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What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

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  • What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



    In this day and age it seems replacing rather than restoring is the norm or is it? I would be interested in knowing of such builders.




    Regards,




    Craig


  • #2
    Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



    I have heard that the following firms do sensitive restoration of Aeolian-Skinner organs:




    http://www.thompson-allen.com/




    http://www.gouldingandwood.com/




    There are probably others. Good luck in your noble cause!




    [Y]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

      One  of the above named firms is known to specialize in Skinner restoration. I would point out in the normal skill-set of the organbuilder there is nothing terribly unique in the restoration of Skinner instruments.  Some are simply more dogmatic in their approach than others.  

      One of my last projects in Hartford was the restoration of the four manual Skinner organ for Westminster Presbyterian in Albany, New York.  It was a large project as I personally was responsible for the console, mechanical design (the organ had been moved and had to be re-erected) and installation.  There is an extensive article discussing the project in last year's OHS "Organ Atlas".

      Certainly restoration as we know it today is more carefully and professionally considered than it ever was in years past. There also has been a considerable exchange of information on techniques in the AIO in recent years.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



        So it appears that a competent organ builder who is skillful in the restoration of pitman chests and electro-pneumatic organs in general should, with adequate sensitivity, be just fine for a Skinner or Aeolian-Skinner project. Makes sense!




        [D]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

          All of the organ builders I know are quailified to restore a Skinner. Just check their track record with restoration projects. Believe me, word gets around really quickly with a less-than-adequate rebuild.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

            Schantz is supposed to be good at restoring Skinners, http://www.schantzorgan.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

              Ken Holden is also really good, but I don't know how long he's going to keep working.

              In my opinion, mechanically, Skinners aren't that complicated (except the combination action). There are a lot of actions that are waaay more complicated. I would be very careful though if any tonal work is going to be done.

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              • #8
                Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



                [quote user="MenchenStimme"] So it appears that a competent organ builder who is skillful in the restoration of pitman chests and electro-pneumatic organs in general should, with adequate sensitivity, be just fine for a Skinner or Aeolian-Skinner project. Makes sense![/quote]




                There are two words being tossed about in this thread: "restoration" and "sensitive".




                Aproper "restoration" (in the truest sense of the word) would not need the qualifying word "sensitive". I think of a sensitive or sympathetic rebuild as one which is careful; however itis not asexacting asa restoration.




                For a restoration I would go with Thompson-Allen or Nelson Barden.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

                  [quote user="soubasse32"]


                  There are two words being tossed about in this thread: "restoration" and "sensitive".




                  A proper "restoration" (in the truest sense of the word) would not need the qualifying word "sensitive".  I think of a sensitive or sympathetic rebuild as one which is careful; however it is not as exacting as a restoration.




                  For a restoration I would go with Thompson-Allen or Nelson Barden.

                  [/quote]

                  With all due respect, this is a hair-splitting argument.  ATA and Barden more or less made their reputations doing museum-quality restorations for which their clients paid a very hefty premium.

                   Though some would not like to believe it, it is possible to do a faithful restoration without hiring either of the above named firms.  One may respect their work, but even they would admit their approach is not for everyone.  Also, it is no secret that Barden farms out much of his work. 






                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

                    Odellorgans has it right for Skinner restoration specialists on the East Coast. I would also recommend Ed Stout on the West Coast. Ed has considerable experience in the maintenance and restoration of Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner organs. The comment that any competent organ firm would do a competent restoration of a Skinner organ may or may not be true, depending on who it is and their level of experience. I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) to have seen some of the restoration and maintenance work done on Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner organs by those whose interest is the bottom line at the expense of the organ they're working on. That compels me to recommend that any restoration work done on these organs be supervised by one of these experts, either in their shops, or as consultants with strong advocacy mandates from the organ owners to specify the level of quality in the restoration. Let's face it people, there are no more Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner organs being built, and even if there were, very often the materials, skills and equipment that went into these fabulous organs simply don't exist any more. For example, where do you find 32' lengths of clear pine for Bombards and Open Woods? Let's take care of our heritage! I would invite anyone who wonders what all the fuss is about to visit the Skinner in Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco and have Robert Gurney, the DOM, show you what it can do. The experience will be revelational, as it was for me. Unfortunately, the organ is currently out of commission while the console is being rebuilt, but should be back in service by late fall. Girard College would also be a wonderful experience, as well as Woolsey Hall.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



                      Two more names:




                      Quimby




                      John Hendriksen-Aeolian-Skinner







                      Quimby used Hendriksen on the Reorganized LDS in Independence-John Obetz then organist




                      Hendriksen was formerly Head Flue Voicer at Skinners 1964-1971 and acquired legal title to the




                      Aeolian-Skinner name in 1983




                      Quimby and Hendriksen together rebuilt the mess at 1st Baptist Jackson ,Miss that was a 4m 1940 Skinner&Son




                      that was enlarged to V-231 in a very disastrous rebuild by a firm outside the USA and then Quimby rebuilt




                      it as a V-155 with Hendriksen doing all of or most of the flues ala EMS







                      Quimby is restoring the St John The Divine NYC IV-141 minus the State trumpet being done by Douglass Hunt for 2008




                      Hendriksen under Quimby did a faithful restoration of the 1912 Grand Ave Methodist EM Skinner in Kansas City.




                      Schantz is doing a restoration plus same-style additions to the U of Chicago 1927 Skinner at 2.5 million USD.







                      Goulding&Wood are doing a rebuild-expansion-restoration at East Liberty Pres in Pittsburgh going from




                      126 to 140 ranks.




                      Schoenstein restored and added a new console and tuba major on 25 inches at Grace Cathedral San Francisco




                      where the 1974 Apse Casavant Bombarde section has been totally silenced and disconnected it not blending




                      with the Skinner chancel organ installed originally under Harrison although sold by Skinner in 1933-34.







                      Austin restored the Hollywood High Skinner. Wicks has a huge Skinner that they will restore for a prospective




                      client at 850k USD.







                      Dobson has been instructed to remove all of the Washington Skinner save the 32s and French Horn and some reeds and




                      quietly part out the old with strict orders NOT to tell that they are ex-DC cathedral pipes.





                      Holtkamp added 5 ranks and a new knob console on the 1930-59 Aeolian-Skinner in Cleveland Church of The




                      Covenant.













                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



                        Greetings,





                        Boy am I glad I missed this thread! LOL (C:





                        - Nathan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



                          Does anyone here have experience of the 1928 EMS at Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Chicago? How does this instrument rate in comparison to other Skinners?




                          I only ask because it's an organ that I play regularly at home (courtesy of Hauptwerk).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?



                            Pipewrangler,




                            You are absolutelyright about the E. M. Skinner at Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco. I had the pleasure of playing that organ regularly back in the mid-1960s when I was a student of Harold Mueller. What a stunning instrument it is, and only a master organ builder should be allowed to touch it!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What Builders Do Restoration Of Ernest Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner Instruments?

                              Greetings,


                                   Just to make a brief point, I think there is something to be said for the huge wealth of experience that the Skinner specialists have amassed over the last 40-50 years or so - this is not to say that other builders can't do it, but that you just can't help to really intimately know the ins-and-outs of the Skinner/A-S actions when that's your lifes' work for so long - particularly when it comes to those Skinner designs which appreciably differ from other builders - like double-primaries, player mechanisms, switching equipment, etc...

                                   This is the same reason why it's probably a good idea to consider Austin for releathering an Austin organ.

                                   As for the "hefty premium", I'm not sure that is really a fair characterization, but suffice it to say that very smart people from various Churches and organizations have made well-informed decisions to have these restorations performed.  As to the approach, it doesn't seem to me to be anything controversial or special; rather it's just leaving the organ alone as it was.

                                    Best,

                                            Nathan

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