Sunday, 13 November 2011

Something different

I haven't posted anything for the past few days because:- 1. My laptop notebook has given up the ghost, and 2. I have been in north Staffordshire taking out an organ. I am hoping that our local friendly PC technician can at least recover the contents of my hard disk, if unable to revive the computer itself. With regards to the second excuse, well, that it part of my business.

The organ that I am removing is a rather interesting example of the work of Stockport/Manchester organ-builder Samuel Renn (1786-1845). Firstly, the rather impressive gothic front of the case has survived more or less intact as well as one of the side panels. Secondly, much of the original Great pipe work is intact as is a lot of the Swell including a 'choir bass' that allowed the tenor C Swell to have some notes in the octave below. Although the facade pipes do speak, they do so on small pneumatic chests which were installed when the case front was moved forward sometime during the 20th century. Mercifully, this is all reversible and when the facade is moved back to its original place directly in front of the Great windchest the pipes can be directly winded by short conveyances. The two pedal windchests retain their original mechanical action. The scale of the bottom pipes of the Bourdon is a sight to behold and easily merit what was probably their original title of 'Grand Bourdon'. Even more interesting was to find that the case has been cut somewhat at the top - not just the missing tips of the pinnacles, the loss of which local knowledge attributes to a previous incumbent, but also a corner of each side of the centre panel. If my current best guess about the origins of this organ are correct then this older mutilation dates back to the 1850s when the organ was fitted into an upper gallery in St Lawrence's Parish Church in Chorley, Lancashire. Around 1859 the architectural historian Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church and noted that the case of the organ there had been cut to fit it in. Once again these alterations can be reversed.

One footnote here: as I dismantled the organ I came across various bits that were broken, all of which could be fixed by anyone with basic tools and materials. This is in stark contrast to my laptop, which, however helpful it is to me, is a complete blackbox that has defied all my efforts to fix it. I will be interested to see what the problem is, but I am prepared to bet that it will involve either. the use of a special bit of software, or, replacement of a bit that cannot be repaired. Spoken like a true Luddite!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Lower frame - Part 2

One other thing that I needed to do on the frame was to cut and fix four upstanding boards on which the lower mahogany panels will sit. This being done it also afforded an opportunity to check that my measurements were OK and that I had left enough room for the retracting keyboard to pass between the two side panels and below the two small stop jambs. So I clamped the panels onto the front of the frame where they will go as shown here and measured the relevant gaps

I know from past experience that it pays to check things like this as you go along. The earlier you spot a mistake the easier it is to fix! One way for errors to creep in is that I am drawing the plans at 1:2 scale and it is the easiest thing in the world is to take a measurement from the plans using a ordinary ruler rather than the scale ruler.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A new lower frame for the chamber organ

Here is the lower frame for the Flight and Robson chamber organ. For the moment is is only fitted together 'dry' i.e. I haven't yet glued the mortise and tenon joints that hold it all together. The frame will provide a base for the casework as well as supporting the windchest and pipework. The bellows will fit inside the frame and they are the next thing to make.

 This is the frame turned over so that the rollers can be seen.

This is a close-up shot of one of the rollers. These will eventually be hidden by a plinth made of mahogany to match the rest of the casework.