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Polish Hints
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12/3/2014
If you like to see shiny bells, but don't care all that much for a lot of work, suggest a "polishing party" complete with record player and refreshment. With everyone helping and having fun, the job is done in a short time. How often you polish the bells depends a great deal upon how many different groups use the bells, how often they are used and whether or not they are cleaned after each rehearsal and performance.

Just dab a little polish, spread around with a very soft cloth. Rub a bit harder is stubborn tarnish is embedded. Wipe off with soft cloths (several may be necessary). Once in a while it is a good idea to take the bell completely apart and polish the inside of the bell as well. This is also a good time to check n all those inner parts before the bell is put back together again.

Handbells are a musical instrument - not a toy. The experience of polishing the bells occasionally helps instill this thought, especially with your younger, newer ringers.

Polishing cloths help keep the bells in good shape between major polishing jobs. Just getting the bells out of the cases can cause fingerprints. As ringers ask questions (never talk among themselves!), or respond to your humor, a slight spray of saliva drifts over the bells. Going over the bells after each rehearsal and performance with the jeweler's rouge and then a good buffing with the outer cloth removes the immediate skin oils and acids from saliva and general air pollution.

With one cloth per ringer no one has to work overly hard and the job is done in no time at all. The jeweler's rouge, if left on the bells, will, in time, really 'gunk' up your case fabric. A good reason to buff the bells with the outer cloth.

If you have two octaves of bells and clean them regularly, one 50 gram tube will provide enough for one polishing. If you have more bells, or are doing a thorough cleaning after a couple years lapse, or plan to polish the bells more than once a year, consider the 250 gram can.

1989 Beckenhorst Publishing co-op, Summer
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