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Kilgen restoration / installation cost

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  • Kilgen restoration / installation cost

    This 1926 Kilgen 3/19 is for sale on Craigslist in Wichita for $2500. https://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/msg/5188999329.html

    It needs major restoration and replacement of some pipes and probably the wiring/relays and maybe even the console. Can anyone estimate the cost of restoration and installation in a home or church? Is an organ this unified and in this shape even worth restoring?

  • #2
    The cost could easily be $200,000--$250,000.

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    • #3
      Anything in this shape sure would cost a fortune to repair. Then it might not hold up in the various parts. It has been said on here "burn it with fire, " which I would sure agree on this one.

      James
      Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
      Baldwin Spinet 58R
      Lowrey Spinet SCL
      Wurlitzer 4100A
      Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois


      Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

      Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
      Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
      Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models

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      • #4
        Not to mention that a 1926 organ from almost any builder, especially Kilgen, likely is tubby and has poor ensemble, unless it's been revoiced and pipes changed. Given that it's 3 manuals and only 19 ranks, I doubt if it was updated tonally. Best to stay far, far away...
        R, Bill

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        • #5
          The Kilgen chest design was one of the simplest and fastest of the organs. The chest in photos are the unit design meaning there is a magnet for each pipe making it very easy to configure to what you want. The relays are a real dog to restore but again, most of use are using electronic switching. The chest are real easy to releather. Is this something you would be interested in doing yourself?

          The price is a little too high but probably could be bought for half that price. The console parts(stop tabs) could be used on a nice gutted 3 manual Allen organ. Bottom line is how much do you want to do yourself. Good luck.

          Mike

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          • #6
            "Estimate the cost of restoration and installation...." No. Can't do it, not without seeing the organ first hand and the room into which it is to be installed. It also depends on the style of restoration. A thorough, complete restoration like Nelson Barden Associates or Foley - Baker would do or a duct tape and dryer hose restoration? Suffice to say you should have ample funds set aside for such a project.

            A couple things I'd like to point out; Storing those big metal pipes horizontally is a no no. They get oval over time and then they don't work right (otherwise the storage looks pretty good). The quality of Kilgen flue pipes is marvelous. The reeds, no so much. That's one of the determining factors - how much corrosion there is in them. Sometimes it gets so bad that the only thing left to do is melt them down.

            In my opinion organs like this should be restored to their original tonal condition as much as possible. It may be advantageous to add to the foundations a bit - a non-unified octave and superoctave and perhaps a mixture, scaled according to the original 8' ranks - but trying to "baroqueise" one is pointless. If you want to play baroque music, do it on a different organ. Learn to play the music that organs like this were designed for. In that regard they are wonderful instruments.

            The chests on Kilgens have the action on the bottom boards. Drop one and the entire action is right there. The chests are all poplar too - hard wood - they don't get as banged up as all those sugar pine chests and tend not to corrode the toes of metal pipes. The only flaw with this is when humidity changes drastically and the wells expand or contract. This causes the valves to open more or less, changing the tuning. And yes, I know this from experience. I built a 25 rank organ out of three small Kilgens of this approximate vintage.

            I hope somebody picks this organ up and sets it up right. It has potential. If I was wealthy....

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            • #7
              Ok, thanks for the advice. Looks like I should hold out for a better one.

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              • #8
                depending on the transportation cost, a guestimate would be in the range of $145,000 to relocate, rebuild, new solid-state control and console systems, new support structure (assuming that the organ would need to be physically reconfigured to fit the new space it was going into). Not a tough type of chest to re-leather, but Kilgen relay and console equipment should be tossed and new solid-state installed.

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