Passing down the art of gong

The steps to make a gong

For long, instrument is closely related to performance. Good instruments can facilitate a performer to fully express his emotion. Thus, it is not only necessary but also "joyful" for an instrument player to make an instrument. Hence, we visited Lin Wu Ironworks and collected the below data on the procedures to make a gong:

Selecting materials: Cutting the surface and edges of a gong:
Bronze sheets may have impurities. Hence, attention shall be paid to its surface scratches, density of the middle layer, and metal composition.
A compass was used to draw a circle and confirm the size. A pair of scissor was used to cut the surface and two brims of a gong.
  Photo credit:    
Making the brims: Making the surface:
A 20-pound iron hammer was used to beat the bronze sheet for 4 to 5 thousand times. The two long bronze sheets were beaten into curved fan shape. Lastly, they were connected to form a circle.
Belly button:
A 10-pound iron hammer is used to beat the center for 2,000 times to form a semicircle. If the belly button is too thick, it cannot produce loud sounds. However, if it is too thin, it will easily break.
A iron hammer was used to beat the surface for 500 times so as to reach the density to create the best resonance.
Welding: Polishing:
Bronze sheets with borax were used to weld the surface and the brims.
After beating, the surface was polished. Now, there are different design of patterns like Tibetan alphabet.
Making a hole and tying with a rope: Toning:
An electric drill was used to drill a hole on the brim so as to tie the gong with a rope.
An iron mallet was used to beat the belly button and the surface to determine different pitches.

Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums




Experience of making a gong

During our visit to Lin Wu Ironwork, we participated in making a small gong by learning from a master. First, we received a small round bronze sheet with a diameter of about 5 cm prepared by our master. Our master used two sets of stone modules with different functions to beat the bronze sheet to form its external shape. Then, another machine was used to polish the bulging part of the bottom of the gong and making the hole. Third, our master polished the gong rotating at a fast speed to make it shine brightly. Lastly, it was finished with some decoration!

Along with people's awareness of environmental protection in modern society, we hope that we can use recycled materials to save waste. When making a big gong, there were many wasted bronze sheets cut off which were collected by the master to make small gongs. It not only protects the environment, but also reuses the waste and saves money!

Lin Wu Ironworks promotes the traditional art of gong through DIY of your own gong, so that the public can understand the steps and difficulties in making a gong. Though it took us about 5 minutes to finish our small gongs, a big gong might take several months to complete. Especially, toning required patience and skills. However, less and less people want to involve in the traditional process which is about to fail to be passed down!!

Photo credit: Thunder King of Drums

Reference: day trip【Lin Wu Ironworks-Gong bracelet DIY】