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ROK Dollies, Customized for Yamaha Stage Model Organs

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  • myorgan
    commented on 's reply
    Yup, you did, but it's fixed now! Thank you for sharing this project.


  • Larrytow
    I think I may have messed up the link to the photo file folder - I think this is the correct one.


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  • Larrytow
    Here are some more photos. The link in the above post will take you to even more - I like taking pictures of jobs I do ( when they turn out good anyhow ).
    Attached Files

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  • ROK Dollies, Customized for Yamaha Stage Model Organs

    Now that I am sorta caught up with a lot of jobs ( mostly non organ related ones – fixing trucks and snowplows ) that needed to be done before winter sets in, I thought I would make a post about a job I did back in May to customize my Roll Or Kari dollies, so they would fit my requirements. It seems to me that we who move organs regularly all agree that a set of ROKs is an essential part of our moving equipment. Not all jobs need them, but for those that do, Nothing Else works as well as they do. However there are some jobs that could really benefit from using a set, but as the factory built them, they are just not tall enough. So I made mine taller to fit my needs. After having used them on a very important job now, and being extremely pleased with the results, I thought everyone might want to know how I did it, and perhaps consider modifying a set for themselves. Of course you would have to have a need to have a taller set, because most organs are just fine on a regular set.

    In my opinion, the toughest organ consoles to move without damage are the Stage Model ones of any builder. They usually are pedestal style of one sort or another, and normally sort of top heavy to boot. Not to mention just heavy in general. As well, they have the top of the pedestal section a different width dimension from the bottom base section a lot of times. Maybe not majorly offset, but enough that getting the bottom plate of a dolly under an end causes the upright rails to be at some degree of angle. The biggest problem with using standard issue ROK dollies on those is that they just are not tall enough to reach the top portion of the console, at only 32 inches tall. Many of the pedestal style organs top sections start right at the top of the factory built ROK rails. My custom modification job addresses both of those issues.

    Before undertaking the job to modify mine with taller rails, I did call Enrick to ask if they maybe had taller upright rails available. They do not make them, and they also told me that I was the only person who had ever asked about something like that. I have to say that I was sorta mystified by that response – I can’t be the only one in the world who ever wished for a taller set of ROKs, can I ?! It became evident to me that if I wanted them how I needed them to be, I had to do my own custom job on them.

    Now the planning began – some jobs that seem rather straightforward to just Do, actually require some advance planning. Looking though my limited lumber stock here, I discovered that I had not much hardwood at all, nor any pieces that were big enough, so that needed to be found. I recalled that the president of one of the congregations I play for is quite the accomplished woodworker, so a call was made. He not only does a lot of fine woodwork, but he also cuts his own trees, and mills them with his own sawmill. So I made a quick sketch of what I needed, and e-mailed it to him. The next Sunday 4 beautiful pieces of straight-grained hardwood were waiting for me on the organ bench ! With rounded off corner edges, and even sanded nicely. There are times living in a rural area has perks that you never even consider possible in a big city.

    With 4 nice pieces of hardwood of the proper dimensions ready to go, it was mainly a matter of taking the dollies completely apart, transferring the hole positions to the new pieces, drilling the holes, and putting them back together with 8” taller rails. It was actually a bit more putzy work than one might think, but by doing it, I gained a whole new appreciation for the thought and craftsmanship that Enrick builds into a seemingly simple pair of dollies. Mine were a very old set, but I have a feeling that they still build them with the same level of quality.

    Here are some things that you need to know about how a ROK is put together if you should ever want to modify a set :

    1, The handle side plates were attached with rivets through the plates and wood. I had to grind off the heads, and drive them out with a punch. I replaced them with 1/4” bolts and nuts.

    2, The handle pivot bolt is threaded into the side plate, with fine threads. There is also a nut that goes on the exposed end of the bolt. The tension of the pivot is adjusted by the bolt to side plate tightness; the nut is a locking device. When looking at it you might think the handle pivot bolt is just a through bolt with a nut, but it is way more elegant than that.

    3, Where the running gear gets bolted on though the bottoms of the uprights is the same way, with most of the bolts actually threaded into the side plates, with a backup nut. There are a couple places where carriage bolts are used with nuts though. And you have to use carriage bolts in those spots so you can sink the heads into the wood, so that the wheel pivot plates will not catch on them.

    4, The easiest way to transfer the hole positions from the old pieces to the new ones is to lay and clamp them on top of each other, and then use steel transfer punches though the existing holes. Then you have a nice center punch mark to use for accurate drilling. The bottom holes for the running gear are important to get as exact as possible, otherwise the lifting lever mechanism will run crooked and possibly bind up.

    5, I left the lower threaded rod side to side stiffener in the same location on my extended rails. The upper one I raised up by 4” ( pretty sure, maybe 6” ) because of the taller rails.

    6, With the taller rails now, I made two sets of holes for the handle mounting plates, one in the original position, and one a few inches further up. It is easy enough to change positions now that they are held on by bolts and nuts. I can foresee a situation where one might want the handles on one set to be higher than the other, and making the holes ( or at least transfer punching them ) when doing a rebuild is easier than doing it in middle of a moving job.

    7, Because the Yamaha Stage Model organs also have a somewhat curved edge on each side of the base, I needed to make extended base plates for the dollies to reach far enough under each side to make sure the console rollers would sit on the plates. I ordered a length of 1/4” steel plate with a 90 degree bend and 6” legs from my supplier, and cut it to the 28” lengths needed. Then I welded on a couple of lengths of plate on the back side to make a hook section ( sorta like a French cleat, but no angles ) so I can drop the extensions over the existing base angle when I need them.

    I’ll put some photos in this thread, but if you want to see a good pictorial of some of the details of how I did these up, here is a link to an album on my G Drive :


    So far I would not change anything about how I modified these, and I am really happy to have a “One Of A Kind” custom set of ROKs.
    Attached Files