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Reservoir "oomph"

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  • Reservoir "oomph"

    On a single manual reed organ, when the feeders have fully opened the reservoir and you stop pumping the treadles, with no stops drawn and no reeds speaking ...

    How many seconds until the reservoir is completely depleted?

    Or - how many seconds for a single reed to stop speaking?

    On my Alexandre (pressure system) harmonium, it takes 12 seconds to fully empty the reservoir. Seems it should take much longer.

    Inquiring minds want to know how long a well-restored wind system will keep pressure 9or vacuum)!

  • #2
    I think 12 seconds is reasonably good. Did you go over the reservoir after recovering looking for leaks? A little hide glue at the end can work wonders. You don't want it to be too good because then it's harder to add expression.

    Current: Allen 225 RTC, W. Bell reed organ, Lowrey TGS, Singer upright grand
    Former: Yamaha E3R


    • #3
      Thanks Larason. Are are two tiny holes at a gusset corner, which I've sealed with hide glue. Biggest problem I think is about a dozen of the bass side pallets don't completely seal. The pallet arms are a bit warped, so the goal leather seals dont' completely cover the reed cavity holes. Only solution I can come up with is to put slightly wider leathers on the pallets. I sure can't imagine steaming and straightening 150 year old pallet arms!

      Say, do you know any videos showing the use of the Expression stop? Mine works fine mechanically, but when in use, you hear every movement of the treadles. There's no gradual crescendo or diminuendo - just sudden increases in sound. Not pleasant! I just don't know what it's supposed to sound like.

      Tom M.


      • #4
        I know if you search "alexandre harmonium" on youtube there's tons of them, and most seem to be using the expression stop!

        I think that the air should run out pretty soon if you have the expression stop open. Otherwise, there's no way for a decrescendo to happen. The trick is learning how to play the treadles so that it sounds right. Easier said than done! When you get it right though, it sounds great.

        This video isn't an Alexandre, but it shows a bit of the treadles action:

        Here's another video with lots of treadle action:

        You shouldn't hear the treadles move. If you do, they either need to be oiled, or the mechanism needs some felt somewhere to silence it.

        Listening to these harmoniums makes me jealous of you again!

        Current: Allen 225 RTC, W. Bell reed organ, Lowrey TGS, Singer upright grand
        Former: Yamaha E3R


        • #5
          That last video is exactly what I needed. Thank you!

          The pallet leaks are the problem - especially with Expression. I have to work the treadles so much faster than I should, just to keep the reservoir full. I'd bet once I've fixed the pallet leaks, the Expression (and everything else) will be remarkable! Thanks!

          One of my favorite "harmonium basics" videos - check out the section beginning at 5:00:

          Tom M.
          PS - here's my first video (last night). Still lots of work to do: pallet leaks, replace wadding, eliminate squeaky treadle, clear two non-sounding reeds. But what a change from the "box of parts" I started with!


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment

            Thank you for keeping us up-to-date on your repairs! We have a lot to learn from you.