Thursday, October 19, 2017






                                             Repairing a Reed Organ  -             Part 3

A Smith Reed Organ was brought to us for repair to playing condition.   This was not a restoration job, just a repair to good playing condition.

In the past, we had wire brushed all rusty screws before reassembly.  The advent of EVAPO-RUST has made this job a lot easier.  Just put the rusty screws in a bottle of it, wait 24 hours and you have nice clean parts.




As we proceeded in reassembly, we found the root of the stuck stops problem was a transfer of parts between stop hardware, which once identified, was easily corrected.



As with most older wood mechanisms, there were some split parts which we glued back together.



With reassembly completed, we checked to see if all the reeds sounded and had to free a few stuck ones.

The final job was recovering the front grille with the corrected cloth.




At this point, the job is essentially done and the organ is ready to return to the owner.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017




                                                   Repairing a Reed Organ - Part 2

A Smith Reed Organ was brought to us for repair to playing condition.   This was not a restoration job,  just a repair to good playing condition.

We got the problem of the big stack leak under control, but further investigation showed some cracks in the top half where the valves mount.    These were sealed with silicon sealer for the larger ones and shellac based sealer for the narrow ones.



Now we can start reassembly.   The bottom of the air chest was put in place and then the top installed.




The valve push rods were carefully arranged when removed, so as to be able to install them in the same position they came from.   Before the next layer could go on, the stop slides which were hard to move, had to be freed up and readjusted.






Wednesday, October 4, 2017




                                                             Repairing a Reed Organ  - Part 1                                                       

A Smith Reed Organ was brought to us for repair to playing condition.   This was not a restoration job, just a repair to good playing condition.

A quick try at playing it, showed that the bass section would play with a lot of pumping, indicating a good size leak.   The stops were hard to move and did not seem to change the sound.   The tremble section would not play at all.   The treble swell shade seemed to be disconnected.

Smith organs were assembled in the case, so you can't just unscrew the action and slide it out.   You have to disassemble layer by layer.












Once we got inside the air chest, a major leak became apparent.   Making the base out of several pieces of wood is common and the joints are normally sealed by gluing a piece of motor cloth over them.   In this case, the cloth had failed, leaving a 1/8 inch open slot.





After taking the bottom half of the air chest out, it was possible to tape off the reservoir and check the pumps.   The pump and reservoir assembly had been rebuilt about 35 years ago.   They tested to still be in excellent condition.   We treated the cloth with preservative and it should be good for a long time.

We removed the remnants of the orginal air chest crack patch, cleaned off the old glue and glued on
a new patch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

                                                          


                                                                        Making a Coin Drop


We had an instrument ready to go into our self tour no charge area.   The instruments that play there use a quarter coin to make them play one song.   The Cremona C that was destined to go there, had no coin drop mechanism.   Commercially available ones are way too expensive for our budget, so we decided to make one.   The design is not ours.   It is patterned after our Johnson Nickelodeon, which was built in 1908.

The good thing about this design, is that with some wood, a table saw, a few scraps of copper and some time, it costs almost nothing out of pocket.





You route out the wood to fit the coin, make the two copper parts, one fixed, the other moveable and you are in business.

The coin slides down the slot until the copper parts trap it and at that point the coin itself completes the circuit and starts the instrument.

When the song finishes, the moveable copper part is slid over and the coin is released, breaking the circuit and stopping play.

Of course you have to make a pneumatic to work the moveable piece and get it all to work freely.

The next step is to mount it into the instrument and get the coin to drop onto and into the switch area.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017




                                                            Repair of the Link AX Part 7

In June of 2017, we moved the Link AX into the shop and started work.   Most of the detailed work is now finished and reassembly started.

You may remember that in our first check, we found that the soft pedal system interfered with the repositioned drum and we left that problem for later.   When we reinstalled the xylophone, we saw the basic problem was that the units were very tight against the case.   I now think that the repositioning of the drum assembly was a factory job or that perhaps the drum assembly was from a different instrument.   At any rate, there is very little room to spare, so we bent the soft pedal bracket to clear the drums.


When we loaded the paper roll, we found the reason the previous roll was so badly edge damaged.   The guides were narrower that the paper.   We repositioned them to give the paper clearance.  The drag plate was warped and did not sit evenly on top of the paper.   We bent it until it fit properly.


The v-belt pullet was installed on the motor and we now have a v-flat drive for the pumps.


There are a few cosmetic items to take care of; but we are about done with this job and all the functions now work.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

                                                               Climate Control

When Jake had the collection on Route 8, South of Franklin, the building had no climate control.   A  lot of condensation happened when the conditions were right for it and thus many of the metal parts of the instruments show a degree of rust.

The old G.C. Murphy building, which is our present location, had steam heat and added an A/C system in the 1960s.   We had to replace both of them with a combined roof top unit.

We have done our best to reduce unintended air leakage, but we still have a humidity control issue.   We want about 50% relative humidity, so in the absence of a big humidifier in the winter months, we keep the temperature at 50 degrees and humidify selected machines that show sensitivity.

Summer humidity in the basement required 4 dehumidifiers running full time to get to 50%.   Further investigation found that the foundation was stone cemented in place.   A pegboard  covering with no vapor barrier was exposed.   We started a project to put a vapor barrier in place behind the pegboard to prevent moisture entry.   Over the last 4 years, we have done this in pieces, while also adding base plugs in selected areas while we had the peg board down.   The last 150 feet of the barrier was added this past winter.   While doing this, we found several direct air leaks, which we sealed.  



This picture shows the stone foundation wall, a portion of the vapor barrier and the pegboard cover.

Our success is demonstrated by the fact that we now need only 2 dehumidifiers, one running part time, to consistently maintain the desired 50% humidity.

Aside from the humidity control, this saves us about $20 per month on the electric bill.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017




                                                REPAIR OF THE LINK AX Part 6


In June of 2017, we moved it into the shop and started work.   Most of the detailed work is now finished and reassembly started.

You may remember that in our first check, we found the soft pedal system interfered with the repositioned drum and we left that problem for later.

The first problem we found was that both the on and off tracker holes were plugged.   That seemed an easy fix; but unplugging them fixed nothing.   So we started at the valves in the bottom leftside and traced hoses.


The #1 hose was plugged someplace, so we started tracing it.   The routing took it behind the valve area.   It was stuck and could not be moved.   Using the air compressor blew a hold someplace.


Pulling would not move it, so we decided to replace it.   Disconnecting from the tracker bar we followed it through the hose bundle on the right side of the case.


We replaced the line from the tracker bar to the valve.   A check showed all was well.   A later check showed it was still plugged, which meant the tracker bar had redeveloped a problem.    Attempts  to clean the nipple yielded more chaff, but also pierced the tracker tube.   We had to solder up the hole.   We then reconnected the tubing and all is well again.





It took longer to do, than to tell the story.