¡We have a gong!

How the GONG came to be

by Jesse

About a month ago, I was taking a walk on my trail loop and got caught in a thundershower over by the sugar house. So I took shelter in the vacuum pump room under the sap storage area. While waiting out the downpour, I noticed this large disk of metal that was probably the cut off end of a fuel oil tank. I rolled it out from the wall to take a good look at it. It was quite heavy, being 3/16” rusted steel and 42” in diameter. I stood it on edge and gave it a good kick with my boot and got a deep gong sound. I thought to myself “Would it be possible to mount this disk in a frame to make a gong?” At that point the rain had slowed enough so I could continue my walk. So I took a picture of the metal disk and moved it back where it was stored.

Over the next couple of weeks, I showed several CH members the pictures of the metal disk and told them of my hope to create a gong from it and keep it up at the lean-to site. Needless to say, I got a lot surprised responses, though no negative ones. Being that this time period was also intense gardening, along with mushroom log and beekeeping responsibilities, I shelved my gong construction for a rainy day. One day, when I was moving maple syrup from the sugar house to the root cellar, I grabbed the metal disk and put it in the equipment shed. 

From time to time, when I was on the internet, I looked at pictures of gongs and the frames they hung in. I decided to use some of the 2” metal square tubing that has lived outside of the wood working shop for the last 15 years. I had already used some of the 25’ pieces to fabricate a railing over at the bread oven and I used some others to replace the ricks in the mushroom fruiting area. There was still plenty of the tubing left, so I dragged a couple of sections over to the equipment shed. I had come up with a simple right angled design that would be a good test for my newly acquired welding skills.

Well, the last 2 weeks have provided plenty of rainy days to pursue this project. It was a bit of a challenge to accurately mate the long pieces of tubing so I could weld the angles right. After welding the frame, I spent about $12 on hardware to hang the metal disk in the frame. I ended up using a section of  metal pipe with a rubber maul handle protector as the gong mallet. After showing several CH members the finished gong in the equipment shed, we decided to keep it here on campus for now. So Rooz helped me move the gong from the equipment shed to the first bench in the center flower garden facing the Common House. When I was building the gong I had thought of it as more of a musical instrument than a piece of sculpture. But seeing it set up out there, I guess it’s both!