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The Gallery has been partitioned into five sections, viz:
    Gallery Main Page (Current and Completed Projects)
    (Difficult Restoration No. 1 - Schoniger Organ)
    Difficult Restoration No. 2 (Faber Suitcase Organ)
    Difficult Restoration No. 3 (Estey Chapel Organ)
    Difficult Restoration No. 4 (A Pile of Stuff)

Special Slide-Show Feature: Vocalion Serial Number 834 (being refurbished for the Redmond Oregon Historial Commission)

 


 

Difficult Restoration No. 1

 


In Lost Angeles. Taking off the back to see if it is “all there.”

 


Delight at seeing that it really IS all there!

 


The Shoninger in my shop; the crown and some other small parts have been removed.

 


It may be all there, but it does appear to be rather dirty.

 


Ready to pull put the upper action.

 


Oh, dear! Composition gaskets, held in place with staples. Not a good sign!

 


Here’s the completed replacement lower action. It is entirely new. The next few pictures reveal why it was easier to make a new one than to try to refurbish the original.

 


Here’s the lower action just as it came out of the organ.

(1) Treadles straps screwed and GLUED!
(2) Black paint slopped over exhaust valves
(3) Rubber cloth too heavy and wrapped on to face of lifters
(4) Large gaps in hinging of lifters
(5) No gasket in joint between foundation and lower action
(6) RC glued with yellow glue and STAPLED!

 




(1) Joint leaked, so it was flooded with glue!
(2) Hex-head screws (worse than Phillips!)
(3) Treadle straps far too heavy material

 




(1) Too heavy weight of hinging PLUS two 1/8" layers of self-adhesive cork & rubber gasket material as spacers
(2) TWO layers of cloth across top of lifter. Why?
(3) NO ribs!

 


First step: dismantle the case into as many individual parts as possible. In this case, there were 53 pieces ranging in size from a complete end-panel to knobs for the doors

 


On the dolly: off to my favorite stripper.

 


Preparing the new foundation: all new material.

 


Wrapping the new exhausters.

 


Fortunately, the upper action, though dirty, had not been attacked by whoever demolished the lower action! Here the upper action is going back together.

 


Some broken parts on the crown required replication.

 


The thin veneer appliques on the crown had peeled away, and were replaced: here the glue is setting up under clamps.

 


Many other repairs on the case were necessary. Note that in this picture, the case has come back from the stripper: it doesn’t look much different, because the white first-coat of the antiquing sank deeply into pores of the walnut.

 


The crown ready for staining.

 


The case had to be re-assembled before staining. The floor-frame was made entirely new, as the old one was badly cracked and rotten.

 


The lower action had to be re-fitted before re-staining the case. Shoninger always used the reverse-style lower action; the lower back of the organ is part of the reservoir.

 


The organ beginning to look like an organ again. Note the leather gaskets on the brand-new foundation.

 


Continuing the re-assembly.

 


On this one, the action to play the bells must be assembled after the stop-action is in position.

 


All back together! If I had it to do over, I would have had the case parts dip-stripped, though it is getting harder all the time to find anyone who still uses this process.

 


Another view of the organ completed, except for missing candle-holders and two tiny doo-lollies that are missing. Over a hundred hours were devoted to reversing the horrible travesties this organ suffered. According to notes found inside, the antiquing was done in 1947.

 


 

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