Estey Chancel Organ goes to Maynooth!

It’s been a while since my last blog entry. This is not because reed organ restoration work has ceased. Much progress has indeed been made with the Estey Model N. The bellows is almost complete but delayed because I was waiting for valves to come from America. The new bellows platform is finished. I have cleaned refinished the reed pan and re-leathered the pallet valves and mute valves. All reeds have been cleaned and installed. I have treated all the keys for woodworm and will move on to them soon to clean and re-bush them.

I had to take a break from the Estey N model for good reason however. I was contacted by my former music teacher from Maynooth wondering if I had an organ which would be suitable for use in the Maynooth Choral Society production of Rossini’s Le Petit Messe Solennelle. Rossini arranged this Mass to incorporate a harmonium. My first answer was no. Why? Because the only organ I had that was suitable at all was my Estey Chancel organ pitched at A454. Modern concert pitch is A440. What a disappointment. But then, a brainwave! I took the reeds out of a later unrestored Estey reed organ which was pitched at A440. I cleaned and tuned the reeds and did a straight swap. Eureka! I also re-bushed the keyboard and put an extra layer of felt under the stop board to help dampen the bounce of the keys to make it quieter. So my Estey chancel will head off to Maynooth in February.

Below are some photos of the current restoration. Click to enlarge them.