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Inexperienced "restorer" here. Could use some much appreciated help

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  • Inexperienced "restorer" here. Could use some much appreciated help

    Hey there, new here. Glad to be part of this niche community.

    Got this Sterling organ about four years ago for free. Bellows were shot, same with leather, and basically everything else you could imagine. So I did all the reading I could on this subject; Aunt Maude's, Reed Society, Repairing the Reed Organ, you name it. Restored the bellows and the leather hinges, and got it working adequately. Put some new carpet on the pedals, used some Restore-a-whatever, replaced the old cloth, and got it looking pretty nice.

    Recently lost my job in part due to a disability, so I decided to start working on it again. Since it's been so long I've kind of forgotten a lot of what everything does, and along with that I can no longer find my old leather/rubber cloth supplier. He was a tad elderly so I'm hoping he's still with us.

    I have a lot of questions about this project, and I think it'd be better if I just asked a few at a time, so for starters:

    1. Where's a good place to get leather and other reed organ supplies? Can't afford anything right now, but I'm hoping to get some leather at some point to seal the pallets, along with something to put between the action and the foundation (I've heard cabretta is a good choice for this).

    2. The wooden rails that guide the keyboard cover are clearly aboriginal, and very poorly done. I have no clue what they may have originally looked like, so some guidance here would be appreciated. Pictures below (yes, that's a philips):
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    3. I have a wooden coupler. Apparently this is fairly rare, and I have found very little information on adjusting these to become level. Right now if it's attached it works on maybe 1/6 of the keys. Is there any easy way to adjust this? Pictures below, bonus dog in the background:
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    That's it for now, but I have many more atrocities to deal with if anyone would be kind enough to help me out with this!

    If anyone has any scrap leather I'd be more than willing to pay for shipping and take it off your hands.
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  • #2

    Welcome to the Reed Organ group on the Forum. I apologize for not responding sooner, but I just returned after a few weeks–still not in great health.

    My answer to question #1 one, is to ask whether or not you've searched the Reed Organ Forum?

    Member Casey, SubBase has often provided his sources for various pump organ parts, as well as other restoration techniques. Others like Nico, Organfella, while in South Africa, has restored several pump organs for himself over there. We've also had a few recent converts (i.e. Tom) who have been quite willing to share their experiences.

    Myself? I would never call myself an organ restorer until I had successfully restored at least 3+ organs. The time is getting closer that I can, though! "Real" retirement is on its way.

    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos


    • #3
      For the pallet valves, you could try cutting up leather jackets, that's the right sort of thickness. Am planning on trying it myself soon, hoping for success...


      • #4

        As you're in Oregon, I'd highly recommend Steve's Piano Service in Menominee, MI. They offer very personalized service, and the cost for leather didn't seem too bad. I purchased pallet valve leather (their pneumatic leather, 0.20", at 1.5 square feet, for $20.95 last September. That was totally adequate for 61 valves. They can be reached at 800-338-8863, or online at stevespianoservice.com

        That material and felt (part number SH2313R) was what i used for my valves and they seem to be working just great! They also carry hide glue and such.

        Good luck!
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