A few scraps of exterior lumber and a bit of hardware are all you need to turn the next breezy day into gentle melodies.
1. Draw paper patterns for the wooden sunshine vertical and horizontal pieces. Mark the center cutout holes and a circular drilling pattern for arranging the chime rod screw eyes. Cut out the patterns.
2. Rout a 1/2-in. wide, 1/8-in. deep centered dado across one 1/2-in.-thick work piece that will form the horizontal top. This dado will receive the vertical top piece to create a stronger joint (see Photo 1).
3. Trace the horizontal top pattern onto the dadoed work piece. Trace the vertical top shape onto a second piece of 1/2-in. thick stock. Cut these parts out with a scroll saw (see Photo 2).
4. Mark positions on the horizontal top for the wind chime screw eyes. Prick through your pattern with a scratch awl to transfer these locations.
5. Drill pilot holes for the screw eyes in the horizontal top piece. Drill another screw eye hole into the center of the vertical top piece from which the clapper and wind catcher will hang. Drill a hole through the vertical top piece for a ring that will connect the finished wind chimes to a hang chain (see Photo 3).
6. Attach the top pieces with glue spread into the dado you made in Step 2. Drill pilot holes for a pair of #6 x 1 1/2-in. flathead wood screws, and drive them into both wooden parts (see Photo 4). A dab of paste wax on the screw threads will help make them easier to install.
7. Thread screw eyes into their holes for hanging the metal chime rods. If the screw eyes are difficult to twist in by hand, use a pliers or the shaft of a small screwdriver.
8. Make a round clapper and wind catcher from weather-resistant wood. The diameter of the clapper should be 1 in. smaller than the diameter of the screw eye “circle” you established in Step 4. This will allow the clapper to swing freely instead of resting against the chime rods. Drill a hole all the way through the center of the clapper, and thread a short screw eye in from both sides. Drill a hole through the wind catcher now also, for hanging it (see Photo 5).
9. Attach hang wires to the chime rods, using a crimping tool and metal crimp tubes to secure the wire loops (see Photo 6). We used 7-strand stainless steel jewelry wire. In order to make the loops uniformly sized, pull each rod and wire tight against a piece of scrap wood held in a vise (see Photo 7 and inset). The scrap serves as a spacer. Follow the instructions that come with the crimping tool to crimp the wire loops properly.
10. Apply spar varnish or an exterior wood preservative to the wooden parts of your wind chimes.
11. Attach the clapper and wind catcher together with wire, and hang this assembly from the center screw eye of the top. Use double crimp tubes for making these connections. Hang the chime rod wires from their screw eyes with a loop and single crimp tube. You can align the rods by eye so they hang uniformly underneath the top. It may help to clamp your wooden chime top in a normal hanging position when stringing the parts (see Photo 8). You’ll get the best resonance from the chime rods if the clapper strikes them near their centerpoints or lower.
12. Finally, insert a metal ring through the top hole, and attach the ring to a hang chain. Then, choose a nice spot outside for hanging your chimes. If you place them near a window, you’ll be able to watch your project weather the seasons and hear it each time a gentle breeze comes along.