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1899 Kimball Parlor Organ

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks - I understand. I'll have to pluck with this more. The problem may be even worse since I'm planning to try dust collection hose.

    On edit - Well, there's not room to put it on top where I mounted the flange, and there's not even room to mount it on the BOTTOM of the foundation board. This suggests mounting it on the back of the organ. That won't be too beautiful... but it would solve the problem.

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  • SubBase
    replied
    The problem will be when you try to use the bellows, and the flex hose "absorbs" some of the wind that could be used for the reeds. The closer the valve is to what it is trying to contain (in this case the vacuum in the reservoir), the better.
    Casey

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks, Casey. I would prefer to mount the check valve at the organ end, but it's designed to mount on the unit itself. So far, so good. I like having just a little assist, like I mentioned, like power steering. I do have the choice of mounting the restrictor on the organ end or the suction pump end. Well, I think I could mount the CV on the organ, but it's bulky. I'll have to do some measurements.

    Thanks also for the link. I'll watch it.

    Leave a comment:


  • SubBase
    replied
    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
    Well, first experiments with the suction unit are now underway. The thing is a "Lee Silent 'ORGAVAC' Reed Organ Suction Unit model #RO-6." It provides 2 1/2" of vacuum and has an 1/8 hp motor.

    I'm using the 3/8" hole under the Vox Humana for now. The unit only came with about 14" of flex hose, as it's intended to be mounted in place of the bellows and have the flex hose go straight up to the windchest.

    The suction pump won't fit anywhere inside the organ, so I'll need more flex hose - I might as well put it in the other room, which is the garage.

    I also ordered the optional check valve. This is a boxy spring-loaded affair that sits over the inlet. The aluminum impeller is visible inside the inlet. On the side is an exhaust flapper valve, and the motor is visible through that opening.

    So... how's it work? Well, it won't power the organ the way it's installed. I still need to pump the pedals. However, not nearly as much, and the drain-down time when holding a chord and stopping pumping actually exists now. :0

    Their suggestion is to put the connection on the bellows if wanting to use both/either. It's not closing the bellows now, which I sort of thought it would. Guess it won't overcome the spring pressure.

    I have some decisions to make here. I do like the unit - it looks well built and durable, and it's not objectionably loud (but "silent" not exactly). I'm thinking of making the connection atop the windchest approximately in line with the Vox Humana. Then I could still use the organ (without the check valve) if the bellows are out for an extended time. I'm look forward to actually using the Vox Humana. So far, it's been pump, pump, pump, whir, whir, pump, pump, whir, whir...

    Tomorrow I'll go looking for some longer flex hose.
    Unless you mount the check valve where the hose connects to the organ, you will be disappointed.
    Casey

    - - - Updated - - -

    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
    Here are some worn playing keys. I'm tempted to leave them as they are. For one thing, it's authentic, and I can tell this organ was well-loved, well-used. For another, I don't know what they're made of, but the color goes entirely through them - they're not covered in paint or indigo or indian ink.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]27347[/ATTACH]


    I haven't been very busy this week, but I temporarily rigged up an old piano bench to be 21 1/2" x 23 1/4" high and sloped in order to mimic a Mason & Hamlin style 3 pump organ bench. For my trouble I got... a backache. It could be coincidence.

    In other news, I found that the horizontal board above the pedals - the one that has the cutouts for the rollers - has cracked a fairly large piece loose where the right-hand feeder spring fits into a notch in it. I placed the spring end just above the notch and it tried to push through again. Hmm... this board is part of the cross-spine of the organ. The boards for the platform that holds up the works, the bellows, and some corner angle boards all attach to it. It's not going to be great fun to get to even when the works and bellows are out.

    For the time being, I put a wooden stop in to prevent the pedals from going down that last inch or so where the springs exert maximum force on the cross board.

    I had joked in another thread that the Diapason and Principal and the Melodia and Echo Horn all sound alike. They basically do on this organ, so that requires some attention when I get in there.

    I've decided that I am going to put it back together so that it can be operated by the bellows or a pump. To familiarize myself with installing and using one, I ordered the smaller model (2.5" suction) from Arndt Organ Supply. It should be here this week.

    So... so far, so good. I haven't found any terrible problems with this old princess.
    Here's my video on cleaning celluloid keys:
    https://youtu.be/TEjfD44lGng

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    And so... experiment, experiment. I made up three restriction plates out of quarter-inch thickness board cut in 2" circles. I made holes of 3/8, 5/8, and 3/4". The smallest one is the mildest assist. With it on the suction unit, the flap does not flap much. The largest one is a full automation - the organ is loud and pumping doesn't make much difference. Without the restrictor plate, the organ is TOO LOUD. The big bass reeds HONK.

    So this gets us to the middle one. It's just right. It barely makes a tone at first, but will support four or five notes in a couple of seconds. Pumping gently wakes things up and, if the Vox Humana has stopped, the first pair of pumps gets it going. I rather like this -- it's like having power steering (yes, my first couple of cars did not) in that I still have to pump, but it responds to the pumping.

    This is probably how the organ will feel when I get the bellows recovered. (At least I hope so.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Mr. Polecat, hats off to you here. I made a 2" hole and mounted the flange on top of the air box. It just happened to land over a mounting screw for the bellows. I now have an automated organ and the Vox Humana spins like a fiend.

    So... this answers an indirect question. Since the suction pump does not mind running with no air flow (as would happen if no playing keys were pressed) and we have learned that a too-small opening only adds a partial assist, a variable assist could be had with a calibrated obstruction, such as a cable-operated iris. A calibrated assist could be added with something as simple as a restrictor plate.

    Running on the suction unit makes the organ too loud, even with every stop pulled and the Vox Humana whirling. This is a 200 sq. ft. room, but the organ is currently backed up to a door to a 600 sq. ft. room with 10 ft ceilings and has the two back panels removed. It's loud. :0

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    I appreciate your thoughts on this. I made some screen shots of the video I have from Johnson Music where they are using a Kimball to demonstrate repair and recovering. It looks like the Vox Humana hole is dead center above between the slots for the bellows.

    In this picture, the bellows are being removed from the rear of the organ, and the cutouts are near the back.

    Click image for larger version

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    In this picture, the windchest is turned in the opposite direction. That's the row of pallet valves, reeds, etc. at top. Below them, the Vox Humana hole is in the center. I'm not sure what the part above it is - it may be a support to keep the top from sagging.


    Click image for larger version

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    So it does appear to be on the same side of the air box as the bellows.

    Arndt does say to mount on the bellows if you want to use the organ as powered or pumped. Since my ultimate aim is to give this organ to my mom, it needs to be able to run fully electrically. I wouldn't mind being able to use both or one or the other until then.

    It could very well be that I picked a hole that's too small. The instructions didn't recommend a size, but the flanges are 2 1/4". Hmm. That does sound a bit odd, doesn't it? Like why else would they use such a big hose?

    Well, I should have a ten-foot flex hose here by Wednesday. I'll have to decide where to put the real hole by then. I'll also be able to put the suction unit around the corner where I can keep an eye on it while I'm playing. I'm trying a hose intended for saw-dust collection. I did found a source for the nice black silicon-rubber hose like Arndt uses, but it's a 250-ft min. order... and they, I found out, order it precut for their application.

    In the diagram, with the bellows removed, Arndt is showing the hole being made right in the center of the rear of the foundation board with the relief valve relocated up there, too. I wouldn't want to put the connection and hose on the rear of the bellows - it moves. There's also no room for the flange on the feeder side.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Polecat
    replied
    The Vox Humana is on the intake side, right? Above the reeds, I mean. (That's how my Estey is, anyway.) That'll be pulling the air the wrong way through the reeds (assuming it's a suction unit). You'll probably have to cut a hole somewhere in one of the main bellows boards and mount it down there. Or something like that. I am sure there are others on here that have better advice on exactly where to mount it, but I would think it would definitely have to be mounted somewhere in the air path under the reeds rather than above.

    Edit: Maybe I don't know what I am talking about (probably not, lol). Yeah, I definitely don't. I guess it's also possible that the Vox Humana hole is just too small for the pump to draw vacuum through fast enough???

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Well, we learn a lot from the answers other members provide for the questions. Most of what I know about organs has been directly from this forum and trial and error. (Time passes quickly when you're having fun.)

    Let me know how informative the book is when you have a chance to read it. As mentioned earlier in the thread I have the Milne book, and it's a hoot, and the Presley book, which I could critique from my being a former editor, but which has good material and pictures in it.

    Back on the subject of suction units, I'm still not understanding WHY it's working this way. I don't MIND how it's working; in fact, I rather LIKE it. But with the unit on and no pumping/keys presses, the exhaust flapper "burps" a bit every five seconds or so - that's the leakage from the organ. So it's holding the vacuum and drawing in a bit from the organ. However, it won't operate the organ. No sounds with a key press... until I slightly move the pedals. Only a little pedaling is needed, and fast pedaling loud, slow pedaling soft, still works.

    Again, it's temporarily plumbed in where the Vox Humana sits. It has a check valve that springs open whenever the suction from the unit is greater than that from the organ.

    I may need to rig up some crazy instrumentation for this, but why isn't powering the organ without the pedals moving? Is it likely that it just has a lot of internal and bellows leakage and is using both sources just to operate?

    Leave a comment:


  • HiDesertHal
    replied
    Hey Silken Path,

    This morning I ordered "The American Reed Organ" on Amazon. I'll have it on Saturday! (I got the Hardback version.)

    Now I won't have to bother the Veterans on this Forum so frequently!

    Hal

    Leave a comment:


  • Organfella
    replied
    Having fun are you? Good!

    Once the bug has bit, its bit!!

    Nico

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Well, first experiments with the suction unit are now underway. The thing is a "Lee Silent 'ORGAVAC' Reed Organ Suction Unit model #RO-6." It provides 2 1/2" of vacuum and has an 1/8 hp motor.

    I'm using the 3/8" hole under the Vox Humana for now. The unit only came with about 14" of flex hose, as it's intended to be mounted in place of the bellows and have the flex hose go straight up to the windchest.

    The suction pump won't fit anywhere inside the organ, so I'll need more flex hose - I might as well put it in the other room, which is the garage.

    I also ordered the optional check valve. This is a boxy spring-loaded affair that sits over the inlet. The aluminum impeller is visible inside the inlet. On the side is an exhaust flapper valve, and the motor is visible through that opening.

    So... how's it work? Well, it won't power the organ the way it's installed. I still need to pump the pedals. However, not nearly as much, and the drain-down time when holding a chord and stopping pumping actually exists now. :0

    Their suggestion is to put the connection on the bellows if wanting to use both/either. It's not closing the bellows now, which I sort of thought it would. Guess it won't overcome the spring pressure.

    I have some decisions to make here. I do like the unit - it looks well built and durable, and it's not objectionably loud (but "silent" not exactly). I'm thinking of making the connection atop the windchest approximately in line with the Vox Humana. Then I could still use the organ (without the check valve) if the bellows are out for an extended time. I'm look forward to actually using the Vox Humana. So far, it's been pump, pump, pump, whir, whir, pump, pump, whir, whir...

    Tomorrow I'll go looking for some longer flex hose.

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    It looks like getting to the board that is cracking may not be a bully bear to work on. It appears that the entire front lower panel lifts up and can be removed to get to the full-length front of that board.

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks - had to look at Wikipedia to find about ebony - makes sense based on the old "Ivory and Ebony" song. The black keys DO look like the Bell piano on the Wiki page.

    I'll avoid any rambunctious polishing, too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Polecat
    replied
    The white keys may be made of nitrocellulose. Don't smoke while playing.

    The black keys are probably just ebony.

    Leave a comment:

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