• Alison Hodge
    We have been asked for someone who can make wooden rope spiders - can any one help with this please?

    The particular enquiry referred to a spider in the shape of a wooden spoon, no further details. .
  • David Struckett
    It's interesting that around these parts the idea of a 'rope spider' is quite popular - even in upstairs ringing rooms. Why hang the ropes up like that? I understand that on ground floor rings the rope must be 'put away' for safety - but not upstairs surely - where the RR is locked. Hooks around the walls are better, if required, and ringers encouraged to use the 'ringers' knot' (in all its variations!) and better still use a bowline for the 'down' position. An excellent opportunity to teach those otherwise unfamiliar with rope-work.
  • Alison Hodge
    Yes, ringers may think that a locked ringing room door will prevent access to the ropes. However, there are usually several sets of keys held by various people and permission may well be given for someone to access the ringing room for what is a legitimate reason - clearing the gutters, cleaning windows, testing electrical equipment etc. Hooks round the walls still leave the ropes at hand height whereas as ropes on a spider will mean that the ropes are out of reach and have to be positively "let down" before they are accessed.

    Regarding "ringers' knots", as David says, there are many variations and what style is used to mean that a bell is up or a bell is down is not universal and certainly not to be relied on.
  • David Smith
    I agree with Alison. We have alarms and keycards (two!) before you can gain access to the ringing chamber, but a safety audit still suggested a spider and leaving the ropes up when we are not ringing, as an additional precaution. We all agree with this assessment, and in fact have always intended to put in spiders, but just never quite got round to it yet! (Also recommended was an additional padlock controlling access from the ringing chamber to the bell chamber.)

    And yes we always teach testing a bell before ringing it up or down - knots can suggest whether a bell is up or down, but it's a fallible guide! I remember being ticked off (quite rightly) when I was doing a formal assessment of a ringing teacher, when I had a half-made loop in my hand before testing that the bell was down.
  • A J Barnfield
    I recall a tower where there had been no problems with unauthorised access but a risk assessment required a spider. A spider was duly installed.

    Then someone got wacked on the head by the spider.
  • Alison Hodge
    Yes, good point. A key feature of the design and installation is that the spider should be prevented from being lowered too far ie stop above head height of most / all taller people. Some spiders are decorative wooden or metal objects, but very heavy in consequence.

    Conversely, the spider does need to be heavy enough and the pulley mechanism free enough for the spider to come down when released (and not before). I do recall a tower where the pulley did not run freely so we had to stand on various objects to help the spider down. Not what was intended!
  • Chris Birkby
    If you -
    1 Always ring the bells down
    2 Have a tendency to get stiff, damp ropes
    3 Have carpet on the floor -
    then I recomment leaving the ropes hanging down unknotted.
    You will find the damp problem is significantly reduced.
  • David Struckett
    All the arguments FOR are actually reasons why the bells should always be rung down! There is little danger of strangers touching the ropes then. And yes, there are of course legitimate visitors other than ringers - occasionally! (e.g. builders eg roof problem, electrician, clock co, surveyor, fire extinguisher person, churchwarden accompanying any of these). The tower captain should always be told of these, but may not be able to accompany them.
    If a spider IS decided on - it should be light (only a pound or so) because suitable rope (eg 6mm max dia) and pulley will allow such to fall when lowered. (and you could always add a bit more rope below the spider to pull it down if in doubt). In any case, the spider pulley should either be at the side of the RR or if in the cantre should be over a table - to avoid 'AJB's incident!
  • Geoff Pullin
    Our central (no table!) spider has a cord that stops it at about 6' 9" above the floor, thus missing our tallest ringer's head. Ropes are usually stiff enough for the shortest ringers to get the tail loop over a hook.
    Another tip, is to make sure the spider cord operating end comes down adjacent to the clock chime hammer pull-off wires or switch!
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