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My just completed organ

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My just completed organ

Postby TimM » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:20 pm

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I've just finished (except for final tweaking) my Hauptwerk organ, which I've been working on since October. I hope that it's an inspiration to aspiring builders, because I'm not a professional woodworker, and all I have in my tiny basement shop is a cheap Black and Decker table saw, a thirty-year-old bandsaw, and an ancient drill press. My organ is not a masterpiece, but I think it's pretty nice.

Before I cut the first piece of wood, I designed the whole console using 123D Design, a remarkably powerful yet free 3D design program. That way I could ensure that all measurements met AGO specs for things like height of manuals, setback of pedalboard from key tip of bottom manual, and so forth, as well as height of music rack, front-to-back depth (under 30 inches so it could go through standard doors), width to perfectly enclose the pedalboard (which I bought used on eBay), and a million other limitations. Doing that with pencil and paper, or in my head (!!!) would have been insane. When everything was perfect, I could read the dimensions of the components right off the screen. It felt like a lot of up-front work, but the payoff when construction began was enormous.

It was tempting to build a three-manual console, especially since the cost and work for three manuals is trivially greater than that for two manuals. However, the main purpose of this organ is to give my wife, our church organist, a high quality practice instrument at home. Her church organ, despite being the best pipe organ in the area, has just two manuals. Also, she has a shoulder problem that makes it difficult to comfortably reach a third manual. So two it was.

Neither she nor I have a lot of interest in exploring a wide variety of organs; we would rather focus on a couple and learn them well. Also, we both hate touchscreens, as they can be tricky to touch just right. And of course touch screens add significant width to a console, and we wanted compact. So instead of using touch screens, I laid out the six grouped divisions of the Rotterdam Laurenskerk organ and access the ranks with lighted stop buttons. This is enough stops to also handle the large French symphonic Caen St. Etienne organ, which I plan to implement soon. Between these two complementary organs we'll have more than enough to keep us busy!

The multiple divisions of these two humongous organs are mapped to two manuals using a clever technique suggested by Matt Arnold, who supplied all MIDI components and much valuable advice. The original Rotterdam Swell (Bovenwerk) is 'permanently' mapped to the console Swell, and the Great (Hoofdwerk) to the Great. Then, each console manual has three lighted couplers on their piston rails for the Rugwerk, Borstwerk, and Chamdewerk. Thus, any or all of these three extra divisions can be coupled to the console Swell, Great, or both. For the Caen, the Grand Orgue permanently maps to the Great, and the Recit to the Swell; the Positif can be coupled to either or both console manuals as with the Rotterdam. My wife is still dizzy looking at all those stop choices.

I have three sets of stereo speakers. The front channels go to a pair of powerful towers paired with subwoofers. The rear channels go to a pair of Bose 901 speakers on the opposite wall. Finally, I have a pair of Polk Audio bookshelf speakers mounted high in the center of the third wall, dedicated to sweet solo stops. It's a good thing we live far out in the country, where the nearest neighbors are the chickens.
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:59 pm

You can rightly be proud, Tim. Excellent in all respects. I might add if your secondary intent was to inspire newbie's into this "Great" ambitious task(s), you certainly did that. And not only aspiring organ builders, but some of us that have been around for awhile. I'd be interested in what you are using for stop switches (couplers up there also?)

Nice writeup as well. Thanks for sharing.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby TimM » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:41 pm

Ed - Thank you for the kind words! The lighted stop switches are from Arnold Organs, and I'm quite sure they get them from midi-hardware.com.

Couplers involving just Swell, Great, and Pedal are up in the stop rails, at the right end of each stop group. Couplers from Borstwerk and Rugwerk to pedal are also there, at the end of the pedal stops. Couplers for bringing the other three divisions to the manuals are on the manual piston rails. Functionally they are the same principal, just Hauptwerk Master Couplers, but it's more intuitive to the organist to position them at the manuals affected.

Tim
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:12 pm

Well thought out. Thanks for the info. One more thing left - Enjoy your creation. :)

Rgds,
Ed

PS, If you are true to "form" as many of us, even while everything looks and functions well, there will probably be a few feature tweaks in the future and that's ok.
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby profeluisegarcia » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:03 pm

TimM wrote:[ My organ is not a masterpiece, but I think it's pretty nice.



WRONG¡ It is a truly masterpiece¡
Congratulations
Luis
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:51 pm

One notable (good) feature is that the toe pistons are up and out of the way. Many, including commercial built organs having them too close to the pedal board. I sub at a church that has a Johannes. Within a inch of the pedal B flat, the piston is programmed as General Cancel. Yes, I've hit it accidentally a few times. Kinda makes you "gun shy" when pedaling near that area.. :o

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby ChangedForever » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:05 pm

Tim - very nice organ - I'd buy one if I hadn't located this Skinner console!!

Speaking of chickens.... I'm IN THE COUNTRY too!! When I crank up the Bovenkerk or Rotterdam, the tree frogs outside literally start to croak and sing.... I guess they like the vibrations of the house? Do your chickens seem to like the music or do they ignore it? Forgot to mention - the birds like to come flitter on the porch and start singing too.... that's life in the country, I guess :).

Thanks for sharing - nice woodworking,
Mark
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby profeluisegarcia » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:41 pm

engrssc wrote:One notable (good) feature is that the toe pistons are up and out of the way.

Rgds,
Ed


Hmmm. This was the only feature I was not convinced at in this beautiful furniture. Those pistons seem to me too high located for a confortable use while playing, mainly when using quickly the sequencer. The player -tall or short- has to raise his knee to activate them :?:
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:39 pm

They are near to the height of the upper of a two row toe piston installation it seems.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby TimM » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:44 am

In all my research of AGO specs, I did not see anything on toe piston height, so I got the height for these by matching the height of the toe pistons on the Moeller pipe organ at our church. My goal was to duplicate my wife's church organ as closely as possible in thumb and toe piston layout so she could practice well at home.

Tim
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby telemanr » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:11 am

My home console (from Classic in Toronto) has three pedals. But the 1926 Casavant at church has the same three set to the right so that it's leftmost Choir pedal is where my home Swell pedal is. I can't change the ones a home to match the church so the offset can trip me up unless I'm very careful. And in the heat of the moment you don't need that extra little gotcha.
So Tim I think your wife owes you a vote a thanks. You will make life easier for her.
Rob Enns
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:41 pm

telemanr wrote:I can't change the ones a home to match the church so the offset can trip me up unless I'm very careful.


Is a (hard) physical move or re-wire possible? (or worth the effort?)

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby telemanr » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:36 pm

To move the pedals would mean enlarging the pedal hole and blocking off the now empty part and moving toe studs which are on carefully designed standoffs and equal on each side. I'm just not up for it. I don't play every Sunday, just occasions like Christmas, Easter, etc., and when our regular organist wants to lead the choir and the music is a little too challenging for him to do both.
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Re: My just completed organ

Postby engrssc » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:22 pm

- - - hence - Answer C - not worth the effort. :wink:

Rgds,
Ed
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