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    Newbie here with recently-acquired Mason & Hamlyn Style442

    Evening all,

    I have recently acquired a Mason & Hamlyn "parlour" style organ which I have taken on as a project with the intentions of getting it going again.

    The organ has been left for many years in a derelict manor house (I am in the UK) which has recently been transformed by its new owners who decided the organ didn't fit in with their new decor.
    When I heard they wanted to get rid of it, I had to save it!

    I have since started dismantling parts of it in preperation for restoration.
    The ornate "crown" and music stand was the first thing to be removed, halving the size of the instrument!
    The top was then removed followed by the stop board and action, the keyboard cover, and the keys themselves.

    I have now got as far as the coupling rods and have no idea how to tackle removing them.
    Of course, they are gunked up with dust, decaying felt and a little rusty in places, and I have no idea where to start with removing them.
    One end of each rod is hooked into the wood, and the other end is clamped by some sort of tiny wooden blocks which appear to be tapped into the frame.

    How do I go about getting the rods out for cleaning?

    I have removed the whole mechanism from the organ.

    #2
    Could you supply some photos and the name of the organ which would help us see what you are dealing with. Look forward to seeing your project. Take care.

    Comment


      #3
      Here's my photo page on rebuilding one type of M&H coupler (used by other brands as well) that uses the tin clips lined with felt bushings:
      http://s82.photobucket.com/user/Somb...?sort=3&page=1

      Here is the other type of mounting, using wood bearing blocks lined with felt; these come apart by removing the screws:
      Click image for larger version

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      There are 98 screws to remove, and it's best to keep every single part in the original order. You just need a few basic tools, some thin wool felt, a wire wheel and steel wool for polishing, wax for the steel cranks, and a lot of patience.
      Casey

      Comment


        #4
        These are some great photos! You really did a nice job. So nice to see things done in a professional manner!

        Comment


          #5
          Here is my beast...
          Click image for larger version

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          This is the condition I picked the organ up in.
          Now it is in several pieces while I learn about how this thing works.

          I figured out the couplers, by the way. I had to remove each individual wooden peg which retained each rod, and then un-hook them from the other end.
          Everything is laid out in order ready for a good de-rusting and scrubbing session.

          This evening has been spent learning about the construction and mechanics of the Sub Base, where I had my first look at some reeds!

          What do people recommend to soak the reeds in prior to a gentle clean up?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Pipeorganbuilder View Post
            Could you supply some photos and the name of the organ which would help us see what you are dealing with. Look forward to seeing your project. Take care.
            As requested, here are some images of my acquisition taken as I've been dismantling it:

            Click image for larger version

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            Here is the casework in all its glory. I do love how ornate the crown on this thing is.
            Note that the veneers are peeling off everywhere. I intend to strip them all and leave the bare wood on show, whilst retaining the finish on the rest of the organ- I don't think the contrasting colours look that bad.
            The woodwork has had a bit of a clean-up with some beeswax furniture cream from the keys up- the bottom half is still as I found it.

            Click image for larger version

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            The crown has been removed, and the organ has literally halved in size!

            Click image for larger version

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            Some of the stops. This organ has 12 stops:
            -Forte Dia. Mel.
            -Octave Coupler
            -Sub Base
            -1 Diapason
            -2 Viola
            -Viola Dolce
            -Vox Humana
            -2 Flute
            -1 Melodia
            -Seraphone
            -Voix Celeste
            -Forte Vio. Fl. Ser.

            Click image for larger version

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            The stop action has been removed revealing the keys

            Click image for larger version

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            An upturned key showing the arrangement of felts above the mess collected by the rather rusty Octave Coupler!

            More in the next post:

            Comment


              #7
              Click image for larger version

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              After a clean-up following removal of the Octave Coupler, we can see the Sub Base unit, Vox Humana mechanism (it was great fun blowing into the impeller- it's like some sort of turbocharger!) and the state of the swell mechanism.

              Click image for larger version

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              The state of the bellows... oh dear!

              Click image for larger version

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              The important details:
              Style 442
              No 149539

              I assume this organ was built by M&H in the 1880s- can somebody confirm or correct me?

              Comment


                #8
                That really was a mess, but no rat nests at least!.
                Ser. no. would probably indicate 1884.
                The Vox Humana is going to sound very good on your organ; the barrel-front cases always do. The fallboard creates a chamber with the fan blades forcing the sound to exit directly through them giving the deepest trem.
                And for the timeframe, you have the most fully-featured action that they built, for the organs made for homes, anyways.
                I wish you the best luck in getting it playable, the bellows are going to be a challenge. Since the boards are solid wood, you can probably clamp an glue together, unless they are quite warped. In that case you must buy some fine 3/4" Baltic Birch plywood and cut new boards to match.
                Casey

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for working out the date- these instruments seem to have such a history!

                  I started dismantling the lower action yesterday afternoon to see if I could figure out exactly how it's all constructed.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  It all fell apart without much persuasion...

                  Click image for larger version

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                  The wood seems reasonably sound, but a couple of the springs need to be replaced along with the valves.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  The boards (including the reservoir) have all split into various segments but I am sure these can be glued back together again although I am not sure how strong this will be.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Replacing these, I think, is going to be a challenge...

                  ...any help much appreciated!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would rather replace the boards with a good grade of plywood and spend more time on the bottom boards. I have replaced veneer on several occasions and it is not hard at all to do. Apply contact cement to both services and let setup and then press together and trim to fit. Make sure you roll the new veneer down to rid the two services of air bubbles. The plywood bellow boards will be stronger than the solid wood and will not warp like it either. Go luck and keep the photos coming.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Evening.

                      Sorry for the lack of replies recently- work on the organ has slowed down significantly due to not having enough time just recently.
                      Nevertheless, I fully intend to press on with the restoration when time and materials allow.

                      Currently, I am puzzled by why about half a dozen of the pallette springs (metal strips) wont hold the valves shut or spring out of the valve carriers when the pitmens are depressed.
                      There must be some sort of micro-physics involved, but not sure what else I can do for now.

                      Also, I am thinking about sending the complete lower action off to a local organ builder/restoration company to be overhauled. I am going to ask for a quote and see just how much they would charge. At least that way they would supply the material and fit it properly.
                      If I'm put off by the price, then I may just have to perservere and see how I go...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Playin' the Piers Morgan View Post
                        Evening.

                        Sorry for the lack of replies recently- work on the organ has slowed down significantly due to not having enough time just recently.
                        Nevertheless, I fully intend to press on with the restoration when time and materials allow.

                        Currently, I am puzzled by why about half a dozen of the pallette springs (metal strips) wont hold the valves shut or spring out of the valve carriers when the pitmens are depressed.
                        There must be some sort of micro-physics involved, but not sure what else I can do for now.

                        Also, I am thinking about sending the complete lower action off to a local organ builder/restoration company to be overhauled. I am going to ask for a quote and see just how much they would charge. At least that way they would supply the material and fit it properly.
                        If I'm put off by the price, then I may just have to perservere and see how I go...
                        Regarding the pallet spring popping off, the only remedy seems to be to limit the valve travel by placing a thicker felt under the keys, or by putting a stop pad under the pallets.
                        It could be as simple as the key thumper felt becoming compressed over the century plus of playing.
                        Casey

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I've cracked it!

                          ...no, not literally- don't panic!

                          I decided to bite the bullet and take the complete upper action to my local organ builders/restorers (one of only a few in the UK who can repair reed organs- lucky me!) and the chap there had a look at my problematic pallett springs.

                          The trouble was, somehow, a lot of the springs had gone flat (they should be a nice curving shape) so he went through the whole lot re-shaping and calibrating all 61 springs.

                          It cost me a fair amount (2hrs labour charge) but it was a great help and got me out of a muddle!

                          The firm is called "Holmes & Swift" and they are based in a little industrial unit in Fakenham, Norfolk. (some of the pipe organ enthusiasts may have heard of them)

                          They can get hold of things like rubbercloth and other spares, which is handy.

                          Their website:
                          http://www.organrestoration.co.uk

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I bet that the key-touch is a lot lighter too, now that the springs are exerting much less force to close the valves. Does it cipher?
                            Casey

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