Making a pipe or bamboo wind chime, involves more work than a more whimsical silverware or shell wind chime would. The biggest advantage to making your wind chime out of piping or bamboo is the sound that you will be able to have your wind chime produce. While the clanking of metal is fun for children, a more melodic sound is something that those with a more sophisticated taste are trying to achieve when they are making wind chimes. Here is a step by step tutorial for how you can make your own bamboo wind chime. Many of the steps that you will read about will also apply if you would like to make a wind chime out of pieces of pipe instead of bamboo. Be aware of any differences that you will need to substitute in for as you read through these steps:
1. Get the bamboo
If you do not have a local source for bamboo, you will need to visit a garden supply store to find a bamboo pole. Sometimes you can also come across bamboo poles that are being sold as fishing poles. Pipes of varying materials can also typically be found at a hardware store. If you are using natural bamboo, you will want to inspect the piece that you are going to buy to make sure that your bamboo is thoroughly seasoned and is not split or rotten.
2. Cut and drill the bamboo
Cut your long piece of bamboo into lengths composed of two of the plants sections (bamboo has a naturally occurring band around it), with one end above the partition-like segment end, and the other below it. This step is unique to bamboo chimes. If you are using copper piping, simply cut the piping into 6 equal parts. As part of cutting the bamboo you will want to split the hollow end of each piece by using a knife to taper the last inch (2.5cm) or so off of the bamboo rod at an angle. Drill 1/8 inch (3mm) holes just above the section on the solid end of each piece of bamboo, parallel to the cut you made on the opposite end.
3. Make the plywood pieces
You will need two round pieces of plywood to stable your wind chime. To make these bases you will need to cut a round piece of plywood or other material about 7 times the diameter of the average piece of bamboo or pipe that you are using. This will ensure that the base is large enough to have all of the chimes hang from it. Drill a small hole for each chime, equal distance from the others, all the way around the round piece. Cut a smaller disk of your plywood, about 1 1/2 times the diameter of your bamboo pieces smaller than your first (top) disk. Drill three holes spaced equally about the center of this disk. After following step 4 below, you will thread the loose ends of your three center strings through these holes.
4. Thread the string
Thread a piece of string through one of the holes, and tie off one end. Thread your string through the holes in the end of one bamboo section, then back through the hole in the plywood on the other side of your layout mark. Continue doing this until each bamboo is hanging under the plywood disk, making sure to tie of and secure each line.
5. Find the right sound
Stagger the chimes higher or lower to change the tone of each piece of bamboo. Experiment to see which variation makes the most appealing sound to you. Make sure that once you have found the right combination of positions that you string and use glue to secure the smaller plywood disk to the center of the chimes.
6. Make the hammer
Cut a shape of plywood to hang below the lower plywood disk. Tie this to the end of your three strings. This shape (the hammer) will catch the wind and strike the bamboo tubes making the chimes sound.