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4x4 span load for 600# bell

1445 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Daniel Holzman
We obtained a 4-600# old church bell and have constructed a small bell tower from which to hang it. The top portion is essentially 4'x4' outside dimensions and is well sized to carry the load, now I need to put a crossmember from which to hang the bell. As such, it will only have a free span of about 3'5" and will be bearing 3 1/2" on either end. The bell will hang from the center.

I assume that a treated 4x4 would probably handle that fine, but would probably double it. We don't want to hang our giant paperweight until I find some span calculations to ensure it is quite safe. Where or what are the calculations for such? I know how to find tables to tell me lumber sizes for all kinds of typical building scenarios, but have no idea how to find the capacity for a single heavy object, and I thought someone here might be able to help.
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The minimum safety factor where failure could result in serious injury or death (the bell falls on your head) would be around 2.
That sounds rather low to me. (but you did say minimum) Lifting cable seems to typically be spec'd at 5:1
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