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Where is the air intake when the swell shades are closed?

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  • Where is the air intake when the swell shades are closed?

    Newbie question: I am having trouble visualizing where the air intake is to feed the reeds when the swell shades are closed. In particular, I'm wondering what area I should focus on for dust removal to minimize sucking dust into the reeds when I play. And, to what degree is accessing this area even possible when the organ is fully assembled?. I feel like this should be obvious, but without taking the organ apart, it is puzzling me.

    I am aware to use caution with the vacuum around the reeds themselves. I have the swell shades closed when using a hose extension on the vacuum cleaner.

    See my previous posts and start of a blog (under construction) for background on my organ and organ journey to date.


    (Feel free to correct my improper use of terminology, I'm at the early stage of a learning curve with my organ journey I've also decided I can't afford the $70+ CAN for used books on reed organ restoration for the time being, so trying to learn what I can online.)
    Harmony Chord Briscoe (fan powered reed organ)
    ca. 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

  • #2
    The air intake is at the blower.


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      What blower? Isn't it a suction organ?


  • #3

    The air supply for the organ comes through the grill cloth at the front of the organ under the keyboard, and the grill cloth behind the music rack. When you select a stop, it raises the mutes just enough to allow air across the reeds. Using the knee swells will raise the mutes even more, allowing more air and more sound.

    Hope that helps.

    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


    • #4
      Hi Dan. That's a great blog you're doing - lots of details and good photos. You've asked "And, to what degree is accessing this area even possible when the organ is fully assembled?"

      I'd have to say, you access much at all with the organ fully assembled.

      When I started restoring my 1874 George Woods, first thing I did after opening the case, removing the keyboard and stop rail, was to blow (not vacuum) air to get out the dust, pine needles, dead spiders, etc. Then I continued the disassembly. carefully blowing from an old fireplace bellows, as I got deeper into the systems.

      As Michael points out, those grill cloths are designed not just for looks - but also to filter the air entering the organ. The two strips of cloth on the Woods looked black, until I removed them from the grills and discovered they were bright blue where covered by wood - but black where the air was passing through. I replaced the two strips with similar material.

      You can see bits of my restoration journey here:


      Best wishes.
      Tom M.


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Also, as far as material is concerned, I've just used cotton broadcloth from the local fabric store.


    • #5
      Michael - I did the same thing. Blue from the bargain table.

      Some photos: old cloth, new cloth, comparison. In the comparison, note the "dark" (dirty) areas on the original cloth.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	old grill cloth.jpg Views:	0 Size:	49.8 KB ID:	732990

      Click image for larger version  Name:	new grill cloth.JPG Views:	0 Size:	65.9 KB ID:	732991

      Click image for larger version  Name:	old and new.JPG Views:	0 Size:	101.1 KB ID:	732992

      PS - I have no idea why the system required the link (below). I uploaded the photos as attachments, clicked Post, and the system said "please add url". Couldn't post the photos without adding a url, so I guessed and chose ReedSoc.