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Thread: 1899 Kimball Parlor Organ

  1. #21
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Great going Lamar!

    Casey is really good with reed organs in general but especially with the Mason & Hamlin makes. He has helped me a lot also. This is really a labor of love which has as a result a great feeling of achievement and satisfaction. The sound of a reed organ is really something.

    Be sure to search and listen to music played on reed organs. Rodney Jantzi has a website where he has posted some worthwhile stuff.

    Enjoy!

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

  2. #22
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Another day. Decided to put the rear panels back on to check the fit and see if the organ sounded much different - makes it noticeably more mellow. The tremolo/Vox Humana is a very slight effect. Neat design - when you pull the stop, the lever on the drum "kicks" the stem to provide impetus.

    Nico, I've watched quite a few of Rodney's videos on YouTube. He's amazing.

    The crazy observations of today... First of all, sitting on the stool and leaning forward to the organ makes singing difficult - I run out of air due to the pressure from my prodigious gut. I wonder if it would be more comfortable to get my knees UNDER the organ. It wouldn't be terribly hard to raise it an inch or so. My feet are bigger than the pedals. If you noticed the footprints on the pedals in the picture on the front page of this thread, the footprints of that former player (reputably a church organist) are about 45% the size of my size twelves. Another reason to raise the organ is that I thought about putting slide rails under it, using something like that "greasy metal" stuff that Hammond used. More joy - if I fold the volume and crescendo levers out, I can't play without pushing them - they're not far enough apart for my knees.

    Guys, I'm not huge. When they made this organ, people were smaller. (And they used lanterns and coal heat.)
    -- I'm Lamar - Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) - can't find headphone jack!
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  3. #23
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    I agree that perhaps the older folk were a tad smaller in stature....

    I am 6'4" and also sport a pair of #12's, plus I have my own version of a sizable gut. Adjust the height of the stool so that your elbows are about 90 degrees with hands resting on the manual. If your legs are able to fit under the manual cradle it will be fine (gut permitting). One cannot play properly while sitting uncomfortably. Remember the knee swells that need the knees to operate them freely, so they do need to be under the manual.

    Finally watch some more videos and take note of the posture and position of the players.

    Have fun!

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

  4. #24
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Unfortunately lightning came in on my phone line and took out some equipment, including my modem and router. Right now I'm using a 6 GB mobile hotspot. It won't last long with much Rodney. Rodney keeps his elbows pretty high and has a proper sloped bench - or a wedge shaped cushion. I haven't decided yet.
    -- I'm Lamar - Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) - can't find headphone jack!
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  5. #25
    mp Mezzo-Piano Mark Carter's Avatar
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    I would certainly recommend an original, sloped bench, as it automatically makes you adopt the correct posture. Enjoying your organ discovery: power to your elbow(s)! Regards, Mark.

  6. #26
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mark - duly noted. Still, I think I need to raise the organ an inch or too. Pretty easy the way it's constructed in front.

    Today I glued the the cracks in the music rack and added reinforcement in the back - must be a stress point that fails every 100 years or so. I'll address the fine-line cracks that still show when I work on the finish.

    The acoustic fabric seems to be a rather stiff linen. It's still intact, but I think a slightly fuzzy modern scrim cloth in burgundy would look good in it.

    Some of the screws are magically placed and don't actually "bite" into anything. In the past I've "fixed" piano music racks by filling the rounded-out holes with wood putty and pilot drilling new holes. I noticed at Lowes that the wood putties have gotten high-tech with fletching-like fiberglass (probably an industrial waste product) and poly (another magical term). I would like for this overhaul to be a 75-year one, so I need to consider whether this stuff will eventually attach the substrate -- old wood! Anyway, I'll be dead and gone by the time it needs this again.
    -- I'm Lamar - Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) - can't find headphone jack!
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  7. #27
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    If the screw hole is weak, you can improve it by working in some 5-minute epoxy. It hardens the loose fibers. Wax the screw before reinstalling, or the threads might cement themselves. heat+ candle wax.
    If the screw hole is beyond that, mix wood flour with the epoxy, fill and re-drill when it is completely hard.
    Or drill out 5/8 and glue in a face-grain plug of harder wood (they liked poplar, but it is not longest-lasting for screw threads.)
    Casey

  8. #28
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Thank you, Casey. The screws that hold the front lower panel on are non structural and the holes "wallowed out." Since I'm going to be working down there, I should replace the hinges on the pedals. Right now, I have to remember to hold my feet in just the right place to make the pedals quiet.

    Just looking in there with a mirror and flashlight, it looks like they were pretty industrial. Do you or anybody have a preferred source or model # for good hinges? (I looked through them at Lowes, but they don't seem to be heavy-duty.)
    -- I'm Lamar - Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) - can't find headphone jack!
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  9. #29
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    There are no more old-stock treadle hinges. China would make them, but minimum order 100,000 pieces. lol.
    The old pattern with the steel "staple" and brass hinge was great because it was squeak-proof. I have used brass piano/continuous hinge for treadles. It works OK, but will it last 80-100 years?
    Casey

  10. #30
    pp Pianissimo Rodney's Avatar
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    Hello SP,

    Congratulations on the ‘new’ Kimball! It looks like you are on the right track of getting this organ back to good playing condition. Take baby steps at first, read, and ask questions – a perfect start. The Horton Presley book is probably the only book available on DIY restorations, but there are some errors that should be noted… When he mentions ‘white glue’, replace that with ‘hide glue’. White glue will work, but if it fails or needs to be undone you will have a lot more work ahead of you separating and cleaning up modern glues as opposed to hot hide glue, liquid hide glue or liquid fish glue.

    The only document that I had to get me started was the previously mentioned ROS article by Jim Tyler, I still like it the best. Casey was instrumental in answering questions, and I still strive to restore as well as he does!

    Dead notes are usually just dirt stuck in the reeds – carefully clear the dirt away from the tongue and in most cases it will work again. Reed are quite resilient, even if they look ruined (other than broken) they can often be brought back to life.

    Regarding playing reed organ, everyone is different and you will likely find what works best for you, even if you need to make risers for the organ. Michael Hendron (youtube search mustel1887) towers over me in height, yet he has no problems playing any reed organ. If the knee levers are too close together for you and this is not a historically significant instrument then I would not have any reservations relocating the knee swells and modifying the linkages to suit your needs.

    Regarding treadle hinges, sometimes the sleeve around the pin can be squeezed to tighten them. I have had success (so far) falling away with historical replacement parts with this, and using a blank steel piano hinge, cut to the entire width of the treadle, and drilling 6 – 8 holes in it for mounting. To date these hinges have remained quiet and wiggle free.

    All the best in your restoration journey,

    Rodney
    To play a reed organ or harmonium, it helps to disconnect your feet from your brain and connect them to your emotions.
    Most of all, be creative, make music and have fun...


    Website: http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

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