Saturday, 29 October 2011

Removing paint from a mahogany organ case

Once the extraneous pedal pipes and mechanism were removed from the Flight and Robson organ the extent of the 'vandalism' done to the mahogany case was apparent. This photograph shows the upper part of the case temporarity reassembled in my workshop so that I could get dimensions for reconstructing the lower part of the case. The lower right side panel is what the original case looked like.
I decided to use a heat gun to soften the paint and to gently scrape it off. This seemed to work reasonably well. Since most of the panelling frame joints had opened up it was also fairly easy to take the panels apart and to gently remove the applied carved details. The real advantage of this is that paint in the otherwise inaccesible corners can be readily removed. All of this work is something that can be done in old woodwork that has been assembled with animal glue. It would be quite a different proposition with modern synthetic adhesives. The panels will be reassembled using hot animal glue and the carved details reapplied in a similar fashion

These are the two surviving panels of the lower part of the case during the first stages of paint removal. The original sets of square holes for the stops on each side can be seen. The later holes cut into the case will be filled in, as will the rather crudely cut slot for hand pumping. The organ will be pumped using a foot pedal that can be fitted into one of two positions, one for the player to use and another for an assistant. That is most likely the original configuration.

No comments:

Post a Comment