You too can restore a reed organ!

You might remember about a month ago I gave a talk about reed organ restoration in the Cavan town Men’s Shed. I had planned blogging about it sooner than this but time didn’t allow.

The night was a great success. There were 12 men in attendance. A man who receives my blog emails even came from Dublin and brought with him a beautiful folding Estey Chaplain’s reed organ which he hopes to restore. I look forward to working with him on that project. Another man who heard about the talk on the radio even came from Co. Tyrone.

My main objective in giving this talk was to promote the idea that reed organ restoration is well within the grasp of any person who is in any way ‘handy’. If you can figure out how something works, take it apart and put in back together you can do this. I have no formal training in woodwork or certainly not reed organ restoration but with lots of patience, persistence and assistance from other reed organ buffs online I have been able to develop my skills over the years. This can be the same for many more.

How does one go about giving a talk like this anyway? I came well prepared with lots of resources. I brought my restored Estey Model N, my folding Estey Chaplain’s organ along with an unrestored Endsleigh organ to demonstrate before and after condition. There is nothing as effective as showing what you are talking about so I also had felt, leather, bellows cloth, boxes of old screws and spare parts with me and my trusty hot glue pot. The modern means of technology also allowed me to show some videos from my YouTube channel and use my website to show the process involved from beginning to end in restoring an organ. I brought plenty of Reed Organ Society Quarterlies and several books. Lots to see and touch.

It is always easier to give a talk when the audience has questions. This audience certainly did. They showed great interest and had a great spirit of fun. Some even tried and played the Estey Model N. I hope that the fruit of this talk might be one man taking on the restoration of what is a really beautiful and desirable Chaplain’s folding reed organ. Is there anyone else out there considering restoring an organ? Do it! If you need assistance it is out there for you.