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The Sound of the Bells

The Sound of the Bells
Oak yokes and belfries enhance the sounds of traditional bells for a Germany bell company since 1725.

The Bachert company, originally founded in the year 1725 by Kaspar Bachert in southwest Germany, casts and restores the whole range of bronze bells and wooden belfries for clients throughout Europe. Although in operation for almost 300 years, the company is still operated by descendants from their founder, and they continue to operate the business in much the same manner as their ancestor.

For those unfamiliar with how bells are cast, it is quite a fascinating process, utilizing a form of bricks and clay and filling the bell pit with soil. For 300 years, the process has remained much the same. The fact that a perfect pitch tone is achieved at the end of the traditional casting process is truly a work of art, which the Bachert company embraces and has perfected.

Influencing the final tone of the bell is the yoke belfry from which it is suspended. According to the Bachert company, oak wooden yokes is the best possible material because of the full and soft sound created by the combination of the large bronze bell being held by the right wood.

Since May of 2012, the Bachert company has moved the production of their yokes in-house, giving them more control of the final yoke and belfry look and design.

In order to produce these yokes themselves, the Bachert company installed a Wood-Mizer LT15 band sawmill. The sawmill uses thin bandsaw blades, and so matched their needs of high quality and low volume. Capital investment is low for this machine, compared with other sawmilling methods, and operating costs are minimal. The sawmill is fitted with a MP100 beam planer/moulder attachment that completes the solution for Bachert – they are able to process a log into a finished, planed beam without any other large processing machines. Before the arrival of the sawmill and planer, crafting a yoke took at least one day to make. Now they are able to produce the same yoke,planed and moulded as needed, in less than an hour.The yokes must be very strong, and they usually employ oak that is from two to eight years old.

New bronze bells
A new wooden bell belfry replaces an old iron structure

The addition of a sawmill to the company has opened up new opportunities for additional revenue as well. Not only are they producing wood for their own needs, but can also supply beams for restoration projects associated with their current clientele.

The combination of the LT15 sawmill with the MP100 moulder/planer is ideal for the Bachert bell company
Heavy beams are required for new bell platforms

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This article was published in the 'Wood-Mizer Today' company newsletter.

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