This is the way Mrs Parsons organ looked when she came to pick it up… The rest of this page will describe briefly how we got there.
This is where I could kick myself, I did not take any before pictures, oops… the wood without stain was not there when I started. The old tall decorative back was left out in the rain and discarded. When I was asked to restore the organ to a working status, I was resolute that it would not be returned in the condition that it was received. My plan was to build a modest back so the organ would not feel half naked. The original oil lamp holders were broke, my original idea was to cut an straight edge, glue on some new wood and carve it. As my wife and thought about it we figured that it would look better if we turned some new ones. A friend recommended Jerry R. When asked, he jumped at the chance. After turning the new lamp holders it was decided that we would not throw the old ones away. So we turned them down to a smaller size and used them on the new back as part of the decorations.
After sanding and a bit of finishing, things start looking better.
When pulled the Reeds were a bit rough. Dirt, Sand, Bobby pins, needles, etc. were all found in reed beds. Also the pallets leathers and the felts had been moth eaten.. mostly the damage was done to the felts, which eliminated the support for the leathers.
The stop board was cracked, split, and the paint half missing. After sanding, painting, a new stencil, and cleaning up the stop knobs made things look a lot better.
This is the part I put off till last, recovering the bellows. I called Larry at Johnson Music in North Carolina to place an order for parts. I am without words to describe how well he treated me. Larry went far and above that which I would have expected. In their shop, they tape over the inlet to the bellows and strive to get 90 seconds before the bellows expand. When I called back, and told him that the bellows were almost expanded fully at 5 min. he asked if I wanted a job. Then he asked what I did that was different than what he had told me. I explained the secrets learned in the process. Also he mentioned that a single note should play for 10 seconds as the bellows expand,,, at 35 sec, a single note played well, and the tone tapered off at just over 40 sec.
The Stool was built from scratch, patterned after the one I built for my first organ. The pattern on the seat was copied from a shape found on the area in front of the red silk. Also the pattern on the foot pedals was loosely copied from a design on the side of the organ. The new sides on the top were fashioned after the area below the oil lamp holders.
When invited over to see the progress as things were coming together, the owner was doing a poor job trying to hold back the tears. When I started, the plan was to only make the wind chest and bellows work. Guess I am a bit of a perfectionist, and did a bit more than was contracted, She paid a bit more than the contract,, A win win in my book.