Bellows Restoration

Making a new bellows and bellows platform is not as difficult a task at it might first appear. A bellows is made up of square and rectangular sheets of wood. In this restoration high quality 18mm birch plywood was used. The original was 15mm but that is not available so the next best thing is fine. That's ok for the bellows but for the bellows platform it is not. If thicker than 15mm is used it raises the entire upper action and has a serious knock on effect in many ways. The options were to have three 5mm sheets laminated together or to router out a track in the 18mm in which the reed pan would sit. I chose the latter. It has worked very well. The original pieces of the dilapidated bellows and platform were used as a template and general guide. The bellows was covered with genuine rubberised bellows cloth from Schaff Piano Supply Company, Lake Zurick, Illinois. The straps were replaced. Only genuine animal hide glue was used.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Centre panel of the new bellows

New safety relief valve

The bellows with the platform. The front brace with rollers were used off the donor organ since they were in better condition than the original.

Inside view of new bellows before covering with new cloth

New bellows platform on which the whole upper action rests

Front view of the bellows showing the straps and valves

The Pedals

The pedals were stripped of their old carpet and metal hardware. New carpet was applied and the metal work stripped, primed and painted. The Pedals are marked as ‘Mouse Proof’. An innovation to make the organ attractive in a market flooded with reed organs.

The iron work cleaned and painted

The pedals installed in the organ