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  • Electric fan reed organ repair question

    Hi All,

    I recently picked up a small electric reed organ which I am in the process of fixing up. After repairing the keyboard & fan motor assembly, I now have the instrument in a semi-playable state. As you can see in the photo attached, a couple of reeds have come loose. I will get around to re-attaching these. I did notice that certain notes produced a very rattling & ringing tone. I made the assumption that this was because they were loose & I was right. Some reeds do have a fair amount of play in them.

    Could anybody recommend a suitable substance for properly fixing the reeds in place?

  • #2
    Joe - I'm no expert, and I don't know what make/model organ you have. But the photo implies the reeds are/were held by some plastic resin. If so, I'd think an adhesive that hardens (not one that remains pliable) would be what you're looking for. When you say "reeds have a fair amount of play", I assume you means the entire reed is loose in the adhesive, and not that the tongue is loose in the reed. I'd bet that with use, many more reeds will vibrate loose from that old adhesive.

    Tom M.

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    • #3
      Hi Tom,

      To tell you the truth, I don't even know what make & model this is. There is no branding or serial plate on it at all. At a guess though, I would say it's Italian & probably from the 1950s or early 1960s. They guy who gave it to me had even less of an idea of what it was (he told me "it looks like someone took out all the circuit boards!").

      By saying that there is play, you're correct, I meant to say that the entire reed is loose. Sorry I didn't write that with better clarity.

      The original resin has a consistency not unlike that of candle wax gone hard. As for more reeds coming loose over time with further usage, I hadn't really though about that but it is a good point I will agree. I'm just now wondering if it would be better to chip away the old resin entirely & re-fix all of the reeds, or just add an extra film over the edges to keep them secure? Also I'd welcome any suggestions as to any particular brand of resin I should look out for next time I'm making a trip to the hardware store...

      Thanks for your input Tom & appreciate your assistance.

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      • #4
        Joe - just a thought, but if you put new resin/adhesive on the old stuff, the old stuff is still likely to come loose (crack/pull away from the reed board). Myself, I'd go for the "start over" technique.

        Say, if you look at the bottom row of reeds in the photo, the sixth reed tongue from the right appears to be slightly lower than the reed frame, while the other reed tongues appear to be slightly higher than the frame. (Have to admit, those reeds don't exactly look like the highest quality manufacture!)

        I'd think a polyurethane glue would be good for metal to wood:

        https://uk.gorillaglue.com/guide-to-glue-on-metal/

        Hope this helps. When you get it repaired, how 'bout sharing a video so we know what it sounds like?
        Tom M.

        Comment


        • #5
          Could you supply a pic of the whole unit, showing the keyboard and more of the outer case? I still wouldn't know what it was, but there's a lot of wisdom on this forum, and that might help others to identify what it is that you've got.

          Enjoy the "fixing up."

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          • #6
            Hi Joe and welcome to the mob. The model you have acquired is a nice one to start with as it is small and probably with fewer internals than the larger reeds organs. The electric fan part makes it more interesting as one does not find those on the regular home type or parlor type reed organs, only on the larger church organs with two manuals etc.
            Coming back to your reed issue - I would say that from the picture, as Tom rightly commented, some of the reed tongues are suspect. At the very least they would probably bind on the frame sides when vibrating causing the clattering or ringing sound you mention. This does not detract from the added problem of the entire reed frames coming off the bases. When you do decide to remove and re-glue them, do one at a time and while the reed is free, fix the ones where the tongues touch the frames. Sometimes the rivets come loose so that the tongue can swivel on its base - not good. A very light tap on the rivet should fix this but be sure that the tongue is straight in the frame before tapping.

            And yes, please post some more pictures.

            Thanks for sharing
            Nico
            "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

            Comment


            • #7
              Back again everyone, been very busy the past week (which is a good thing, of course) & only just getting around to posting the pictures now.

              This one shows the instrument with the case cover removed. There are also legs with it, however these don't attach correctly & will need some work. On the top right hand corner you will see some plates screwed on. I made these from a scrap piece of ABS. They cover where the pilot light (which was missing) & main power switch (which was metal, not grounded & in my view not safe as the power connection is 2-wire, i.e. live & neutral only - no earth). There was a connector attachment at the back of the top cover assembly which is also now covered over in a similar manner. At the right hand side of the lower (wooden) body there was also a voltage selector which had been damaged. I removed this & drilled a hole in which to feed in the power cable. I also covered this with a small, home-made ABS panel to make it look somewhat neat. I also installed an in-line switch of the lamp-cord variety which I had lying around in my box of electrical bits & pieces.

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              • #8
                The next photo here shows the top cover removed. The lowest A note, as you can see, is missing its pad, which I have & will re-attach. The stop mechanism is visible here too. The flute stop activates what appears to be a 4' rank of reeds, the bassoon stop activates the 8' rank, while selecting the organ stop results in both sets operating at the same time.

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                • #9
                  Joe - congratulations on the progress. Did you re-mount those loose reeds?
                  Tom M.

                  Comment


                  • John_Joe_Jr
                    John_Joe_Jr commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hi Tom, thanks, getting there slowly but surely. I'm working on it gradually when I have the time. I haven't got around to re-mounting the reeds yet. I did purchase some of the recommended Gorilla glue from the hardware store on my way home from work this evening. I hope to get to this part of the job over the weekend.

                • #10
                  Next up we have the inside body of the instrument showing the box containing the fans. Here is where the power cable comes in on the right. I have hard-wired this for 220-Volt electrics. This was initially held in with some clips which didn't do a very good job of keeping it secure. So at the lower end I secured it with 3 x M3 screws on the outside, washers & nuts on the inside. At the top end of the box, I used 10 x M3 washers as stand-offs to allow the clips to mate with it properly. I drilled holes in one end of each clip so I could screw them into the fan box. Now it is nicely secured. On the right you can see that the swell shutter is very crudely held all the way open by way of a nail hammered in. The original knee-swell is missing. I may be able to fabricate one if I can't find a suitable replacement. The swell mechanism does work, however kept jumping around where it was held on by a clip. So I fixed it by drilling a hole in it & using a screw & nut to hold it together without jumping up.
                  Last edited by John_Joe_Jr; 09-09-2020, 03:34 PM.

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                  • #11
                    Last one for now shows the back of the keyboard assembly where the reeds are attached (well, not all of them!). Those M3 nuts you can see are my work. The keyboard had buckled on the top octave so all notes there were ciphering as the pads were not sitting correctly. It was originally held to the wood with small tacks. To secure it, I marked out holes to drill so that I could attach the keyboard in a much more secure manner. I needed to carefully remove some keys in order to drill underneath them, also to widen the holes to accept an M3 screw. Then I had to get the keys back on & carefully re-attach the spring of each key (5 in total needed to be temporarily removed) to the main keyboard metalwork. This wasn't quite as trick as it initially appeared. It took me a while, though I have to say that I rather enjoyed the machining element of the work. Even if I do say so myself, the results turned out not too bad considering I was making do with a makeshift bench from scrap timber & an ancient power drill.

                    Anyway, progress is being made, so I hope to report back over the coming days...
                    Last edited by John_Joe_Jr; 09-09-2020, 03:34 PM.

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                    • #12
                      Nice work there buddy! Soon you will be able to produce some good sounds on this little toy. Thanks for the pictures and feedback.

                      Nico
                      "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

                      Comment

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