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    Help with moving a collection of organ pipes

    I have recently acquired a Rodgers 250DM. This is a hybrid organ which is both electronic and pneumatic. It has two wind chests of approximately 2 feet by 4 feet that need to have the pipes removed for transport. So, forgive me if I seem to ask silly questions, but Im told the only really silly question is the one you fail to ask.

    Does anyone know if Rodgers marked the individual pipes / wind chests, or do I need to come up with a system to mark or index each so I can reassemble them correctly? Do I need to build up trays to move these or can they be individually wrapped? Im thinking because of their small diameter, they may be more durable to move than larger pipes.If trays would be needed, what would be an inexpensive way to build them. And how many? I think they would only be used twice. Once to move them to my residence. And after I croak! ha ha.

    I am only moving from Plymouth, MI to Battle Creek and will be doing so in my own truck. I have already moved the organ console, but still have the pipes and a large number of big Rodgers speakers to move. Any suggestions, or links to pubs or videos greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks. Click image for larger version

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    #2
    I'll try to help you. This is going to be a rather long reply, but if you follow these guidelines, you'll be in good shape.

    Materials you'll need: Several rolls of 1" wide, good quality masking tape. Some one X six boards (Home Depot - Lowe's - etc.) Some 1/4" masonite. Lots of soft terry cloth rags. That should get you started on your pipe crates.

    Plan ahead, measuring your door widths, so you'll know the maximum width you can build your pipe crates. Measure the longest pipe of each set of pipes on the windchest. This will be the interior length of the pipe crate. Looking at what you have there, you'll be safe in building two crates. The dimension of the crates should be the length of the longest pipe fitting inside the crate, and the width should be just shy of your doorway dimensions. Cut up your 1 X 6 boards to make up the walls of the crate. Cut up the masonite for the bottom of the crate, making sure you can nail the bottom onto the underside of the crate walls. After you've done that, cut a couple of pieces of the 1 X 6 boards the width of the bottom of the crate, and space these apart and nail them thru the masonite and into the bottom of the walls of the crate. These pieces will act as a reinforcement grid underneath the crate, and also give you a bit of room to put your fingers underneath the crate to lift it.

    Looking at the first windchest you want to remove (unrack) the pipes, choose the stop that has the longest set of pipes. That will be your first stop to remove. You want to lay down a long strip of masking tape on the front row of pipes facing you, and also on the second row of pipes, because the second row is also part of the same stop. So carefully dust off the top of the chest in those two areas, so your masking tape will stick to the wood top of the windchest, but be very careful to not bump into the mouths of the pipes. Once you have the two rows stuck down adjacent to the pipe toes, you are ready to remove that stop, pipe by pipe. Cut or tear off short lengths of masking tape that you will stick to the feet of each pipe. Starting with the longest pipe, remove it from the chest and stick on a small piece of tape to it's foot and label it number one. Then also label on the strip of masking tape stuck down to the windchest, number one, right in front of the rack hole where the pipe stood. Go the the second row (which is the next longest pipe) and label it number two, and write number two on the tape stuck down on the wind chest. You proceed this way, labeling each pipe and each rack hole all the way up to the top note on the chest.

    After you fill the entire bottom of the crate with a layer of pipes, you can continue filling the crate laying a second layer of pipes on top the bottom layer. If you want to put in some cushioning between the two layers, you can use news paper to do that. If you put the pipes into the crate, where the tops or toes of the pipes touch the end of the crate, you will eventually have enough open room at the opposite end of the crate to fill it with the shorter pipes in the stop, or even the shorter pipes from other stops. As long as you are careful to label each pipe with a number and it's windchest hole with the same number, you can indiscriminately fill the crates with pipes.

    THE BIG NO - NO RULE! Always lay the pipes in the crate with their mouths turned up where you can see them. And don't stack any pipes on top of the mouths of other pipes.

    You have several multiple rows of small pipes on the top ends of these chests. This is where the builder took advantage of the larger area of the chest, and doubled back on a stop. If you continue to work your way through each row of pipes, labeling each pipe with it's next number, and labeling the same number on the tape stuck down beside that chest hole, you'll be able to put each pipe back exactly where it originally was planted on the chest.

    Once you have emptied the chests, you will have the legs or bearers the chests are riding on. Since these components are not pipework, you can start a new series of numbers for these components. Be sure to label each component with a number, and its mounting spot with a duplicate number, so you'll be able to fit it back to the same place. If you have the time during disassembly, tape down the mounting screws of that component to it, so you have the correct screws to remount it later.

    Windlines are usually mounted with a screw down clamp. Try to label each end of the wind line so you know which end fits to it's mating flange. Sometimes a wind line is glued inside a wooden flange. If this is the case, unscrew the flange, leaving the glue joint undisturbed. If you have the time to label the flange, write the number on the inside surface of the flange where it cannot be seen, once put back together. If you write the number on one side of the flange, then write it's corresponding number on the same side of the inlet hole, so the flange will go back in the same position it was originally screwed down. That will save you extra frustration with wind leaks, once you start putting things back together.

    Wiring connections: Here, again, you can start a new series of numbers, since pipe numbers and component numbers are different, so too, are the wiring numbers. You may be lucky enough to find all electrical connections done in plugs, rather than hard wired. In either case, as you disconnect wires, label each connection so you'll know where it goes back together. There is usually a stray wire here and there, and when you find such, wrap a piece of masking tape around the severed end of the wire and label it. You might find a composition book a great aid in this case, where you can write down a label number in it, and describe where it hooks up to.

    Hopefully, you have already labeled all the cables that disconnected from the console. Before you start ;pulling cables from the old console location, label those ends with the words..."console end".

    As you load your truck, try to put your pipe crates in an area where nothing will fall onto the crates and damage the pipework. The pipes are the most delicate part of the entire instrument, and if you feel the least bit shy about the crates sharing a space where they are in danger of being damaged, don't feel committed to moving them with the rest of the load. A few damaged pipe mouths, in the hands of a pipe voicer can cost you more than a second trip to the church, moving the pipes by themselves.

    Very best wishes on your new acquisition. Jay999.

    Comment


    • searchinferu
      searchinferu commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jay. I was at the church today, removing the reservoirs, blowers and associated plumbing and believe I have all that annotated in a manner that will allow reassembly without too much difficulty. All connections to the wind chests were in the form of cards with the cable wires soldered to them. I had a bit of a problem removing two similar cards from the console the previous work day, so I gave Jbird a jingle.. They were in pretty solid, but he gave me the confidence to be persistent and they finally came out. I sprayed the five cards on the wind chests two days ago with deoxit and all but one came out without any problem.

      All cables have been pulled through 3 inch conduit and Im worried about getting a carded end stuck somewhere as I endeavor to remove them. Making matters worse are the cables running to the amps have those nasty little metal can connectors. Left over from Rodgers Trio no doubt!
      But Im thinking I may have to cut them off on one end so all these smaller cables can be pulled through without a risk of binding up somewhere. Then, I hope I can get those two big cables with the console connectors worked out of the conduit. I have a thought to attach a line to one end so that if the cable catches somewhere, I can pull it back and try again. Fishing season is over, so maybe I"ll bring my pole to work with me. Ha ha.

      Again, many thanks. I've been working on organs for a while now, but never had the chance to see a pipe organ decommissioned before. Guess I am now. Wish me luck

    #3
    I do wish you the very best of luck in that project. And yes, Deoxit is really good stuff to use, as you're using it, as well as a good contact deoxidizer.

    If it were me, I'd disconnect those cards from the cables rather than pulling them thru the conduit. If you're not good with a soldering iron yet, you will be by the time you get through making all those hard wired connections. As I had suggested before, if you label everything you will be able to put it back together without confusion. If something there is just too complicated to label, a composition book is a great place to write down details. I've taken many a pipe organ apart and put back together, using a numbering system and writing down details in a composition book. It's a great way to approach your storage space, filled with a mountain of pieces and parts, and make sense of everything that's there.

    For the sake of being extremely careful with your pipework (keeping all the mouths clear of anything being laid on top of them) you might want to build a third crate, just to be sure you only lay one more row of pipes on top of the bottom row. The extremely small pipes can form a third row without hurting anything.

    Very good wishes!

    Comment


      #4
      Don't slide smaller pipes into larger pipes you may damage the languid. When you cut the wire from the card, leave a foot or so connected to the card that way you can match the cable colors. unsolder and solder only one wire at a time.
      Regards
      Pat

      Comment


        #5
        I appreciate all the help folks. It is definitely a steep learning curve for this old fool. Ha ha.

        Comment


          #6
          I have helped an organ tech remove pipes from chambers to do work on the organ, but I just followed his direction. However, a few pictures on your phone may also be of help later. Good luck. (from another Michigander)

          Bill
          Bill

          My home organ: Content M5800

          Comment


          • searchinferu
            searchinferu commented
            Editing a comment
            Evening Voet. West Michigan? I am in Battle Creek myself. Although Tony the Tiger seems no longer in residence. Perhaps he had too much of the frosted flakes?

          #7
          Originally posted by searchinferu View Post
          I have recently acquired a Rodgers 250DM. This is a hybrid organ which is both electronic and pneumatic. It has two wind chests of approximately 2 feet by 4 feet that need to have the pipes removed for transport. So, forgive me if I seem to ask silly questions, but Im told the only really silly question is the one you fail to ask.

          Does anyone know if Rodgers marked the individual pipes / wind chests, or do I need to come up with a system to mark or index each so I can reassemble them correctly? Do I need to build up trays to move these or can they be individually wrapped? Im thinking because of their small diameter, they may be more durable to move than larger pipes.If trays would be needed, what would be an inexpensive way to build them. And how many? I think they would only be used twice. Once to move them to my residence. And after I croak! ha ha.

          I am only moving from Plymouth, MI to Battle Creek and will be doing so in my own truck. I have already moved the organ console, but still have the pipes and a large number of big Rodgers speakers to move. Any suggestions, or links to pubs or videos greatly appreciated.

          Many thanks. Click image for larger version

Name:	71761289_2039362329497867_3153382443470290944_n.jpg
Views:	104
Size:	100.6 KB
ID:	668138
          Click image for larger version

Name:	71767895_2039360359498064_5102527044361650176_n.jpg
Views:	104
Size:	57.6 KB
ID:	668135Click image for larger version

Name:	71085014_2039360339498066_9162997045919744000_n.jpg
Views:	118
Size:	59.8 KB
ID:	668134Click image for larger version

Name:	71085014_2039360339498066_9162997045919744000_n.jpg
Views:	98
Size:	59.8 KB
ID:	668136
          hopefully this will be simple enough and not too verbose.

          When I move a pipe organ (I am in the trade and do this as part of my business relocating pipe organs) I build trays if I need more than I have on hand. I use 3/8 or 1/2 inch plywood for the bottom (cut 2' wide by 6' long -- make sure this will fit in the bed of your truck), and for the sides I use 5 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch by 8 foot. 2 boards cut to 6' long and the cut off cut to fit between the 2 sides...so 2 boards per tray. My rule of thumb is one tray for a rank that is 4-foot pitch or higher for open pipes, 8' pitch stoppered pipes will require 2 trays. I set the end pieces in about the thickness of a 2x4. This gives you a lip to handle the trays going thru doors...pick the trays up by the lip rather than around to the sides.

          Rodgers bought pipes from a number of suppliers over the years and they even had their own pipe shop for a while. They should be stamped near the foot seam/body seam on the back side of the pipes...the woods may have the note stamped in the block lower lip or sometimes about half way up the body. It is my practice on display chests to make a map OR use blue painters tape on the rackboards to remind the installer in which order the pipes go. I also use blue painters tape to cover the toe holes to keep dirt out of the chests when they are being transported and installed. Dirt is one of the greatest enemies of pipe organs so it's prudent to take measures to keep it OUT of the windchests.

          depending on how long the pipes may be in the trays, I will lay down a furniture blanket (I use the half-size blankets from Harbor Freight...they're cheap enough that I don't mind letting them be in storage for a while). Start with the longest pipe in a given rank and place them chromatically (that is: C, C#, D, D# etc)across the width of the tray. Once you have the full width used, you canstart a second row at the other end of the tray (especially if you have 6 foot long trays). Once you have pipes packed across the width at both ends of the chest, secure the smaller (treble) pipes with blue painters tape across the FEET so they do not roll around. STAY AWAY from the mouth of the pipes...if they get damaged the pipes will not speak correctly and this is an expensive repair to have made by a professional pipe maker (this is definitely NOT a DIY repair).

          it's the same process for the stoppered woods. Take your time and things will go well. DRIVE CAREFULLY!! a sudden stop has been known to make pipes slide around and this is a potential cause of damage. Do NOT nest small pipes inside of large pipes...that is asking for trouble. You can wrap the smaller pipes if you want to...I would say to NOT use newspaper (blank newsprint is OK if you can find it) as the acids in newspaper ink has been known to etch an image into metal pipes when they are in long-term storage.
          Spotted metal pipes are somewhat prone to this problem. You can use brown butcher's paper to wrap pipes it you really want to do the labor, but it isn't really necessary unless you expect the pipes to be bounced around in transit. if they are carefully packed there will be minimal abrasion from pipes rubbing against each other.

          As far as the electrical is concerned...Rodgers usually used a multiplex type system to control the pipes. The signal was sent by co-axial cable with a connector similar to a bnc type connector. I am somewhat anal about marking things as they are disconnected (blue painters tape is your friend) or disassembled especially if it is possible that someone else is going to have to reconnect things later.

          Good luck with your move, and let us know how it went.

          Rick in VA

          Comment


          • searchinferu
            searchinferu commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Rick. I have used a paint pen to mark all the cables and the sockets. So that should not be a problem for even a simpleton like myself. The main two cables from the organ run through conduit and I have been working to remove it with the cable. Not sure the boards at their ends will pull through the elbows, but have managed to sneak them through the straight sections. Im really hoping I can keep the boards on the cables. as my sodering skills would not be up to the task of reattaching them. Would have to send the cables out to get them rebuilt I suppose. Perhaps someone who restores old radios or?
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