Cuckoo Clock Bellows Clips for Storage or Shipping

About: My current interests are Electronics (e.g., Arduino), Clock repair, Archeoastronomy, Design for 3D Printing, Singing, Software, Woodworking, Poetry, Genealogy, and more each year. I'm on Twitter as @bneedha...

I recently received a cuckoo clock whose bellows hadn't been clipped closed. During shipping the tops of the bellows tore off and rattled inside the clock. You can easily avoid this sort of needless damage by making and using bellows clips.

The bellows are the cuckoo clock parts that blow air into the whistles to make the familiar "coo-coo" sound. Whenever you store or ship a cuckoo clock, you should clip the bellows closed so they don't "freeze" open or tear off. You can easily make these clips from paper clips and Scotch tape, keeping your clock in good condition for when it runs again.

Step 1: Supplies and Tools

  1. Two metal paper clips.
  2. Pliers, to bend the paper clips. I like needle nose pliers or round nose pliers, but any pliers will do.
  3. (optional, not shown) Wire cutters, to cut the clips to fit your clock.
  4. Scotch tape. Masking tape will work, but I think Scotch tape lasts longer.
  5. Scissors, to cut the tape.
  6. A permanent, black pen.

Step 2: Bend the Paperclips Straight

Using your fingers and the pliers, bend each paper clip into a long straight wire.

Step 3: Bend the Wire Into a "U" Shape With Upturned Ends

Using the pliers, bend each wire into a "U" shape, where the bottom of the "U" is as wide as the bellows tops are tall. Often bellows tops are about 14 mm (about 1/2 inch) tall.

(Optional) Cut the wires so the ends of the "U" shape are about the length of the bellows tops. Different cuckoo clocks have different length bellows tops.

Next, bend the tops of the "U" shape outward a little. This outward bend will make the clip slide easily onto the bellows top.

Finally, bend the "U" shape closed a bit, so the sides of the "U" are turned inward. This shape will help the clip hold onto the bellows top during shipping, and keep the clip from slipping off.

Step 4: Label the Clips

Now that the clips are the right shape, we'll add a label. The label will tell people to remove the clips before running the clock, and will make the clips easier to pull out.

Cut a piece of Scotch tape to about 40 mm (about 1-1/2 inches) long. If the tape is wider than the bottom of the "U" of the clip, cut the tape to the width of that clip.

Loop the tape through the bottom of the "U", then fold it in half, with the fold around the bottom of the "U".

Using a permanent marker, write the word "Pull" on one side of each clip's tape.

Now your clips are ready to use!

Step 5: Clip the Bellows Tops Closed

Before you ship or store your cuckoo clock, use the clips to hold the bellows tops closed.

Slip one clip over the end of the right cuckoo whistle, so that the open end of the clip holds the bellows top closed and the bottom of the "U" shape of the clip presses against the hinge of the bellows top. Do the same for the left cuckoo whistle.

When you're ready to run the clock, pull the two clips off and store them in the bottom of the cuckoo clock case.

Your cuckoo clock bird will thank you for taking the time to keep its voice working well.

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