The tools of the craft

The tools of the craft

A look at how North Country Wind Bells® creates its line of nature-inspired wind art.

May 25, 2018

Since 1975, North Country Wind Bells® has hand-crafted evocative decorations using sheared metal to bring the sights and sounds of the ocean to customers’ back yards. Over the decades, the family-run business has learned and evolved in its metalworking techniques.

Early on, founders Jim and May Davidson used a metal shear to cut their bells and triangular wind catchers, but the game was changed when the company started using a laser cutter to increase efficiency while also expanding the number of possible designs that could be created.

North Country Wind Bells® is also committed to locally-made products and environmentally-friendly business practices, including using majority recycled steel and recyclable packaging.

“The theme grew, with people wanting to save the environment as much as they can,” says owner Connie Davidson. “All of the materials we use as well are sought-after here, as close to Maine as we can get. A lot of it is New England steel, or [from] Pennsylvania.”

The company has also learned some hard lessons along the way. Early on, finished wind bells were coated in a lacquer paint. After a fire destroyed North Country Wind Bells®’ original facility in 1993, a powder-coating process was instituted as a safer and more effective alternative.

“Lacquer paint is one of those volatile products that we wanted to get away from, obviously,” Davidson says. “And powder-coating offered more durability than the paint did. Steel loves to go back to Mother Nature eventually by rusting - no matter what you do, it wants to do that. But, powder coating gives it a little more added life, it gives more texture to it, it's more durable and that's why we chose it.”

For Davidson, commitment to quality is equally as important as her company’s commitment to environmentally conscious methods of production. After all, even the most beautiful wind bell doesn’t do much good if it rusts and falls apart.

“These [powder-coated bells] last a long time,” Davidson says. “They've got a good lifespan of 15 to 20 years, depending on the environment they're in.”