Forty years ago my parents loaded the station wagon and drove the family from our New Jersey home to the woods of Maine for a modest vacation. We stayed at Gray’s Cabins, which had no central heat (but a fireplace) or running water, but an abundance of gorgeous views and rustic nostalgia. At a small bait shop on a winding country road, while Dad bought lures and earthworms, I stood on the porch admiring a mobile of flattened silver spoons suspended from bent and curled fork tines. The spoons met each other, as the breeze passed through, with surprisingly rich peals, as from a bell. For two decades I haunted thrift stores for discarded silver-plate, and made dozens of chimes for family and friends. I recently pulled out of a box the scattered spoons and fork of my last remaining set of chimes, polished the silver, restrung the spoons, and hung the chimes in my patio, where they tinkle and take me back to the green woods of Maine.
If plated silver is not available, you can make your own set with any inexpensive metal ware. Tools you will need:
- rag to buffer the spoons from the hammer and concrete surface as you carefully flatten them
- power drill with very small drill bit
- block of wood under the ware as you drill
- needle-nose pliers
- fishing line or stout threat (thick string will muffle the spoon vibrations and dampen their sound)
- nail or hook to hang from
The colder your metal ware, the higher the likelihood the spoons will crack and the tines will break off. Work with the spoons and fork after leaving them in the sun for a few minutes.