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Problem with Schoenstein Puffers/expansion chambers?????

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  • Problem with Schoenstein Puffers/expansion chambers?????

    I have recently heard of problems with a new Schoenstein (2010). There are several notes on different stops that will not play correctly. They are not getting enough wind due to problems with the pneumatic valves they use. It appears that there is not enough movement of the valve to cause it to open far enough to let an adequate supply of wind get to the pipe. Seems like the tolerances are way too close so that just a slight variation in temperature/humidity will cause either the pipe not to speak at all or be very out of tune. Some pipes can not be tuned since the tuning collars are already at their maximum variation. Am wondering if anyone else has encountered this. There are two different organs of about the same age where this problem has occured.

  • #2
    Being on the East Coast I have no experience with Schoenstein Organs. However, were I to encounter such a problem on an EP organ the first thing I would look for is leakage between the pouch and the primary which would allow "refill" wind to enter the channel. When the humidity goes down in the winter, and wooden parts shrink, this can (and often does) happen. It usually results in ciphers as wind leaks out. But, depending on the design of the windchest, it can cause the type of problems you describe. For starters, I would tighten every screw I could reach on the bottom and top of the windchests. If that didn't work, I'd drop the bottom boards and start tightening the pouchboard and pitman rail screws.

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    • #3
      I have only worked on one Schoenstein pipe organ, and it has UNIT chests (not pitman). Their chest design is very simple - it consists of a magnet (mounted on the bottom surface of the bottom board) one single boring thru the bottom board, and a rectangular "motor" pneumatic...one for each pipe on the chest. The rectangular note pneumatic is made in such a way as it can be mounted in one of two orientations, 180 degrees apart. The motor is leather on 3 sides of a specially machined wooden blank with an internal spring and the felt/fiber/leather pallet on the upwards facing surface. The pallet mates to the bottom of a wooden tube that is glued into the toe board.

      It may be that the note pneumatic is not collapsing squarely, thus possibly under-winding the pipes in question. It is also possible that the pneumatic is not the right size for the tube above. (pallet too large/motor too large) altho I would think that is not very likely. The fastest way for the organ's owner to resolve the problem would be to contact Jack Bethards (owner of Schoenstein), as he is quite pro-active in seeing that his instruments are well built and working properly. It may be as simple as swapping out one note pneumatic for another...you will need to tell him the Opus number for the organ (or it's location), the RANK that is having the problem and the NOTE(S) by key number (i.e. Great Open Diapason, note is C, key number 37, note is underwinded and not tuneable). They can check the chest schedule for the right size note pneumatic (they come in several sizes). If the organ is built in 2010, it is probably still under warranty (of some sort).

      Hope this helps!

      Rick in VA

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