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Organ Pipe Cleaning/Disinfecting

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  • Organ Pipe Cleaning/Disinfecting

    In a few months, I will be "rescuing" a few ranks of pipes from an idle organ which has been compromised/inhabited by wild beasts–namely, raccoons and/or mice. Before I even attempt to bring them into my garage, I first want to be sure there are no leftovers or smell. Raccoons in my area are known to have roundworm in their feces, as well as ticks, fleas, etc. Someone had removed some of the pipes and stored them horizontally, which made nice homes for the raccoons. I realize some of the pipes might be past restoration at this point. Oh, and I think some of the pipes may have been Haskelled pipes.

    For the pipe ranks that remain usable, what is the best method for cleaning/bathing the pipes of the organ? Would a submersible bath work for the metal pipes? What would be added to the liquid to remove the extras (including smell)? What about the wood pipes? On the farm we used to dip our barrels in creosote to disinfect them and preserve them. It also removed the smell of rotten potatoes in some barrels. Would that work on pipes?

    Thanks in advance for any help and ideas you can provide.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

  • #2
    Lordy, Lordy, Michael! You're getting into a weird area here. Your wife may want to stage an intervention!

    Seriously, can these pipes be worth all that work and the risk of getting some deadly disease or stinking up your brand new garage? If this were an historic organ being preserved, I can understand how someone might go to great lengths to rescue the pipes, but a garden variety abandoned pipe organ doesn't seem to be a candidate for the kind of extreme measures you are talking about. After all, rather clean and decent little pipe organs (like the 12-ranker my own church reluctantly removed and gave away a few years ago) are available quite often, which have not been inhabited by nasty and dangerous wildlife!

    Last year we had to do an extensive restoration of a rather large Allen MOS organ that had been nearly ruined when squirrels got into the speaker chambers and ate up the speaker cones and chewed up much of the wiring, then one of them died up there. It was a real mess! While we were able to sweep up all the mess, at least well enough to put on our haz-mat clothes and stay in there long enough to install new wires and speaker cones, we refused to bring home any of the damaged hardware, even though the re-do of the installation resulted in some nice HC-12 cabinets and some S-100 amps being made redundant. I just couldn't stomach the notion of hauling home those nasty units that squirrels had slobbered and peed and pooped all over!

    Ok, rant over. But I sure would think long and hard before even picking up the stuff. It's going to stink up your trailer, and you run the risk of contamination just going to look at it, much less handling it.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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    • #3
      Wow! EPA will love your comment on using Creosote now days. I also grew up soaking things in it years ago and it worked great but not now days. Lol

      Michael

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      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Ideas, Michael?

        Michael

    • #4
      So far, the original question remains unanswered (other than to scrap the pipes). What about the ranks that are still relatively OK?

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

      Comment


      • #5
        Michael,

        I have in the past used Pine -Sol mixed strong in warm water and washed the pipes down. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves and dry the pipes with old towels. I have even used bleach in water to wash the wood pipes down. Don't mean drown them but wash with a rag and quickly dry. You are not wanting to eat from the pipes--just get their leftover off of them and destroy the smell. Once there was a church up in the mountains that the console smelled so bad that I had to take the time and vacuum and Pine-Sol the keyboards and anything that I could reach. The smell was gone by the next Sunday morning and everyone was happy. Hope this works for you.

        Michael 2

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you, Michael2.

          Michael1

      • #6
        Remember, wooden pipes may well have been glued with hide glue - this does not like more than the briefest contact with water. What about some form of fumigation. I'm sure there will be commercial products available. You will have to improvise some sort of chamber and maybe a fan to circulate the vapours around. Sounds like a fun project to me.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Excellent information! I never thought about the hide glue, but it makes sense. The organ was manufactured in the mid-1960s.

          Michael

      • #7
        All good points. Remember the hide glue is protected by the finish that is applied after the pipe is glued together. When I say wash the pipes I had in mind of using a damp cloth and never soaking the pipe. You should have this taken care fairly easy and then quickly follow up with a dry towel after doing each pipe. Has worked for me.

        Michael

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