Sunday, August 12, 2012

Restoring a Reed Organ - Part 6 - Removing the Action from the Case

Having had a first look at what the upper and lower action look like in the case, we decided to remove it entirely:

The action rests on these two brackets, one of which (the treble side) has been shimmed at some point.

We carefully lifted it out and placed it on the floor:

We were now able to get a first look at the exhauster bellows, valves and straps.

Three of the four original leather exhauster valves are missing, and the fourth has been replaced by that denim/canvas material that covers the main reservoir.  It is now clear why we couldn't get any sound out of the organ!  I depressed the reservoir while it was on the floor and tried to play the keyboard (a real trick) and was finally able to get some sound, although the reservoir only stayed depressed for mere seconds.

Now, here is a look at the inside of the case with the action removed.  That's Dad looking in...

There are two signatures chalked on:  "Fred" & "Casey", or maybe it was "Fred Casey."  Also note the strange little symbol (seen in the last post) which looks like some kind of stylized "R".  Note sure what it might mean.

We decided that we didn't want to just leave the action on the floor, so we needed to construct some kind of frame for it so that we could work on it.

The legs of Mom's old dining room table came in handy!

More to come!

Restoring a Reed Organ - Part V: Beginning the Disassmebly

It's time to take the back of the case off and get a better look inside:

As we began to look inside, we were very pleased to see no immediate evidence of mice.  Certainly there were some webs and a bit of evidence of a few other insects.  Much of the felt in many places has given way to the moths, but things look very good... just dirty.

Removing the lower part of the back of the case we can see the back of the reservoir and note that the hinges are on the outside of the resevoir (some reed organs have hinges inside). 

The safety/spill valve has been permanently covered over with a block of plywood, attached with screws (and as we later learned, glue).  Perhaps someone thought sealing this up might have been the solution to a leaky bellows.

Taking a look at the back board of the reservoir, we can see that the bellows have have been re-covered. The top covering looks like the original rubberized cloth (with some heat damage, probably from the previous removal of the rest of the cloth).  Along the sides is a "newer" cloth, which does not appear to be rubberized, but is rather almost like a canvas or denim.  Certainly note original.  You can see LOTS (!) of tacks affixing the cloth.  Not regulation procedure according to Jim Tyler!

Did you see the interesting chalked mark on the case in upper left picture?  More on that in a future post!  As we look above at the upper action, we found an interesting marking on the back of the keyboard frame:

Let's flip it over and get a better look:

It says "B.M. Woodman, Feb 19th, 1876"
So, we have a date for the organ, which fall into the range I postulated in an earlier post.  Still no serial number, though. 

Here's a photo that we took later of the action board, after we removed it, and we noticed that Woodman had signed it there, as well.

Next:  Taking the action out of the case.