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My Pipe Organ Project

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This update: 8/18/06

I have recently taken ownership of M.P. Möller's Opus 8293, from 1950. It's a 2 manual, 3 rank Artiste, the larger variety having a separate console and separate pipe cabinet. These pictures were taken at the home of the previous owner. The pipe-shot is pretty much a case of getting whatever I could get by holding the camera through the swell shades and hoping for the best!

The resources are:
16' Metal Bourdon - wood gedeckt
8' Viola
4' Diapason
Prepared for chimes in console

16' Bourdon
8' Gedeckt
8' Viola
5 1/3' Quint
4' Diapason
4' Flute

"great" Manual I
8' Diapason (tc)
8' Gedeckt
8' Viola
4' Diapason
4' Flute
4' Viola
2-2/3' Flute (not on stoprail)
2-2/3' Viola 12th
2' Flute (not on stoprail)
2' Viola
An extra slide for chimes

"swell" Manual II
8' Gedeckt
8' Viola
4' Flute
4' Viola
2-2/3' Flute
2' Flute

Tremulant to whole organ

The manual I stops labeled as 'not on the stoprail' are there so as to enable a 'swell to great' coupler. It isn't really a coupler, it's just that the great is provided with all the stops that the swell has (the great division not "appearing" to have the 2-2/3' or 2' flute stops as seen from the stoprail), so when you put on the 'coupler', any stops which are 'on' on the swell are activated on the great.

Unfortunately, every plastic rocker tab and nameplate is crumbling and/or changing shape.

Currently it's dis-assembled, waiting to go back together. I have some prep-work to take care of at the moment...stay tuned!

This update: 8/20/06

Crumbling Plastic Be Gone! Thanks to the efforts of HESCO, Inc. in Hagerstown, console-part engravers to the stars (and other people like me too!) I now have new rocker tablets to replace all the crumbling ones, and even a new builder's plate complete with the characteristic 'M. P. Möller' signature. The console seems much more usable now.

As you can tell from the stops on the Great, I've decided to make the two additional flute stops (2-2/3' and 2') available independently, dispensing with the "Swell to Great" coupler and Chimes tabs. While it's possible I might get to hooking something up to the chimes switch on the Great, my suspicion is that I'll be using a different console by then...

This update: 9/3/06

Some progress in the chamber space. The Wurlitzer shade engines are now in place. Looks like I need to run some wind-line. So, will the little Artiste blower actually run the Wurlitzer shade actions? Eh, we'll see...I do have plan for a supplemental blower in the very likely event that the Wurlitzer actions are not keen on working at the rather low pressure from the Artiste blower.

This update: 9/24/06

Shade winding in place. Yes, it's PVC, but painted a lovely shade of hunter green. I'm putting the finishing touch on the shade junction terminals. Obviously the shade frames are as tall as I am. I'm standing on a platform about 4 feet off the floor -- it's a very vertical chamber space!

This update: 9/26/06

Möller main chest parked in the chamber. I'm guessing it'll go about where it's shown, possibly with some tweaking so that the winding to the regulator from below (blower in the basement) will match up fairly well. That's 8' DD of the metal Gedeckt parked in the chest. One good sign - there's plenty of space for other things; the three rank chest is pretty compact.

This update: 10/9/06

Main regulator now parked under the chest where expected (just like in the original Artiste), and a few pipes stuffed in (yes, the chest was "blown out" first before any pipes were finally planted). The original L-shaped wind-trunks have been retained, with an extra coat of the official wind-line color. The dangling cable will stay dangling until I decide where the junction board is going. Back to the left of the wind-line you can see a bit of flex-line peeping out. This is an adapter connection for the shades. I didn't want to make a complete hard line all the way to the wind junction box if the Artiste Blower ended up not delivering high enough pressure to run the Wurlitzer shade actions. As it turns out, they do work, if slowly, off the Artiste blower pressure. Still, I'll probably end up using a supplemental blower in the end.

This update: 11/19/06

Argh, too much real work going on! I've not had a lot of time to work on the organ due to demands of my normal job.

The pedal bourdon offset is, however, now in place, with its attendant pipes. These are the 14 biggest pipes of the flute voice. Both chests have been connected together, end-to-end, and provided with legs to get them up a bit off the floor.

In the fore-ground are the two offset chests for the bottom 14 pipes of the 8' viola (with one viola lazily flopped in next to the nearest bourdon) and the two bottom notes of the 4' diapason. Winding the viola and bourdon offsets is the next task.

This update: 12/5/06

Sorry, no pictures with this update. I'm a bit busy with my regular work, but would like to report that the console-to-chamber junction wiring is about 75% finished. Basically everything that's on the main chest (flute from 8' DD up, viola from 4' D up, diapason from 4'D up) is wired to the console. The wind line connecting the viola offsets has been constructed, but is not installed because I need to sit where it should be in order to do the wiring work.

I'm hoping to have something playable this coming weekend (Dec. 9/10), and of course some pictures too!

This update: 12/7/06

Some call it "music"...As of late last night (12/6/06), most every pipe on the main chest is now playable from the console. I finished the console-to-chamber wiring, and closed up the wind line to the viola offsets so as to be able to run the blower.

I just stocked the chest with the remaining manual pipework earlier this morning, and with the exception of a couple dead notes, the main chest seems to work just fine.

Here you can see the main chest with the remaining trebles installed, and the picture to the right shows the new pedal offset winding, including a cute little Standaart pedal regulator (originally the Artiste pedal was on static wind). Once again, a nice dark green for the PVC winding, although here it looks rather darker - must've been the camera! I haven't decided on the precise location of the junction board, so it's just lying for the moment. Once that's finalized, I'll tidy up the console cable.

This update: 12/12/06

Starting to look mostly complete! Viola 8' basses are now in place (picture shows them as seen from the other end of the organ chamber), and all the pedal chests are wired to the console junction. So, almost every pipe plays - I still have three dead notes in the flute rank, but that falls into the troubleshooting department.

(Later that same day...)
Fixed the dead notes in the flute. There were three wires from the chest to the junction that had been de-soldered to the point of not being connected when the cable to the console was removed from the same pins on the junction. A few minutes' work with the soldering iron fixed that...

This update: 4/2/07

Sorry, again, no pictures with this update. I've been lazy about updating, but here's what's been happening:
Feb. 2007 saw the Wurlitzer shades finally operable from the swell pedal. They're running on the wind from the Artiste blower, and are rather slow because of that. They'd like something higher, like 10" or 12" of wind pressure. This will eventually be recitfied by a separate higher-pressure blower for the shades and percussion instruments.
March 2007 saw the remote starter for the blower finally hooked up. Previous to this, the console switch only turned on the console lights and recitifer - I had to go to the basement to turn the blower on. Now it all comes on with one switch. I'll try my best to include at least one picture with the next update! :-)

This update: 9/17/07

A quick look at a recent find, possibly to be incorporated in the organ. I'm told this is a Lyon and Healy Saxophone rank. It's a mostly complete 49 note set. The middle picture shows all the C pipes. 8' CC has a resonator about 6' long.

The Eventual Console

The Möller will probably serve as a nucleus instrument beyond which I'm hoping to expand. At which point, I'll probably be looking to switch over to the big console waiting in the wings...

The console shell was originally built by the Link Organ Company of Binghamton, NY, and contained two manuals. It operated a small instrument of about 4 ranks, as far as I've been told. When I purchased the shell, it had been modified to a three manual configuration, using the bottom three keyboards which you see in the picture, and a two-row curved stoprail of extremely fragile construction. While the modifier made a presentable looking stoprail from the outside, there were no tablet actions or contacts provided, only screw-on brackets which supported the tabs on a pivot. At a later time, I found that the manual stack had originally comprised four manuals, and by a stroke of coincidence, I was able to locate and obtain the fourth manual. This shell is rather wide for a two manual shell, and it became apparent that it could easily support a four manual configuration with a single row stop-rail and single row 'backrail' (the short row of stop tablets directly over the top manual).

The backrail comprises 24 tablets, arranged in five groups:

(1)Pedal 'overflow'
(2)Accompaniment Second Touch
(4)prepared for - 10 blank tabs which have been left 'open' to control functions not yet implemented
(5)celeste on/off ventil.

The main stoprail (shown here under construction) will comprise groups of tablets for the Pedal, Accompaniment, Great, Solo and "4th Manual" divisions. My original guess was that I could easily accommodate 75 tablets on this rail. Then when I did a mock-up, it appeared as though 78 tablets would be the limit. Upon actual installation, the magic number seems to have grown to 81 tablets. I suppose if I'd previously built a number of curved stoprails I'd be able to predict this a bit better. The basic construction is a laminated curve, made up of a number of plys of 1/8" thick strips curved around a form and glued together.

And here's the basic frame with the add-on portions, new front covers, new top cover, and a filled stoprail installed. Not a terrible profile for a console expanded from 2 manual size to contain 4 manuals! Still waiting for a bit of stain and finish on the added pieces, except for the stoprail, which had to be stained and finished before the installation of the tablet mechanisms. To the left of the console can be seen the Peterson relay system which will control the organ. It's a solid state device, but is not multiplexed. The switching process is accomplished through a discrete diode matrix system, which sorts out inputs from the console keys, pedals and stop controls, and sends the appropriate signals to the pipe valves in the organ.

Here's the cosmetically finished console. I still need to build up a combination action to drive the stop tablet mechanisms, and install the electric switches needed to realize the couplers. The music rack adds substantially to the apparent size of the console. It has been suggested to me (you know who you are!) that the black central portion of the rack evokes a blackboard-- upon which themes for improvisation, song titles, grocery lists, etc. might be chalked for handy reference! I do have a standard 'lattice' type music rack which is a bit smaller, and has a much smaller visual impact. The existing Link music rack does help to remind one of the console's heritage, though.

A note about the "4th Manual" division. While this division does comprise a couple of speaking voices (Trumpet 8' and Vibraphone, with the relay being provided with a further 3 stop switches which are not wired to anything at the moment) it is primarily a coupler manual from the Great and Solo manuals, the great being available at 16', 8', and 4', and the Solo being available at 8', 5 1/3' and a variable pitch. The coupler manual concept is little known in the US, but found some favor on cinema organs in the UK as a means for providing a little extra variety on smaller instruments. Many three manual instruments, for example, were provided with a two manual relay system, and the third manual operated couplers from the other two manuals and a few percussion stops, the total number of 'stops' on the coupler manual being limited to the number of key contacts at the manual itself, thus providing an extra keyboard without the expense of another manual's worth of relay!


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