Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Restoring a Reed Organ, Part 12: Cleaning the Keys

A while back, I had the opportunity to work on cleaning the keyboard.  There are a few front ivories that are missing and the keys are very dirty and yellow.  You can also see some of the red felt stains on the treble end of the keyboard that was caused by water being spilled on the keyboard at sometime in its past. 
I removed the mount upon which the stop levers are located and this allows for the removal of each key for cleaning. 
On the underside of the stop mount, the number 307 was written in pencil.  Is this the part number for this stop action?  I found 303 written in several other places on the organ. I know that M and H used "300" numbers as style numbers for some of their organs.  There is still no overt sign of a serial number or style number.

A few more pencil markings were found on the keys: "#49"
The letter "H"

I gently sanded the sides of the keys to remove any finger gunk.  I then used warm water and a small amount of light detergent on the ivories.  Finally I used "0000" steel wool to buff them up.

I think they ended up looking pretty good.

There is still a fair amount of discolouring, but I am told that with some sunlight exposure, they will whiten up a bit more.

Here is a before/after picture after the top octave was cleaned. Quite a difference, but you can still see the extent of the yellowing, especially on the high "C".

I will have to track down some ivories fronts for the half dozen that are missing. 

The black keys are generally in pretty decent shape.

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