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  • Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



    Hi Folks, I got my kilgen windchest and as feared It will need total releathering. My questions are as follows: How do I test the magnets for function most are rusted and I don't want to releather only to find out that every magnet must be replaced.What is the easiest wayto get the old leather pouches off the bottom boards. Would it be cheaper for me to cut out the leather and build the pouches or should I just by the pouches with the felt and holes for the guide wires? and finally Fish Glue or Hide Glue?




    Thanks




    Chris


  • #2
    Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

    Magnets: if there are signs of rust, chances are most of them are contaminated. We went through this with our voicing machine several years ago. Faced with the prospect of cleaning all those passages, armatures and caps, I decided it would be better to replace them.

    I don't know how many total magnets you are dealing with or what style they are (early Kilgens used very different types of magnets). What you end up doing depends in part on your resources in terms of time and/or funds. Magnets can be cleaned up, reassembled and tested, so long as you are careful and have the time. You can also replace them with new Reisner style magnets if the form factor matches.

    Stripping of old leather from pouchrails typically involves several techniques and is done in stages. You should start by gentle scraping to get most of the material out, carefully removing and saving the old springs.

    The remaining pieces and residue should be removed with the careful application of a warm, damp rag. The presence of warm moisture should reactivate the old hide glue and make it easy to wipe off. This is why hide glue was used in the first place. Any stubborn glue or deposits can be worked at with more heat, or sanding, but I would only suggest that as a last resort. The application of moisture will inevitably raise the grain of the wood, and among your last steps before installing new pouches should be very careful and selective light hand sanding, and a final check of any exhaust passages to make sure they are free of debris. Many also take the time to re-size pouch wells with shellac before applying new pouches.

    Punching out pouches is tedious work and requires a good set of expensive arch punches in many sizes. Preassembled pouches will likely give you a higher chance of overall success, though you can also buy all the pouch components pre-made and assemble them yourself.

    Fish vs. Hide glues is an area of wide debate among organbuilders, and I won't presume to tell you which you should use, other than to say many builders use fish for pouches and reservoirs.

    Those who restore along strict "conservationist" lines would eschew the use of Fish over Hide. The glues have the same essential properties in that they are designed to be "re-wettable". Both are strong and tack well when used properly. Hide is available in many grades and tensile strength will vary depending on the formula and vicosity. And of course, Hide requires an electric glue pot, whereas Fish can be used straight out of the bottle. One advantage of Fish is that sets up pretty fast, which can make pouch work go faster.

    Edit: copious spelling errors!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

      [quote user="odellorgans"]Magnets: if there are signs of rust, chances are most of them are contaminated. We went through this with our voicing machine severeal years ago. Faced with the prospect of cleaning all those passages, armatures and caps, I decided it would be better to replace them.

      I don't know how many total magnets you are dealing with or what style they are (early Kilgens used very different types of magnets). What you end up doing depends in part on your resources in terms of time and/or funds. Magnets can be cleaned up, reassembled and tested, so long as you are careful and have the time. You can also replace them with new Reisner style magnets if the form factor matches.

      Stripping of old leather from pouchrails typically involves several techniques and is done in stages. You should start by gentle scraping to get most of the material out, carefully removing and saving the old springs.

      The remaining pieces and residue should be removed with the carefull application of a warm, damp rag. The presence of warm moisture should reactivate the old hyde glue and make it easy to wipe off. This is why hyde glue was used in the first place. Any stubborn glue or deposits can be wroked at with more heat, or sanding, but I would only suggest that as a last resort. The application of moisture will inevitably raise the grain of the wood, and amoung your last steps before installing new pouches should be very careful and selective light hand sanding, and a final check of any exhaust passages to make sure they are free of debris. Many also take the time to re-size pouch wells before applying new pouches.

      Punching out pouches is tedious work and requires a good set of expensive arch punches in many sizes. Preassembled pouches will likely give you a higher chance of overall success, though you can also buy all the pouch components pre-made and assemble them yourself.

      Fish vs. Hyde is an area of wide debate among organbuilders, and I won't presume to tell you which you should use, other than to say many builders use fish for pouches and reservoirs.

      Those who restore along strict "conservationist" lines would eschew the use of Fish over Hyde. The glues have the same essential properties in that they are designed to be "re-wettable". Both are strong and tack well when used properly. Hyde is available in many grades and tensile strength will vary depending on the formula and vicosity. And of course, Hyde requires an electric glue pot, whereas Fish can be used straight out of the bottle. One advantage of Fish is that sets up pretty fast, which can make pouch work go faster.[/quote]
      That's great advice Edward......sounds almost like you've built an organ before!! he he
      I would just add that our friend should be careful not to replace the old pouch leather with leather that is too thick. Some of the valves might never open again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

        I went to Columbia Organ Leathers for assembled pouches to releather
        one chest I have. They are really nice there and easier to deal
        with then Organ Supply. You can get 5 different style pouches with
        different pouch sizes and valves. Be sure to specifiy how thick you
        need the felt leather valves. I also bought some of their fish glue
        (which works great!) and some "gummed paper". The gummed paper can be
        used to seal up the spring holes on the bottom once the pouch is in
        place and dry.



        Good luck!!!



        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

          Greetings,

          Congratulations on your acquisition.

          I tend to favor the dry method when removing leather when possible. If I need to take off rubber cloth (which has a tendency to delaminate) then I will use the wet method instead. Normally though, I just rub a razor blade back and forth to remove the leather (being careful not to slice into the wood grain) so that no chunks of leather are left. It's not necessary to remove any more than that (bare wood) because it will only help you to install the new pouches when you reactivate the old glue.

          If you can strip the bottom rail down so that it is completely flat, you might also be able to remove the leathers and then lightly sand the board with a random orbit sander.

          As far as fish vs/ hide glue goes - I like them both. Both can be reactivated with water, making them ideal for restoration work. The advantage to fish glue is that it is a cold glue and therefore requires no glue pot, plus it's ready to go. However, you'll need to wash your brush with water from time to time to free up the bristles. On the other hand, hot glue is quite versatile because you mix it yourself, allowing you to vary the consistency of the glue to suit your desired drying time; thinner for faster drying, thicker for slower. It really doesn't make much of a difference which you use.

          Best,

          Nate

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

            Varying the viscosity of hide glue will affect its final tensile strength. The foremost authority can be found here.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



              I did a Kilgen years ago using hide glue. I think the leather pouches were already cut fromReisner (OSI). Columbia is good too. You can get them set up with punchings in the middle to attach the pallet wire. You might need new pallets if they are water damaged and hard - it may leak and be noisy as the valve closes. Dont lose the springs. Just use a damp rag or sponge to dampen the glue and it will come right off. Use hide or fish glue. Never use white glue.




              The magnets are brass and can be easily removed. Both endsunscrew out of the body which is pressed in the board. Ohmmeter them and replace the bad ones. Don't take them out just to clean. Unscrew the vent and take out thearmature. You can probably get new armatures from OSI. Just use a vacuum and brush and a little compressed air. I dont think you have rust on the outside as brass doesnt rust.




              We just removed a Kilgen / Wurlitzer organ from a local church. The Kilgen relay and some chestwork are still there if you are interested. La, Calif area.




              I'm doing a Moller chest nowthat has some water damage using fish glue. It works fine at room temperature.




              AL

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



                Thanks for the info, The magnets are the screw in type that have the round port at the bottom. They do not match the ones that organ supply has. I will check a couple to night with the ohm meter and see what they come out to. The part that is rusted is the U shapedpiece that the wire is wrapped around. The wire does not apper to be rusted though. At the very leastI guess i could wire the magnets up and try to listenfor the brass valve to drop when deactivated with my Stethescope. The pouches for the most part all seem to be the same size on each bottom board. They are about 2 inches in diameter and aside from the larger 8' pipes most of the pallets are close to the same size.




                My resivoir does not have a regulator in itand is a floating one. Is this normal for a kilgen and how would I regulate it? I figured I would just throw some bricks on it till i get to about 4.5" of wind, which should allow for the action and 4" of wind for the pipe work.




                So i guess i will attempt to restore the kilgen action, even though it weighs a ton. They sure did use some heavy thick lumber. I will probably be looking for some fill in pipes and some other ranks to extend some of the stops such as 2' principal, and a Haskeled 16' Principal. But that will be in the future. Mean time i need to get my organ guy from canada to get my console fully functional.




                Thanks for the help I am sure I wil have more questions as the time goes on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



                  Re the regulator or resevoir, it almost certainly controls the pressure with either a curtain or series of pallet valves. You need a balance of spring tension and some weight to have it stable and to get it to trem properly. Too much weight and it may become unstable and oscillate. More info at the following: http://atos.stirlingprop.com/knowbase.htm




                  Al

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



                    Hi AL, I will have to see if the regulator is in the pile of stuff. I am not that concerned however with a trem as i tend not to use them at all. and upon looking at the resivoir again i found it is not a floating top it has wood slats on all four sides to guide it up and down.




                    Also I checked some of the kilgen magnets and am unable obtain an Ohms reading nor get them to lift the little metal pallets underneath with 12 volt DC. Is it possible that they use AC not DC or a larger voltage such as 24VDC?




                    Very Discouraging night definetly rethinking restoration at this point and going to direct electric. But we shall see the tests shall continue. Mean time I will continue to practicce on the crappy allen at church and my Haupwerk Organ.




                    Thanks




                    Chris

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

                      Be of good courage and try not to feel overwhelmed. A project like this will take time.

                      If you are not getting any readings on your magnets, check the following:

                      1. Make sure yor meter is set for the correct range and is calibrated. Most organ magnets are under 150 ohms. Auto-ranging DVMs will often take a sec to read lower values.

                      2. Check your connection points and make sure you have solid contact. In addition to natural oxidation, organbuilders in the old days often used flux when soldering which leaves a nasty non-conducting residue on escutcheon pins. I would carefully scrape down to fresh metal at your contact points if all else fails.

                      AC power would be a definite no. DC higher than 15v would be unlikely. Most old selenium rectifiers only had an output range from 10 to 15VDC.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ



                        I suspect poor connections rather than open magnets. What wind pressure do you desire?That will determine whether you need to use DE or EP. Above 4" pressure DE is not reliable.For low pressure I would use DE. The expense of leather and magnets is more than DE valves. Plus they're easy to mount. You could also put a Midi interface rank driver board inside so you dont have to run all the wiring outside. I have several extra almost new Rogers chests that are that way.




                        Al

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

                          [quote user="al"]

                          I suspect poor connections rather than open magnets. What wind pressure do you desire?That will determine whether you need to use DE or EP. Above 4" pressure DE is not reliable.For low pressure I would use DE. The expense of leather and magnets is more than DE valves. Plus they're easy to mount. You could also put a Midi interface rank driver board inside so you dont have to run all the wiring outside. I have several extra almost new Rogers chests that are that way.




                          Al

                          [/quote]
                          Hey Al........
                          I don't understand why you say ..."above 4" pressure DE is not reliable".....I've been around many organs on 5-7 inches, all DE that never gave a problem. In fact, Wicks sells a high pressure magnet that's tested up to 32". I haven't seen one of those yet but it's advertised on their web site.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

                            Perhaps a poor choice of words. I would disagree with not reliable, and instead say less practical.

                            Proper performance of electromechanical action on a given pressure is a function of the pressure and pallet size vs. the input voltage.

                            The larger the pallet and higher the wind pressure, the greater the voltage required to open it. Most organ control systems and switching are designed around an operating range of 12 to 15VDC, and if you look at the performace curve for the actions, it tends to peak at around 4" to 5" pressure for a 1" pallet when running in the "nominal" 15VDC range. It is for this reason you see diode matrix switching often employed in Wicks and other electromechanical organs: unlike a microprocessor control system, diode matrix systems are much more tolerant of a need to raise input voltages.

                            I am certian in order to get an electromechanical action to function at 32" WG, much higher voltages were required. The physics involved just would not alow it otherwise. I recall I worked on such a project for a major bulder involving a high-pressure chamade many years ago and we employed high-voltage DC switching in order to make it work.

                            Some systems can handle up to 40VDC, but then of course you are talking about getting into specialty power supplies, heavier wiring, using multiple valves to get sufficient excursion, etc. As a builder I would see this as an area of dimishing returns and would choose electropneumatic.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Re-leathering a Kilgen 4 rank organ

                              [quote user="odellorgans"]
                              Hey Al........
                              I don't understand why you say ..."above 4" pressure DE is not reliable".....I've been around many organs on 5-7 inches, all DE that never gave a problem. In fact, Wicks sells a high pressure magnet that's tested up to 32". I haven't seen one of those yet but it's advertised on their web site.
                              Perhaps a poor choice of words. I would disagree with reliable, and instead say less practical.

                              Proper performance of electromechanical action on a given pressure is a function of the pressure and pallet size vs. the input voltage.

                              The larger the pallet and higher the wind pressure, the greater voltage required to open it. Most organ control systems and switching are designed around an operating range of 12 to 15VDC, and if you look at the performace curve for the actions, it tends to peak at around 4" to 5" pressure for a 1" pallet when running on the 15VDC range. It's one of the reasons you see diode matric switching in Wicks organs: unlike a microprocessor control system, diode matrix systems are much more tolerant when the need arises to raise input voltages.

                              I am certian in order to get an electromechanical action to function at 32" WG, much higher voltages were required. I worked on such a project for a major bulder involving a high-pressure chamade many years ago.

                              Some systems can handle up to 40VDC, but then of course you are talking about getting into specialty power supplies, heavier wiring, using multiple valves to get sufficient excursion, etc. As a builder I see this as an area of dimishing returns and would choose electropneumatic.[/quote]
                              Edward I totally agree. a 32" DE is not going to be as practical as EP. My main point was that DE is reliable at 4, 5,6 inches.

                              Comment

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