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1899 Kimball Parlor Organ

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Ha. Actually, Wikipedia says that it was used to soak the paper that wrapped dynamite, but I think I've seen it offered in small cans with a pack of tint to pour in, but I may be mixing it up with some other product. It also says that the volatiles flash off the stuff.

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  • myorgan
    replied
    Lamar,

    If the "nitro-cellulose" is what I'm thinking, I would be very careful with any sort of heat around it. What I'm thinking of is old film made of nitro-cellulose, which has now become unstable after 70-80+ years. YMMV.

    Michael

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Up to something again... The curved piece that the stop tubes go through has badly "waffled," crinkly paint. I've been slowly sanding it off for the last week or so and am getting ready to re-coat. The question is what to use? I will have this piece completely off when I pull the mechanism (when I get more room freed up), so this is only a small job. That said, I'd like to use the authentic stuff that will look right. I've been reading. Would this have been a nitro-cellulose lacquer used to get the gloss black?

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  • Silken Path
    commented on 's reply
    This old thing is surprisingly easy to play. I think it's because mechanically the notes are slow to "bloom" and then "decay." It's sort of like having a sustain that works before and after the key press... It would be about 1915 here for something like those lights to arrive.

  • Organfella
    commented on 's reply
    That one reminds me strongly of my old Storey & Clarke. The cabinet is of similar design. My first impression was that the electric lamps kind of do not fit but looking at it carefully again I realized that they do have an appeal.

    Enjoy!

    Nico

  • Silken Path
    replied
    Interestingly, the lights look cool and I'm pleased with them, but they don't actually light the music desk - unless I raise them up about six inches. This matches where the light from a fuel lantern would be.

    Electrification had its struggles, I guess.

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    What I Got For Christmas

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    Those are "modern replicas" of an Edison-style lamp of the early 20th century. They're actually sort of modern impressions of a typical Edison lamp, but they do have a old-timey red glow and they look nice on the organ. The bulbs are Edison style, but with a modern base. With no other lights, I can illuminate a book-sized hymnal or larger song book and read the stop faces on the organ and see all the keys.

    These are from Amazon and sold by a company called "Surpars House" and are model #S0170010.

    The organ is still working fine. I have a 3/8-inch orifice in line between the suction pump and organ, and it allows for the organ to play very softly without pedaling or play quite satisfyingly with pedals. I'm not getting any droning sensation from the pump at all.

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks, Nico. Hmm... shutter inside I guess, and it's cable (well, pushrod) operated. Hmm. I'm still thinking of making some slide or iris in the pump side to provide variable suction (although the orifice idea is working fine). Is that a spring-loaded dump valve on the bottom?

    I explored making a similar box to go inside the organ, but space atop is at a premium. The fall-board mechanism (part of which is visible in the last picture up there, swings in an arc to the rear, and there is also the Vox Humana and some stops mechanism hanging off the back of the works. Something similar to yours would have been good if fore-planned, but what I ended up doing was to provide a pass-through to the outside of the organ, and, hey, it protrudes about three inches. This will give me plenty of room to unhook the flex-hose when removing the back. It's oogly, but not as oogly as mounting that check valve back there would have been.

    On another front, I saw a video on YouTube where a gentleman was saying that many of the organs that come into his shop have the back removed, and he said that was because the owners were looking for more sound from the organ. With the back removed on the Kimball, I get a noticeably reduced sound, but that's because the "speaker" openings are toward the front.

    I've read that Kimball had quality problems with their pianos about when this organ was made. They hired efficiency experts to watch the construction process, and went on the become the biggest manufacturer of pianos in America. They blew that, even, and after a while did it again.

    Thanks again for the pictures. They're food for thought.

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  • Organfella
    replied
    As promised (some while ago) here are a couple of pictures of the blower coupling contraption I removed from my Mannborg Tudor. The assembly is fitted on the inside with some kind of controllable flap valve no doubt to regulate the airflow. The extension piece has been damaged as it protrudes about 3" outside the back of the organ and in the past some unscrupulous transporters laid the organ on its back, mangling this extension piece. I removed it and sealed the mounting hole simply as it is not needed and to have a little better access to the insides when necessary. It was not connected to the pushrods in any event.

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    Maybe I'll put it back some day....

    Nico

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    I got the 10 ft flex hose in, and I'm trying it out. It's transparent, made of PVC, and has a metallic spring winding. Its intended use is chip/sawdust collection. It's both flexible and supportive, showing no signs of creaking or compacting. With the check valve in place at the unit, I can still pump the organ up to play it manually. This is with a 1/2" orifice, which may be a bit much. I'm going to try a slightly smaller opening. I'd like for the suction to just barely play the organ so the pedaling still makes the organ respond.

    I have two more gasketed 2 1/2" Delrin flanges coming from Arndt to construct a pass-trough on the back of the cabinet.

    The hose appears to have come from Peachtree Woodworking Supply in Atlanta to Amazon in Kentucky, and then back to me east of Atlanta.

    In other news, I'm still using the old piano bench with the top tilted with about a 1 1/2" drop. It took about a week for my poor old back to get used to it, but the good news is that it gets me up higher on the keyboard and frees up my lungs so I can make a joyful noise. (At least the birds outside seem to enjoy it.)

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Here's the suction pump sitting behind the organ. That's the check-valve on top. It's pre-wired with the plug-in cord and a zip-cord with an on/off switch.

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks, Mr. PC. We're up late...

    I actually think I'm on the right path here. The idea of introducing an orifice and sizing it seems to be working well. I like getting an amplified effect on the pedals while still being able to go very soft, soft and very loud, loud. That soft, soft is an eye-opener because there is not much pulsation to be had, which I always had with very slow pumping when I wanted soft. I mean now I can go down VERY soft before I hear pulsing.

    I thought about a variable valve sort of thing. Maybe a slide valve or other type. I couldn't find any 2" iris valves to be had, but I was thinking about the kind that is in the bottom of commercial blenders. They're cable operated.

    I don't think the Orgavac needs a bypass. It's designed to run without any key presses, perhaps for an extended time, like leaving the organ "running" when getting music together, or during the service, or going to... lunch.

    And kind of another thing, introducing a deliberate bleed would add to the noise level. That's the reason I'm trying to get it away from the organ...

    I was planning to add a "door" on the back of the organ to pass the flex hose through. Since Casey pointed out that I don't want the check-valve on the Orgavac end (lest I suck out the flex hose as well as the bellows when pumping), I've changed the plan to mounting the check valve on the back of the organ. (It needs a flat, clean surface to seal to, and its base is 6 x 6 inches.)

    I uploaded an image of what it looks like to my gallery. When admin OKs it, I'll link it into this thread.

    Anyway, I have my ten-foot flexible hose coming and will experiment with having the pump at a little distance.

    By the way, I don't LOVE the idea of having the check valve on the back of the organ, but so far I'm not finding the 6 x 6 x 5 + bend radius flat spot I need inside the organ. (And, of course, the the valve needs to "face" the organ, i.e. greater pressure from the bellows should close the valve. The check-valve is there to protect the pump AND to prevent reverse flow through the pump if it's not running and the organ is being played.)

    You know, with all this plotting and planning, the easiest thing to do would just be to set the pump down beside the organ. The proof of concept is WORKING right now, and that would only take a few feet more flex hose. Hmm... I LIKE this idea.

    In other news - I also made a slightly larger orifice and got my mom to try the organ. She's been a pianist all her life, but has had VERY little experience with organs, mainly an aunt's pump organ when she was a teen. Fortunately she likes the sound of the Kimball. This will take some fine tuning to find a sweet spot, but I think I'll find a reasonable volume base level that she likes without having to go to full suction and the loudness that entails. She'll still be able to get more volume by pumping, operating the knee lever, or pulling the Forte stops.

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  • Mr. Polecat
    replied
    As far as your volume problems now, does your blower have some mechanism for adjusting the amount of vacuum that is applied to the bellows?

    I am not sure how that ought to be done on something like this. My old grain cleaner uses a slider to introduce an intentional "leak" into the system at the same time that the slide partially covers the blower hole, to turn down the blower. I guess if one were to just try to reduce the size of the blower hole without an intentional "leak", the smaller hole might just act like a venturi or something, and the air coming out would just speed up and you'd end up with the same vacuum as with a larger hole? If you know what I am saying?

    I dunno....

    I think if I were going to install a blower in mine, I'd definitely want to have some means of using a pedal of some sort to vary the vacuum in the bellows, for expression purposes.

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks, Casey. Same effect, though. Up on the air box where I have it now will work with the bellows removed. I was planning to add a door in the back to pass the flex hose through anyway. I'll get a picture of this mess. :O

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  • SubBase
    replied
    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
    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.
    The flange can be mounted on the back board of the reservoir.
    Casey

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