This overall view of the shop area was taken April 4, 2008 from the storage space above restrooms. Along the left wall are the work tables with offset pipe windchests for Opus 5819 undergoing restoration by OU students. Next is the 3-manual Möller console that was once in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, which we now use to play "Mini-Mo". Behind the console is Opus 5819's 32' Bombarde and Wood Open pipes. At the far end of the building is the loading dock door and a pedestrian door. The sawdust extraction system ductwork can be seen under installation at the top of the photograph. At the top right is the 12'x12' heated paint spray booth. Sitting in front of the spray booth is the cache of stationary woodworking tools. Sitting under the shop gantry crane are thirteen ranks worth of unit chests from Opus 5819 that were undergoing restoration for the Mini-Mo.
The first workroom in the shop is called the re-leathering and clean room, which is approximately 12' x 12' x 8'. Within this room, one finds the various kinds of leather and machines to help with the leathering process, a large work table and smaller tools and supplies for a variety of projects in the Shop.
The kinds of leather AOI keeps in stock consist of leathers from hairsheep, goats, kangaroos and cows. Each of these leathers come in a variety of thickness, but typically range from 0.013 to 0.050 inches. These leathers are purchased by the skin, which can range from a few to 10 square feet in size. The leathers are naturally tanned to insure a long lifetime, rather than chemically tanned which greatly reduces the life of the leather.
Two pieces of large equipment found in this room are a Pexto foot sheer and a leather skiving machine. A Pexto foot sheer is configured for cutting leather quickly into strips for gaskets, reservoir ribs and similar functions. The leather skiving machine greatly helps in the process of re-leathering the dozens of reservoirs and regulators of Opus 5819. The leather often needs a taper, called a skive, along an edge. Leather gussets and hinge material are fed to the skiver which tapers the edges of the leather to zero thickness so that when they are applied, there is a smooth transition from the leather to the wood surface.
Among the smaller supplies also kept in this room is the collection of glue and the Hold-Heet automatic glue-pot, which is used to heat hide glue to the proper temperature for application. While there are many great glues and adhesives available today, the pipe organ industry has not found a suitable replacement for glues made from animal proteins. Often simply referred to as "hot glue,” it is prepared by mixing the glue, which is sold by the pound and looks like aquarium gravel, with water in the glue pot. For certain applications, The Shop uses fish glue which is the cold equivalent of hot glue. For projects that need more flexibility when gluing felt, instead of using hot glue, we use modern felt and leather glue. When construction work is needed to be accomplished, the Shop uses modern “carpenter's glue,” and other adhesives such as contact cement. Hot glues and fish glues are only used to adhere leather to the wood components because in time, the leather needs to be removed and hot/fish glues allow that when water is applied.
When Dr. John Schwandt procured the floor space for the pipe organ shop he worked with a local architect to design the shop so that it could be constructed out of the warehouse space. He specified the voicing room's dimensions to be 12' x 14' footprint and 20' height and to be constructed as sound-proof as possible. In order to make this possible, there is double drywall layer on the inside of the room and the walls are covered with tempered white masonite. The space between the wall studs is filled with acoustical insulation.
The Voicing Jack was a collective design by Schwandt, John Riester and Robert Wilhelm. One of the requirements of the Voicing Jack was the capability of the keyboard to be able to not only play the voicing chest but also to be able to move it to the shop floor and connect it to pipe organ windchests for testing and such. AOI also wanted the Voicing Jack to be able to operate at wind pressures as low as 2" and as high as 25". Organ Supply Industries received the contract to manufacture the two-rank windchest and voicing keyboard. A unique aspect of the voicing windchest was that it needed two different sets of pouchboards depending on the wind pressure required. Thus, the voicing chest has two sets of internal pouchboards: one for 3-10 inches of water pressure and a set for 11-25 inches of wind pressure. The chest also has multiple sets of rackboards so that reed pipes, string pipes, metal and wood flue pipes can all be voiced on the chest simply by changing to the appropriate rackboard.
Behind the voicing jack is a rank of string pipes that are used as a tuning reference. For 8' and 16' octave pipe voicing, a custom 12-note bass offset chest was designed and constructed by AOI students.
The Voicing Room at the AOI Shop is designed to be used primarily by John Schwandt and other qualified experts, but it is also intended to be a teaching lab for students who are studying the art and science of voicing pipes.
Pipe Cleaning Station
A large appliance found towards the front of the shop is a stainless steel sink used to wash pipes and other various pieces of equipment in need of a thorough bath.
The dual compartment stainless steel pipe washing sink and its frame was designed by Robert Wilhelm and constructed by Sharp Metal Fabrication of Noble, Oklahoma. A 9" high divider down the length of the 12" high sink divides the sink into two ten-foot long compartments, one of which is heated. The compartments allow use of a pipe cleaning solution in one side and a fresh water rinse in the other. An on-demand hot water heater supplies water to the sink and both compartment drains can have various height stand-pipes to control how deep the water stands in a compartment.
No pipe organ shop that includes a voicing room could function without a blower to supply air for the testing of rebuilt pipe chest mechanisms and for regulating the speech of pipes in the voicing room. As part of a Mhttp://webdesign.about.com/library/bl_htmlcodes.htmller Theatre Organ rescued from an Ohio church, this Kinetic Engineering Blower was rebuilt for shop use. The original single phase repulsion-start, induction-run, 5 horsepower, 1200 RPM motor had failed and thus the organ fell into disuse and was replaced with an electronic instrument. As one of the first projects in the new shop, the Kinetic was completely disassembled and cleaned. Originally rated to deliver 14" of output wind pressure, a new 15 horsepower, 1750 RPM, 3-phase motor was purchased so that the blower's generated output pressure could be increased to 34” of wind pressure. Sitting over the blower is the static reservoir which regulates static wind pressure for shop use. This reservoir also came with the blower and was rebuilt by AOI students. The steel bars are designed to allow various springs to be used to set the desired output pressure needed for shop or voicing room activity.
As seen in this picture, on the back of the door for the blower room, one will find a Z-Tronics board for testing. Having this available outside of the voicing room allows testing on the floor when the keyboard is rolled out.
The Shop also includes a Ingersoll Rand UP Series 7-1/2 horsepower Rotary Screw Total Air System compressor, which shares space in the equipment room with the Shop's Kinetic Engineering Blower. The IR Total Air System provides 28CFM of air pressure at 125 PSIG while only making 65 dB of noise.
Like the voicing room, the room containing the Air Compressor was also built to be sound-proof. In addition, this room has a dedicated 3-ton air conditioner to remove the heat generated by the screw compressor and to insure the air sent to the voicing room by the blower is maintained at a constant temperature (change in temperature causes pipes to change pitch which isn’t good when you’re trying to voice them).
The Shop includes a variable speed drill press and a radial drill press.
Radial Arm Saw
Use of a radial arm saw often requires a long bench space to support the lumber being cut. For the AOI Shop, Bryan Slocomb fabricated a bench for both the 12" Delta industrial radial arm saw (towards the back in the photo) as well as the 10" DeWalt chop saw ( in the forefront of the photo).
The bench includes a drawer for storing dado blades and other saw accessories and tools along with ample space to store short cuts of lumber underneath the bench. To the left in the photograph is the down-draft sanding table. A very old jointer arrived with Opus 5819 which AOI turned into a steel work surface for a shop vice and to serve as a solid flat surface for using the Osborne arch leather punches.
Stationary Wood Working Machines
There are many stationary woodworking pieces of equipment in the shop. In the foreground of the picture, one will see a jointer, which is used for putting straight edges on boards. Behind and to the left of it is the planer, used to put smooth surfaces on boards. The jointer allows one to set a board to the right width, while the planer lets one set a board to the right thickness. Among the other stationary woodworking tools, there is a small band saw, which can cut small stock as well as make radius and curve cuts. An oscillating drum sander seen in the picture, along with it a disk sander, is used for sanding smaller pieces.
Found towards the back of the Shop is the 12' x 12' x 8' paint spray booth, which includes an 820,000 BTU gas-fired make-up air system. In the Spray Booth is a fan that changes the air at 9,000 cubic feet per minute rate. Although the air is great quality, there is still a need to heat the booth, for in the winter time, the Shop cannot be working with 30 degree air.
Another aspect of the Shop's Spray Booth is the HVLP spray equipment, which stands for high volume low pressure. This equipment is very eco-friendly because it does not have a lot of solvent mist put in the air to be sucked out.
Bead Blasters and Flame-proof cabinet
As noted earlier, access to the University's Surplus Division has provided some unusual finds. In the foreground is the Zero Blast-N-Peen glass beading cabinet. This unit, originally destined to be scrap metal, was rebuilt with new air and media hoses, connection to the sawdust extraction system instead of the original duck cloth dust bag, viewing glass and door gaskets. It now functions as if it were new. The cabinet has already found use removing rust and paint from various metal components including reservoir springs and reservoir weights. The beige cabinet on the blue table is a bucket bead blaster. Screws, bolts and other rusted fasteners are placed in the unit for a 15-minute tumble cleaning while subjected to a glass bead blast. Once cleaned, the screws are lacquered and are able to be reused.
The Yellow Flammable Storage cabinet is the repository for all paints, solvents and other flammable materials. AOI maintains an online MSDS reference for all hazardous materials used in the Pipe Organ Shop per OSHA and University requirements. Click here to see the MSDS sheets.
AOI Storage Unit
Adjacent to the pipe organ shop is a 3,000 square foot storage room. The 10' high stacks of 8' and 10' long pipe storage trays occupy the pipe organ warehouse area. To the right of the pipe trays in the photograph are stacks of support lumber and large wooden pipes. Pipe trays containing the Ohio Mhttp://webdesign.about.com/library/bl_htmlcodes.htmller are to the left. This instrument is intended to support 5819's restoration and AOI teaching and training activities. Part of the 14' high, 1-ton gantry crane is seen to the left in the photo. Both the shop area and the storage area are climate controlled and security monitored.
A unique aspect of the Shop is the sawdust extractor towards the back of the shop. As seen in the overhead view of the Shop, the duct work is connected to all of the sawdust and wood chip producing tools in the Shop, so that as the tools are running, the sawdust and chips are sucked away. The sawdust extractor is connected to a unit outside the building.
Not every organ shop is lucky enough to have a loading dock connected to it. At the AOI shop, there is a loading dock which can fit an 18 wheeler or any large truck to back into it. This allows easy loading and unloading of materials while using a dock leveling plate that spans between the Shop floor and the back of the truck. Also, the loading dock is equipped with a set of truck seals, which keeps in heat when the door is open into the back of truck.