trial and error of building a chest organ

  • Hello my organ building friends,


    Much thank you to all your kindness support during the process of drawings, I asked a lot of questions and I really appreciate your generous help.

    After finishing the CAD drawings of the chest organ based on Mr. Koele's composition No.5, kistorgels.nl

    I'm finally starting to build it. I don't have a workshop for my own, therefore, most of the work I decided to allocate to a local wooden workshop or via the online store of taobao.com .

    I start with the channel of the windchest, send the cad drawing to an online laser cutting store, they only offer maximum 1cm thick of plywood. So I give it a try with an overall cost of 11 euros. Here is what it looks like, the overall width is 87cm.




    The width of individual channel spans from 13mm (lower notes) to 7mm, and channel spacing is also 7mm.

    One way to increase the height of the channel is to laser cut two board and glue them together? I wonder if it works, looking forward to hearing your comments. Thanks and regards!

    Xiaohu

  • If you want to glue several such panels on top of each other, the most important thing is that from one channel to the next there are no places where the wind can pass between the layers. So work with plenty of glue and afterwards also coat all the inner surfaces with glue. This coating is also necessary because plywood in the inner layers may have flaws such as knotholes or small cracks. In the worst case, you will only notice this when you have glued the whole windchest together and the pipes are standing on it...

    I think, the most difficult thing will be to press the boards together with full contact. This will hardly be possible without a veneer press! And before that, drill four holes through all the panels and insert pins so that they don't slip against each other during gluing. Unfortunately, glue has the behavior under pressure to become a really nasty lubricating film and if the pressure then does not come exactly from above, everything slips out of the correct position!

    Kind regards! Samuel

  • Some progress on making the first stop pipe, a c3 pipe for the 4 foot stop. I glue the three sides and the mouth piece, the rest of the cover board i didn't glue to give space for fine tuning. luckily it works when using my hand to block the back, I have not make the stopper yet. The wood I use is birch wood and I find it is quite soft and easy to work with. Looking forward to your comments and advice.

    Best, Xiaohu

  • Congratulation! But excuse me, it all looks still a little rough to me! Either go over it with a fine plane for finish or use another wood. How does the pipe sound? This ridge on the front cap and the nicks inside the labium are certainly not good for the sound! Also the gap between cap and block is not even in the thickness. Kind regards Samuel

  • That was just my guess that your wood might be too fibrous to be finished smoothly. As for the wood, spruce is common because of its light weight, and for the smaller stops, hardwood such as oak or pear. As long as you have a wood that can be worked smoothly, the weight is more important. In any case, look that the wood is well dry and grown straight! The pipes should be coated with glue on the inside in any case, because wood is more porous than you think and a bad sounding pipe can also be due to this.

    Viele Grüße! 许多问候!

    Samuel

  • That was just my guess that your wood might be too fibrous to be finished smoothly. As for the wood, spruce is common because of its light weight, and for the smaller stops, hardwood such as oak or pear. As long as you have a wood that can be worked smoothly, the weight is more important. In any case, look that the wood is well dry and grown straight! The pipes should be coated with glue on the inside in any case, because wood is more porous than you think and a bad sounding pipe can also be due to this.

    Viele Grüße! 许多问候!

    Samuel

    Dear Samuel,

    Could I ask what type of paint should be paint inside and outside the pipe? I learnt from the internet using Polyurethane is a choice,and how about wood wax oil? Vielen dank für eure hilfe.

    Xiaohu

  • The chest organ by Näser from the Baroque period even has pipes that are folded in two and go back up. So that's quite possible, but I don't know if there's any loss of sound quality. And I don't know how it affects the lengh of the pipe...

    The best thing for coating is to use the same glue that you use to glue the pipes. Normal white glue or chemically liquefied hide glue, like me. So don't just brush the glue surface, but the whole sides, then the pipe is completely sealed inside afterwards. I have made a picture story here in the forum. If you want to be sure, you could also paint the outside, but that's not really necessary and in chest organs no dirt and water should allowed to get in anyway! But I'm thinking about maybe going over the outside of my front pipes a few times with shellac. So not high-gloss and with pore filler, but as an open matt varnish.

    Many greetings!

    Samuel

  • Look here: "Meine" Methode, Pfeifen zu bauen...

    All in German 😉, if there are passages you don't understand with deepl or similar translation programs, feel free to ask. The pictures are probably sufficient anyway.

    I use "Titebond liquid hide glue". It has the advantage that it becomes very hard (good to conduct sound waves) and can be removed again using heat. In the beginning, I accidentally glued on a lid with the labium facing inwards. With the iron, the lid was quickly down again, and glued on correctly. This also saved me when I was building a harpsichord and had glued a rake with 60 intricately angled blocks between the jacks at first using incorrectly calculated spaces...

    Kind regards, Samuel

  • Dear organ friends,

    Some updates on the keyboard, I contacted a local workshop to carve the keys using the engraving machine, still there is more work to be done such as polishing and fine tuning, but already quite happy.

    The white keys I use beach wood as key body. And the key covers I use "Purple Sandalwood" translated from Chinese, I think it is a type of ebony, the thickness is 2mm. Is it too thick for the key cover?

    Meanwhile, I don't know what material to choose for the minor and sharp keys. Any suggestions?

    Best, Xiaohu


  • Great! 👏🏼


    For the upper keys, use the hardest wood you can get. And of course as white as possible because of the contrast to the lower keys. However, you often see dark upper keys that are only covered with a strip of bone, in which case the wood probably doesn't have to be quite as hard. If I had dark lower keys, I would perhaps use hornbeam. There I would buy an old plane for a few euros at the flea market and cut the sole of it in pieces, which at least in Europe traditionally consisted of hornbeam.

    Personally, I still have beautiful slabs of Italian boxwood left over from a harpsichord project, so it's clear that these will make the covering of the lower keys for me. So upper keys ebony and for the few subsemitones I got myself three woodturning blanks for pens made of snakewood. So much luxury must be!


    Greetings, Samuel

  • Thank you Samuel for the information. I am going to dedicate more efforts to make the keyboard as perfect as possible. I am planning to either use Teak wood with cow bone on top, or still using ebony with cow bone on top. boxwood is also not very expensive in China, probably I will try that also.

    But right now, I think I am continue working on the wooden pipe and the windchest. Best regards, Xiaohu