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Thread: Mason & Hamlin “Style 454”

  1. #11
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, for the advice.

    Nico, I will keep the vacuum away from the reeds then. Manufacturing reed puller is the job for the weekend!
    Michael and SubBase, no sign of a reed puller inside, but there is a red plastic clothes peg in there!

    Haven’t had much of a chance to fiddle with it the last few days, but I have been playing it a bit. Got to get used to the shorter range than my piano and pick appropriate pieces. Also, I keep forgetting to pedal evenly and my feet start working like on a piano pedal for sostenuto! Will be better when I get all the keys and stops working too.
    Not sure about performance for public consumption. Need a bit more practice, but a goal is always good!

    Looking forward to eking out some time to really get into cleaning it out.

    Kath

  2. #12
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathP View Post
    but there is a red plastic clothes peg in there!

    Kath
    One sometimes find interesting things inside the bellies of organs. I have found screwdrivers, tape measures, train tickets, ball point pens, even bank notes (unfortunately from a country with very low exchange rates....) and also many skeletons of dead animals from spiders to rodents to ostriches and the odd elephant too (just kidding about some of the skeletons...)
    While on the subject - if you do notice evidence of rodent presence, wear gloves and a breathing mask when stirring up dust - that evil thing called Hanta Virus y'know..... but not so probable in reed organs as in electronic ones. Still ....

    I have a model similar to yours, style 469 with 13 stops. Here is a pic:

    20160413_180823.jpg

    Enjoy!

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

  3. #13
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Kath, you can use old blister packaging like hanging electronic equipment comes in to make a protective slide-way to guide the reeds over the wood.

    Also, there's a felt strip that sits under the reed ends. It may be turning into dust now, so don't get enthused with a vacuum cleaner.
    -- I'm Lamar - 1999 Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) -- Allen TC 4 Project (forum thread)
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  4. #14
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    I’ve hit a bit of a snag in my attempt to clean the reeds that aren’t working.

    I took out the Vox Humana and the sub base assembly so I could access the reeds. Propped open the shades and figured out which stops work each mute. I couldn’t trace them all yet, but I’m getting a better feel for what is going on. It doesn’t look too bad in there. A bit dusty, but not 120 years of dust, so it’s been cared for or refurbished at some point. No evidence of mice and most of the felt I can see looks pretty good, except for a strip running the length of the keyboard on top of the keys at the pivot point.

    I was all set to pull a reed or two and see what was going on, but I can’t locate any groove or divot in the end of the reed to put a puller of any kind in. I can see the little rivit type thing holding the reed together, but it really seems to be smooth on the back side of that. Am I missing something? Where am I supposed to put the reed puller?

    Kath

  5. #15
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the picture Nico. It does look similar. Thee are repair patches on the side of mine where I suppose it used to have candle holders and similar on top where I’m guessing it had a mirror?

  6. #16
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    Mason & Hamlin reeds almost never had pulling slots; they came with square, not rounded reed pullers. You pull via the rivet. Try using a paint-can opener filed down a bit to get access to the narrowest reed cells.

  7. #17
    ppp Pianississmo ColoradoJoshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathP View Post
    Is there something missing from the top of the Vox Humana? Its not working properly. The flap spins whether the knob is in or out. There is a hole in the top of it and the wire lever that moves over the hole when the stop is pulled doesn't connect with anything.
    Attachment 28411
    There's a small leather flap missing on the Vox Humana there. It's supposed to be connected there at the back where you can see the leftover residue. The small wire lever goes under the end of it and when the stop is pulled out, it pulls the leather flap up to let air be drawn in through the hole causing the fan to spin. When it's closed, it acts as a valve that doesn't allow wind to enter.

    To fix that you'll want to clear off the remaining residue and remember that hot hide glue is the only kind of glue that should be used in reed organs. I'm quite new to this so some other people on the forum may have some suggestions for exactly what kind of leather you need.

  8. #18
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathP View Post
    Thanks for the picture Nico. It does look similar. Thee are repair patches on the side of mine where I suppose it used to have candle holders and similar on top where I’m guessing it had a mirror?
    Yes there might have been some supports on the sides secured with two screws. It would have been more likely a type of plate on each side where candles or lamps could be positioned - or a glass of whiskey if the player was a little nervous.... These often are either removed to facilitate transport or broken off while man-handling the instrument and mislaid and never replaced. I removed the ones on mine for while the organ is in storage.

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

  9. #19
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Progress update

    So my summer holidays ended and I had to go back to work, which has slowed me down a bit but we are getting there.

    I eventually figured out where all the reeds were and which ones go with which stops. There were a bunch of reeds not working, but with all the stops out, every key would make some sort of sound, which was encouraging.

    My very handy husband (who actually purchased the organ on an impulse) made this custom reed puller out of an old screw driver. It has a hole in the end that fits nicely over the rivit in the reed. I used it to pull every reed out one at a time and dust them off. It also works nicely to push them back in!

    After that, there are only 5 reeds not working now. Two on the Melodia, one the viola and two on the flute. All the reeds look Ok in that they are not broken, so I’m hopeful that there is just still some dust in there somewhere. Will have to have another go sometime.

    I (temporarily) put a piece of tape over the Vox Humana so I could tell if there were any other leaks in the vacuum. With that sealed off, the underlying whistle has disappeared and it seems that all the bellows are in tact with no leaks.

    A coat of furniture polish on the woodwork and it looks loved again. Now I just have to eek out some time to play it and stop my husband impulse buying more ancient instruments. Lucky for him, it turns out this one is actually in really good condition and can be enjoyed for many years to come.

    I’ve learned so much about how organs work just getting this one going again. They truly are amazing pieces of engineering. Thanks to all the forum members for your advice along the way. You are a wonderful resource.

    KathP
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #20
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update Kath. It is good to hear that all the reeds are intact. The problem for some of them not sounding will likely be dust or some debris in there where it does not belong. Good going!

    M&H organs are probably some of the most durable ones out there, but there are others equally well made also. I have an old Story & Clark which is made from walnut wood and between the M&H and this one, two of my favorites in this type of pumpers.

    Wishing you success in restoring this beauty to fully working condition.

    Enjoy!

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

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