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average reservoir vacuum time for portable reed organ?

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  • average reservoir vacuum time for portable reed organ?

    Hi there,

    I'm currently restoring an RF Stevens portable reed organ with three sets of reeds. I've replaced all the flap valves and bellows and reservoir covers. When I tested the air supply before reattaching it to the reed section I had about 1 and a half minutes vacuum time on the reservoir so I know the job I did on it is fine. However, now that I've reattached it to the rest of the instrument, the reservoir time is quite low and I don't know why. I've checked the gasket which connects the two sections and it's fine and the pallets seem to have a good seal. I've checked for any leaks and there are none. Does anyone have any idea what it could be? Is it normal? what is the average vacuum time on the reservoir for an organ this size?

    Cheers,

    R

  • #2
    20 seconds to "empty" the reservoir when assembled is a playable instrument.

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    • #3
      If this organ is similar as Triumph de Luxe folding organ with 3 sets of reeds behavior you explained is common. These are leaking from pallet valves and via mutes a lot. Also valve springs could have more force/tension to prevent leaks when played with maximum suction.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bigcitylikereeds View Post
        Hi there,

        I'm currently restoring an RF Stevens portable reed organ with three sets of reeds. I've replaced all the flap valves and bellows and reservoir covers. When I tested the air supply before reattaching it to the reed section I had about 1 and a half minutes vacuum time on the reservoir so I know the job I did on it is fine. However, now that I've reattached it to the rest of the instrument, the reservoir time is quite low and I don't know why. I've checked the gasket which connects the two sections and it's fine and the pallets seem to have a good seal. I've checked for any leaks and there are none. Does anyone have any idea what it could be? Is it normal? what is the average vacuum time on the reservoir for an organ this size?

        Cheers,

        R
        For what it's worth - I just finished my first (a Kimball Parlor style) restoration. This instrument has 3 reed ranks. Like most novices I obsessed on leak rate. The bellows units are completely new including new wood parts to replace warped pieces. On it's own this assembly will take 3 min, 50 sec to reinflate. But as I discovered that means little. When assembled the reinflate time is about 1 min, 10 sec. even though the entire action is 'new' and 'leak-tight. I believe the leakage is around the pallets and, beyond tightening up the pallet springs, I believe is unavoidable. Just because the reeds don't 'sing' does not mean there is not a little leakage. However, when playing, the (my) instrument requires only a slow, steady pumping to supply all the vacuum one would ever need; quite comfortable. Unless you need to pump like you are doing a Tour de France you probably have a very playable instrument.

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        • #5
          I rebuilt an air system for a small RF Stevens portable last weekend. I barely get 5 seconds attached to the action, which is playable (for the first time since I had it) but not very nice to play. They used the flesh side (fuzzy side) instead of the hair side (smooth) for the pallet valves, which I would like to change next. Since the reservoir is smaller on these little guys, any air leakage will have a noticeable impact on the playability.
          To play a reed organ or harmonium, it helps to disconnect your feet from your brain and connect them to your emotions.
          Most of all, be creative, make music and have fun...


          Website: http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

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