthy and fraught with the danger of cutting too much off.
Using the other notes you want in your tune you can now use the table find the lengths your blades need to be.
Step 4: Cut to the Cut
Write the note on each of the blades, top and bottom, both sides. This avoids confusion.
Measure each of the blades to the required length and cut them. It is advisable to cut the a fraction too long so you can adjust. I just went for it and was surprised at just how well it worked. The tuning was pretty bloody close.
Step 5: Just Hanging...
Hang the tuned blades back on the spindle, ensuring that they hang free.
Hang the wind chime somewhere suitable.
Play a tune.
Be surprised that nobody is impressed....