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Introduction and Advice on Purchasing a Reed Organ

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  • #31
    Reed puller

    Originally posted by ColoradoJoshua View Post
    Unfortunately a good deal of the action will have to come apart too though... Some of the keys are very difficult to press. One in particular and it's one of the A's I use all the time in the middle of the keyboard.

    I was able to get that front panel off the other day, but inside is a swell damper and inside of that are the actual reeds. I have yet to figure out how to actually get to the reeds themselves. This organ is built very differently to all of the others I've seen online so I'm planning on posting pictures of everything with detailed descriptions and whatnot when I go to make my thorough list of all the problems it has. Question about cleaning the reeds: If I clean one reed, do I have to clean all of them for everything to still be in tune?

    And thanks for the tip on the books!

    - - - Updated - - -



    This organ has already started to be a conversation piece with my friends, haha. I can't wait til it's working properly. And thank you.

    Joshua, in case you can't find one, this video shows an easy and very inexpensive way to make a reed puller and also shows how it is used. www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtqIl_2qmi0 Cleaning one reed will not affect the overall tuning. Continue to have fun.
    Lloyd

    Happily retired organist/pianist from the Church of the Brethren...Allen ADC-4300-DK.
    Home...Wurlitzer (ES) Orgatron Series 20 Serial #11608 (retrofitted with MIDI and VPO-Hauptwerk) with Leslie 44W (shorty).
    Hammond BC Serial #5070 with Leslie 31A (tallboy) tone cabinet
    A.L. Swan antique pump organ (C.1852) Cherry Valley NY
    Member of the Lutheran Church (LCMS): traditional worship. Cleveland Clinic Spiritual Care volunteer with the chaplain's office.

    Comment


    • #32
      Slow-speaking reeds can be addressed, but only after mechanical faults remedied, and reeds cleaned.
      The tongues can be adjusted, by experienced hands, for optimal performance.
      Casey

      Comment


      • #33
        Update #1

        Time for an update on what's been happening with the old Hinners Organ that I purchased.

        First, I'm a filmmaker / photographer / YouTuber and because of that, I'm actually making a video series about this organ that will follow it from before purchase to the final part of the restoration when I finish it. I'm hoping to be able to put all the information that I include in those videos on the forum as well, but in case I forget something, I'll be posting links to those when I release them for those of you who are interested. I figured not only would making videos be a good way for me to look back on what I've done and have a record of everything, but it would also give me a good way to show you all what's wrong more effectively if I run into a problem.

        Now on to the actual organ.

        Somewhat fortunately and also unfortunately, it has become apparent that someone got to the organ before I did. They didn't do a full restore, but just patched some things and put tape here and there. The good news about this is that some of the pieces are already marked (the wooden rods that go from the stop action to the reeds to engage or disengage them, etc). The bad news is that there is tape residue and possibly glue (that may or may not be hot hide glue) that will probably be hard to remove.

        Here's what the back of the organ looked like before I started disassembling it:
        Click image for larger version

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        So far, it appears that the reeds are located under the mute below the keyboard, under the tremolo fan, and in the box for the sub bass. Those are the ones I've found so far, anyway.

        Complete (as of right now) list of all the problems that need fixed:
        The A key above middle C is very hard to press.
        Reeds need cleaned which may or may not fix the several keys that don't sound.
        Two screws need to be replaced on the right pedal to keep it from clanking.
        The Celeste stop face needs to be reattached.
        Some felt circles behind the stops are missing and the felt between the wooden board with the stops and the keys themselves is incredibly dirty and just bleh. Both sets of felt will need replaced I think.
        Some pieces of the woodwork and scrollwork have broken and need glued back.
        A part of the wooden frame just came out when I removed the back because all the screws had been removed. I need to get four replacement screws to secure that back in place.
        Bellows need rebuilt. (Flap valves probably need replaced and the actual bellows fabric itself is in pretty bad shape.. I might have to replace all of it) The bellows have already been patched at least once, but the patches are starting to come off as you can see from the picture. I will investigate more when they're out of the organ so I can get a better look.
        Click image for larger version

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        A screw has broken through the lowest wooden board under the keyboard and is now bowing down and resting on the swell lever causing it to be very hard to move. (The picture is a little blurry at the top where the screw is, but you can still see it)
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        The swell Lever is missing it's spring. (spring on full organ lever shown)
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        Tremolo fan for the Vox Humana stop needs fixing. Part of it has broken.
        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by ColoradoJoshua; 12-03-2017, 02:57 PM.

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        • #34
          Thanks for the informative post! Well, I see a lot of common theory. What's in the box to the right of the vox humana? That fan, by the way, is supposed to be balanced - the vacuum motor that turns it is incredibly weak.
          -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
          -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
          -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
          -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
          -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

          Comment


          • #35
            Currently I'm in process of disassembling it and giving it a good cleaning. There was a lot of dust inside as you might expect with 20 years of it sitting in a wood shop. It didn't smell so bad that it made me gag, but it definitely smelled musty. Now that I'm cleaning out all the dust, it's already started to smell waaay better so that's nice.

            So far I've removed all of the outside covers, the pedals, the stop action, and the entire keyboard. I've been dusting everything and also giving the keys and stop faces a good cleaning (they were pretty nasty as seen in this side by side picture. Lower key has been cleaned, upper key hasn't). A few pictures down, you can see the stop faces before I cleaned them.. They're all spiffy and clean now though.
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            Here's what it looks like currently:
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            Also, while I was taking things apart, I found the missing Celeste stop face in a corner of the frame!! Must have been put there for anyone who wanted to put it back later. I was super thrilled about that. Also, I found the reed puller located under the keyboard so I do have one of those as well! Both can be seen in the following picture.
            Click image for larger version

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            Some of the outside finish is in bad shape, but I really don't want to go through the job of refinishing the whole thing, especially with it being winter and not having a garage to work in. Any tips on how I can make it look better while keeping the original finish on most of it? Also, there's a big chunk out of the wood behind the Melodia stop and I'm not sure how to best fix that.
            Click image for larger version

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            The one unfortunate thing about all this is that I have discovered that the octave coupler only works on notes higher than what you're playing. I was really hoping for a coupler that would allow me to engage the sub bass... but oh well I guess. That's the only thing this organ doesn't have that I really wanted.

            And that's basically where everything stands right now. I'll let everyone know if I find anything else that needs fixed or if I run into any problems.

            Does anyone have any specific ideas or hints as to how I should fix the problems I mentioned already or what glue I should use on the woodwork / stop faces and how to get a hold of (or make) a new spring for the swell lever?

            - - - Updated - - -

            Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
            Thanks for the informative post! Well, I see a lot of common theory. What's in the box to the right of the vox humana? That fan, by the way, is supposed to be balanced - the vacuum motor that turns it is incredibly weak.
            The large wooden box to the right of the Vox Humana houses the reeds for the sub bass.

            As for the balancing of the fan, I've tried it out and confirmed that it does spin when the stop is engaged. I'm not sure how fast it's supposed to go though, and I also haven't figured out how to remove the fan itself from the assembly. Is the wood in the fan balsa wood? It's really light and thin. I'm guessing it will need replacing since it has that large break out of it.

            Comment


            • #36
              Hey,
              The VoxHumana vanes are cardboard, it'scalled redrope in the paper trade. You can use poster board but the color will be different.
              You can buy a very fine 0.011" kerf Japanese pullsaw to clean the old material out of the VH shaft. Or make a pull hook tool from sheet metal.

              Comment


              • #37
                And to answer your question about touch-ups, Minwax makes a series of touch-up "Stain Markers" in different colors. The application tips look like magic markers, and they have a ball inside to act as an agitator. One way to use one is to shake the pen, trace it along a scratch, wait 10-15 seconds, and wipe it off with a paper towel. If you're lucky, it will fill the scratch and match the surrounding.

                That wood that's missing in the stop board can be fixed with wood putty. DAP makes one called "Plastic Wood." That's "plastic" as in "moldable," not as in cheap toys. I'd suspect that one of your neighbors has a wood shop in his garage (and parks his car outside). You should make friends with this guy.

                Bigger sections you'd need to strip and refinish, but, hey, if you're going to take everything out, why NOT redo the finish at the same time?

                Just curious, what DOES engage the sub-base?
                -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
                -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
                -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
                -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
                -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

                Comment


                • #38
                  Joshua,
                  Thanks for the detailed updates and photos. I know just how happy and excited you must be discovering how all the pump organ parts work together and doing needed repairs. I was the exact same way and I'm just as happy for you! Continue to have fun with your instrument!
                  Lloyd

                  Happily retired organist/pianist from the Church of the Brethren...Allen ADC-4300-DK.
                  Home...Wurlitzer (ES) Orgatron Series 20 Serial #11608 (retrofitted with MIDI and VPO-Hauptwerk) with Leslie 44W (shorty).
                  Hammond BC Serial #5070 with Leslie 31A (tallboy) tone cabinet
                  A.L. Swan antique pump organ (C.1852) Cherry Valley NY
                  Member of the Lutheran Church (LCMS): traditional worship. Cleveland Clinic Spiritual Care volunteer with the chaplain's office.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by SubBase View Post
                    Hey,
                    The VoxHumana vanes are cardboard, it'scalled redrope in the paper trade. You can use poster board but the color will be different.
                    You can buy a very fine 0.011" kerf Japanese pullsaw to clean the old material out of the VH shaft. Or make a pull hook tool from sheet metal.
                    Aha! Thank you!

                    - - - Updated - - -

                    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
                    And to answer your question about touch-ups, Minwax makes a series of touch-up "Stain Markers" in different colors. The application tips look like magic markers, and they have a ball inside to act as an agitator. One way to use one is to shake the pen, trace it along a scratch, wait 10-15 seconds, and wipe it off with a paper towel. If you're lucky, it will fill the scratch and match the surrounding.

                    That wood that's missing in the stop board can be fixed with wood putty. DAP makes one called "Plastic Wood." That's "plastic" as in "moldable," not as in cheap toys. I'd suspect that one of your neighbors has a wood shop in his garage (and parks his car outside). You should make friends with this guy.

                    Bigger sections you'd need to strip and refinish, but, hey, if you're going to take everything out, why NOT redo the finish at the same time?

                    Just curious, what DOES engage the sub-base?
                    Oh interesting. And I am familiar with wood putty (we may or may not have any) because we used it to fill holes in our walls when we moved in here. That's a pretty large hole so I guess I'd just try to find a paint or black stain that would match the wood once it's filled.

                    My grandpa (who lived next door) had a decent wood shop back in the day... But unfortunately he passed away last year and I no longer have access to his knowledge or tools.

                    The main reason to not refinish is because I'd have to do it in our front living room as it's winter and I don't have a garage I can work in. xD And that's a pretty huge undertaking either way.

                    As for what engages the sub bass, the only thing I can find is if you actually play that octave with your hands. There appears to be no coupler that would do it as I said.

                    - - - Updated - - -

                    Originally posted by lcid View Post
                    Joshua,
                    Thanks for the detailed updates and photos. I know just how happy and excited you must be discovering how all the pump organ parts work together and doing needed repairs. I was the exact same way and I'm just as happy for you! Continue to have fun with your instrument!
                    Certainly! Expect more to come! Yeah, it's pretty exciting, haha. Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Well, let me flaunt my ignorance... I thought "sub-base" had to be, um, sub to the base. Since one can't add keys, either they sound with some notes or sound instead of some notes.

                      Years ago I knew of a fellow in Canada that built a room outside big enough to put a travel trailer in, and he made it of PVC pipe and thick greenhouse plastic roll.

                      Another guy rented a storage room, found it had an electrical outlet, and disassembled, repaired, and repainted an old motorcycle there.

                      MANY things are possible.
                      -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
                      -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
                      -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
                      -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
                      -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
                        Well, let me flaunt my ignorance... I thought "sub-base" had to be, um, sub to the base. Since one can't add keys, either they sound with some notes or sound instead of some notes.

                        Years ago I knew of a fellow in Canada that built a room outside big enough to put a travel trailer in, and he made it of PVC pipe and thick greenhouse plastic roll.

                        Another guy rented a storage room, found it had an electrical outlet, and disassembled, repaired, and repainted an old motorcycle there.

                        MANY things are possible.
                        The sub bass is actually a stop of it's own. Usually has some of the biggest reeds and makes the deepest (or close to the deepest) notes. Part of what makes the instrument have such a depth of sound. Those reeds are located in that box to the right (looking in the back) of the Vox Humana. Not all reed organs have one, but I am blessed to have one that does.

                        This is true. But neither of those people were working in their mom's living room. XD

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Thank you. Mr. Milne says that sub-bass is often 13 notes linked to the lower keyboard notes by a movable lever that is pulled up to uncover the reeds in a... box in the back.
                          -- I'm Lamar -- 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
                          -- 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ (forum thread)
                          -- 1999 Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - spare W5000C for spares
                          -- Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112 - Roland RD300nx stage piano
                          -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
                            Thank you. Mr. Milne says that sub-bass is often 13 notes linked to the lower keyboard notes by a movable lever that is pulled up to uncover the reeds in a... box in the back.
                            Yep! Mine is 13 notes from C to C.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Update #2

                              Time for another update.

                              Soooo... I have run into a bit of a predicament. I've removed everything down to where the reeds themselves are located, as you can see in this picture, but I'm kind of stumped as to where I should go from here...
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                              I need to get to the lower action to clean it and to fix whatever is causing that A to be so hard to press, but I'm not sure how to get to it. Is the part with the reeds a full sub assembly that I can remove all at once, and if so, where are the screws? There are screws on the sides to remove pieces of it at a time, but they're back in there so far that I can hardly (if at all) get a screwdriver between the wall of the case and the wall of the reed assembly, as you can see here.
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                              Also, I need to take the stop assembly at least partially apart so I can replace the felt behind the stops and give it a good cleaning, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do that too... I'm guessing at the very least, the pins in those pieces of wood that connect to the metal rods and the small metal rods that act as stoppers need to come out to get the stops out, but both are very difficult to remove. Any tips?
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                              Speaking of felt, I need to replace the felt on a couple of the round wooden pieces under the keys (seen in first picture) and possibly the felt under the top action that touches the keys (second picture) because it's really dirty and bleh. I was thinking if I'm gonna replace some of the visable felt, it would be best to do all of it just so it's all in good order and all matches. Are there different weights and thicknesses of felt for different components or are they all the same? Where do I purchase this felt the most cost effectively? And I'm guessing once I have it I reattach it with hot hide glue just like everything else?
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                              Thanks again!

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by ColoradoJoshua View Post
                                Time for another update.

                                Soooo... I have run into a bit of a predicament. I've removed everything down to where the reeds themselves are located, as you can see in this picture, but I'm kind of stumped as to where I should go from here...
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28214[/ATTACH]
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28196[/ATTACH]
                                There are screws around the perimeter of the upper action, some of them will be driven up from below. I have never seen one where all the screws were from beneath, but not impossible. Then you will see the inside of the windchest and the pallet valves.

                                I need to get to the lower action to clean it and to fix whatever is causing that A to be so hard to press, but I'm not sure how to get to it. Is the part with the reeds a full sub assembly that I can remove all at once, and if so, where are the screws? There are screws on the sides to remove pieces of it at a time, but they're back in there so far that I can hardly (if at all) get a screwdriver between the wall of the case and the wall of the reed assembly, as you can see here.
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28215[/ATTACH]

                                Also, I need to take the stop assembly at least partially apart so I can replace the felt behind the stops and give it a good cleaning, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do that too... I'm guessing at the very least, the pins in those pieces of wood that connect to the metal rods and the small metal rods that act as stoppers need to come out to get the stops out, but both are very difficult to remove. Any tips?
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28216[/ATTACH]
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28197[/ATTACH]
                                You apparently pull those small pins, undo the screws that hold the forks, and pull out the stop rods. It is tricky but doable to replace the felt discs between the knob and the rod if so equipped. The regular felt linings of the holes are straightforward, but scrape out the old material carefully so as not to chip the black finish. You can use rubbing compount to clean up the black, or touch up with new paint/lacquer, (mask off the name or buy new decals) then clearcoat with shellac (wiped on) or spray lacquer (color-sanded and rubbed-out).

                                Speaking of felt, I need to replace the felt on a couple of the round wooden pieces under the keys (seen in first picture) and possibly the felt under the top action that touches the keys (second picture) because it's really dirty and bleh. I was thinking if I'm gonna replace some of the visable felt, it would be best to do all of it just so it's all in good order and all matches. Are there different weights and thicknesses of felt for different components or are they all the same? Where do I purchase this felt the most cost effectively? And I'm guessing once I have it I reattach it with hot hide glue just like everything else?
                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]28217[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]28218[/ATTACH]
                                For the rebound/name board felt, use the thicker name board felt strips from the piano supply house of your choice. You can make a very elegant presentation by using velvet doubled over and tacked in.

                                For the little button discs of felt, you can buy them or use a 5/16" Arch punch to make them. A set of arch punches is a great investment.

                                Thanks again!
                                Hope this helps, there are felts available here: http://www.howardpianoindustries.com...leather-parts/
                                Casey
                                Last edited by SubBase; 12-16-2017, 07:13 AM.

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