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 Post subject: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2022 11:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 535
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Any suggestions on where to get "#9 bell rope" as was specified for the USATC Consolidations or a suitable substitute? I got a length of 3/8" cotton rope from Amazon, but it's twisted and meant for crafting. I' guessing the proper rope is probably woven.


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:19 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:47 pm
Posts: 178
I have used 3/8" or 1/2" cotton clothesline available at the local hardware store. It's woven but will eventually stretch, degrade or wear down where it passes through eyelets, it is cheap enough to be expendable, maybe $20 for a 50ft length.

Just don't use wire rope, I have seen one museum use that so people can ring the bell on a static locomotive, and it's repeatedly sawn through the eyelets and several inches of the cab wall... you'd think they'd change out the wire rope for something else already....


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 2:08 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2289
Location: Strasburg, PA
You could contact SMS and ask them if they have any surplus bell rope from their #9...

We just used clothesline from the hardware store.


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 999
Location: MA
https://www.versales.com/rope-cordage/s ... bell-cord/


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 5:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:45 pm
Posts: 289
https://samsonrope.com/resources/produc ... al+Cordage

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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 535
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Thanks for the suggestions. In following them up it appears that "sash cord" is a commonly used descriptor.


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 6:39 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 1475
Location: New Franklin, OH
I was also going to suggest sash cord. I’ve actually used it for sashes. It’s woven and flexible. I think a polyester or nylon core may get you a little less stretch than all cotton. Doing a quick lookup, I don’t find what diameter #9 would be but #8 is 1/4” and #10 is 5/16”. The previously mentioned 3/8” is #12 and 1/2” is #16.

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Eric Schlentner
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 9:12 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 535
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Eric, interesting. In a size table I found the number is the size in mm. So #9 is .354" or approximately 3/8". I looked again this morning and found a another table with the dimensions that you found.


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2022 2:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1681
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
jayrod wrote:
I don’t find what diameter #9 would be but #8 is 1/4” and #10 is 5/16”. The previously mentioned 3/8” is #12 and 1/2” is #16.
Looks like the number is the diameter in 32nds of an inch. #9 would then equal 9/32 inch.


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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2022 1:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:23 am
Posts: 483
Location: Strasburg, PA
I would research nautical cordage for a number of reasons: (1) the plethora of historical restorations are driving demand for "old-looking" synthetics (2) these synthetics come in all kinds of durable outward styles, in imitation of historic braids.

New England Ropes would be a place to start, as would American Rope and Tar.

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 Post subject: Re: Source for #9 Bell Rope?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2022 5:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 535
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The key was knowing what to ask for. We found what we needed. Thanks for all the replies.


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