The Reassembly Begins!
Over the last two weeks, we have begun the daunting task of the reassembly of the Wonder Morton. The United Palace has restored the left chamber to an immaculate state, and we have returned the larger parts of the organ back to the chamber. These are the parts that are too large to travel to our shop and will have to be restored up in the chamber. The first on the to-do list is the floor frame.
A floor frame is exactly what it sounds like: the frame on which the organ is built upon. The organ’s “footprint” in other words. The area we are focusing on first is the pedal section of the chamber. This is where the large 16-foot pipes are grouped together with all of the toy counter stops (the bird call, the doorbell, car horn, tambourine, sea surf, alarm bell, horse hooves, etc.). This also happens to be the section of the organ that is furthest back in the room.
After assembling the pedal floor frame (pictured above under the chest and Dan), we started refinishing the legs of the pipe chests. Our process of refinishing is simple. We first clean the surface with a vacuum and then use a high-grit sandpaper. This takes most of the dirt off the surface. Finally, we wipe the wood clean with acetone. We are always careful to keep any original markings or notes from the factory (This also helps when we reassemble everything!). After an inspection to see if more cleaning work needs to be done, we coat with a fresh layer of shellac. Our shellac mixture is primarily clear, de-waxed shellac. This will allow us to keep the original color as much as possible. Once the shellacking was done for the day, we began cleaning and taking apart the Tuba 16’ windchest.
Within an organ chest, there are many mechanical steps that happen to get a note to play. Our next entry will be about how these complicated devices work!