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Old 04-23-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
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Residence Pipe Organ


Sort of my long term project I work on when I have time, but so many parts to make, connect yet it can get overwhelming.
I removed a defunct 1930 pipe organ a number of years ago from a church on Long Island, I have some of it working but lots more to go yet.

It had a really lousy blower that was a replacement for the original one, the replacement was a cheap 3hp sheet metal forge blower that screamed like a jet plane, but I found an original 1929 blower, same size, model and make the organ originally had, and removed it by myself from the bell tower of a church that was getting rid of it and their defunct organ.

The blower weighs 600# total, the 2 hp motor alone is 290#, here's the motor for those who are old motor enthusiasts

Made in the USA back when we actually MADE stuff:

http://i.imgur.com/vWoROWp.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/FQYM3nY.jpg

Since the organ was originally in a 9x12 or so room behind the altar, there was a carved wood facade covering the opening in the wall behind the altar, I could not have that, so I designed and made one myself in a gothic style out of red oak, stained with Minwax Red Mohogany oil stain, most of the organ occupies the bedroom behind it:

http://i.imgur.com/lqHlMVy.jpg

The walnut console and bench needed refinishing, rewiring and repairs, including restoring the pneumatic switching mechanisms, replicating missing corner moldings etc:

http://i.imgur.com/cFv0LCM.png

I built a platform for it with 4 casters, and the 100 pr telco cable for the wiring goes down thru the floor into the basement and over to the relay board by the blower:

http://i.imgur.com/HsRrFNc.png

Some of the pipes in the room:

http://i.imgur.com/Lis44Z8.jpg


The relays are 12vdc mechanical action, one for each of the 61 keys on the console. The relays are activated by the keys and in turn send 12 vdc to their corresponding pipes whose valves are connected to the relay for them.

Here's a video of one half of the relay board in action, the sole maker of these no longer makes mechanical relays, they changed production to electronic relays:

http://youtu.be/1HP_Yy4O1KU

That's all for now


Last edited by RWolff; 04-23-2013 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
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Residence Pipe Organ


That is a labor of love-----What a rare treasure to have in your home----

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:06 AM   #3
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Residence Pipe Organ


Those old organs are so gorgeous. Congrats on having your very own.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thanks folks, I forgot to include one of the pics:



It has been a lot of work with a lot of stop, mothball, and start again on it.
I have a second 61 relay board to put together in the basement and connect the wiring to for the bottom keyboard, and I have more windchests to design, layout, construct and parts to buy.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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I like the bench design---
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
I like the bench design---

Yeah, it's an interesting design, though the lumber used for it's sides (3/4" thick) is thinner than I would have used. The console and bench were actually designated to go to a different church, one in Illinois, they were build from solid walnut, and some cherry, and the quality of the lumber and all is above this maker's normal standard/stock design.
I think being it was 1930 and the stock crash, the Illinois church that was supposed to get this, and an organ, backed out or downgraded, and this little non descript Methodist church On Long Island maybe got a good deal on it ($3,450 for the whole organ with 9 ranks of pipes, blower, console, bench, installed)
I have the original contract papers which shows the price.

The keyboards and all were in perfect condition and needed only cleaning;


Last edited by RWolff; 04-24-2013 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:31 AM   #7
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What ever got you interested in pipe organs?--

There are very few people with the knowledge to keep the old things going----Delightful technology---
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:33 AM   #8
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I just looks at the 'views'---over 2000 so far---more pictures!!!!
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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Really nice job!

I can't wait to show this to the girlfriend, this will make guitars seem like a minor addiction!
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:19 AM   #10
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What a great project.

There is a great organ restoration and building company in Champaign, IL if you ever need them. They do lots of work for churches but also on old theater organs.

Champaign was along the New Orleans to Chicago (and somewhat beyond into Wisconsin) corridor where great old theaters were built along the City of New Orleans train line. Vaudeville and other acts "took the shows on the road" so to speak. Many have been lost but quite a few rescued or converted to other purposes.

Growing up an older family friend was a person who made her living playing organ for silent movies up and down the California Coast. When they all closed she moved on to working Saturdays and Sundays at religious places but still added the flourishes and things from the theater world. She bought an organ to keep at our place and really loved playing the thing.

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Old 04-25-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
What a great project.

There is a great organ restoration and building company in Champaign, IL if you ever need them. They do lots of work for churches but also on old theater organs.
Oh yes, Buzzard Co. I know em, I've been in the industry 15 years.
Odd name I always pronounce like the bird- Buzzard but it's not how it's pronounced really.

The economy is tight and so they like all of the builders are feeling the pinch, I know one in that state I think, that went out of business, and a 144 year old firm in Germany (Giesecke & Sohn) who made organ pipes that folded in the last year.

More pics soon!
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
I just looks at the 'views'---over 2000 so far---more pictures!!!!
Wow, and I just stuck the thread in as an afterthought more than anything else!
I'll get more pics by the weekend.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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That's really cool, great job!
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #14
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I made a real quick demo video, but I mislaid my regular 8 gb card and only had a smaller card which filled up after 5 minutes and cut off, oh well, there's always next time now that I found the 8 gb card

Of the 9 ranks of pipes (each rank has 61 pipes, some couple into other ranks to use 73) only 2 ranks are functional, and only about 52 pipes of each, the upper octave of both is not connected yet and isn't used much anyway.
The pedalboard has 32 wood pipes plus it couples into the other ranks as well as octave coupling, it functions except for 3 pipes I have to track down why they are not working as they did before.

The video has the 2 ranks, one is wood the other is metal, pretty easy to tell the difference between the two- the metal is brighter and more metallic, the wood is more mellow and soft, and the pedal pipes are wood too.
The video sound level is very good even though the pipes are in the adjacent room behind the facade.

The console has a 100 pr 12vdc telco cable connected to it, with wiring for each key and all the controls, in addition- the 4 small round white buttons below the keyboards activate an adjustable preset pneumatic selector powered by wind from the blower in the basement.
It's a mechanical switching system that is a real marvel of 1930 engineering, it works much the way the old car radios did in the 50s with "presets" and pulling the knobs out and pushing them back in to set your preset stations. I don't know when those kinds of car radios came to be, but that kind of system was already in use in pipe organs before 1930

On this system, the white tabs controlling the ranks of pipes are pushed down and lifted while holding in the "set" button and it "remembers" the settings for both keyboards, allowing 4 different preset combinations for each as well as a "cancel."

Photo of that mechanism shows it on the right (white arrow) the lower section on the left is the key spring rail and contacts for the upper keyboard, there is one below it for the bottom keyboard. This also has pneumatically powered sliders- the 4 blue arrowed strips in the center of the lower section move a small distance laterally to move their corresponding contact strips embedded in them in slots over, so the key's actuator rod (red arrow) can contact them.
The key contacts each have a spring (yellow arrow) and the key lift the ends of the actuator rods (purple arrow)
The green arrow is a pneumatically operated reversable for one of the couplers.

http://i.imgur.com/8gC454X.jpg



I am playing Chaccone in D by Pachelbel



Here's one rank of the metal pipes
http://i.imgur.com/MgVJTZ3.jpg

One rank of wood pipes

http://i.imgur.com/ZsgjcY1.jpg

The largest 4 of the 32 pedal pipes
http://i.imgur.com/uI08cTv.jpg

And more of the larger pedal pipes
http://i.imgur.com/PquWUXz.jpg

The upper portion of the wood facade I built in 1997, from solid red oak lumber. The 8 gothic themed leaf ornaments were cut on a bandsaw from two boards 2" thick, and about 3' long, holes drilled through them gave them a more interesting design.

the zinc and wood pipes in it are non functional but real ones, obtained in Oregon from an organ technician who was going to discard them. The 5 metal pipes shown (the wood ones are not in the first picture) were stripped to bare metal, primed and painted, then hand stecilled, the design based on an 1880s reed organ's fake pipe facade that I liked the looks of.

http://i.imgur.com/cH9By9X.jpg


Impost with with moldings and carved brackets, the brackets were cut on a bandsaw and then a shaper with a large cutter used to freehand cut the ogee on the curves, the lower spindle design portion was carved by hand.
I only carved the lower spindle on 2 of the 4 brackets, the center 2 are just shaped as they are not easily seen on account of the overhang.

The overhanging impost is supported with 4 steel cantilever brackets inside it made from 5/16" x 3" channel, extending out the back, over the cutout in the wall, and bolted to the studs inside. It supports the rest of the structure above.

http://i.imgur.com/3a6Hmhd.jpg


2 of the brackets can be seen here, not real pretty but this bedroom is only being used for the organ and normally there is no entrance into it except for a narrow access door.

http://i.imgur.com/qfaVsP1.jpg


Lower facade, the bottom of the 5 metal pipes and some of the non functional wood pipes in the facade can be seen, along with the gothic styled stepped posts between them.
The upper facade was my woodworking project in a non credit woodworking class back in 1997, the impost portion replaces a 4' high wainscotted section I originally made in class that I decided to replace so I didn't have to have somethign standing on the floor.

http://i.imgur.com/OOBtodg.jpg


Last edited by RWolff; 04-26-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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