The making of a 31 note crank organ.

After I have finished my 20 note Beyer organ, I wanted to start with a bigger project. A German friend of mine Urich Stille has written a construction plan for a 31 note organ with 5 registers. After I had bought the over 180 pages counting manual I was evry impressed of the many drawings which this book contained. A separate chapter was written by Klaus Ospelt about making pipes which was very detailled and clear. The book contains two options: let the organ play on paper roll or make it midi driven. I choose for the last option due to time and cost saving reasons. Traditionally I started with the pipes. I wanted to hear which sound they make. Because of my positive experiences with using beech wood for pipes my choce for kind of wood has been made very quickly.

I had much pleasue in making the bass pipes. Because there are two pipes for each tone you get more body in the tone.

This time I wanted to make the bellows as original as possible. That means that I have used sheep leather for the bellows.

Because the ground plate was a difficult part to make and especially leak free, I decided to make it in layers. The conducts (air channels) has been made with a jigsaw and then glued to the corresponding wall. Then I glued the side walls and checked them for holes. Then I covered the conducts with paper so that I could check if the conduct was air tight. I did that by closing every corresponding hole with a stop and connecting a hose on the air delevering hole through which I blew.

Due to that I sell the MIDI version of the construction plan of the 20 note organ of Walter Höffle too, I wanted to use the same solenoids. That means that you have to make the spools with cupper wire of your own. I made a simple machine with a motor with delay and used a power supply on which you can vary the voltage and so the speed of the motor,

Afterwards I discovered that the construction of Höffle was noisy. This was caused by using a brass tube in the valve chest. I have replaced them with a soft plastic one which reduced the noise significant.

During a hobby demonstration day in march 2014 I showed my efforts in museum de Locht in Melderslo.

I have finished the parts for a playing organ, only the case should have been made. I wanted to make an organ with a totally diffferent appearance and decided to go for a south German design (Black Forest).

After assembling the parts, the first tones came out. Of course there were some probems to be solved in the beginning but the were quickly solved. A first try out was in august 2014 at the museum de Locht.

The greatest challenge for me was the decoration of the organ. I wanted to decorate the organ with Bauernmahlerei (farmer painting). The first trys were not satisfying.

I discovered a skill how to get a print on wood. Print an image with a laser printer ad lay it with the print side towards the wood, strike with a cloth with thinner over the paper and the image will paste on the wood. The colouring picture is now on the wood, just give it the right colours...

Because of the results I got more and more pleasure in painting my organ. After the paint work was done, the organ was srewed together again.

Alt last the other registers has to be made. On the below standing photo the quints and picolos.

Originally the construction plan conains an organ with 5 registers bus it was possible with a small correction in the design to add a 6th register. In the drawings Ulrich das drawn trumpet pipes but they were not described in the book. This was a dissapointing issue for me. An additional description could be bought but I did not like the construction of it. So I went to investigate to make a reliable trumpet pipe. The original ones have a metal wire for adjusting the tone but the making of such pipes are too difficult for a hobby organ builder. Ulrich and Walter attended me to use the tongues of a melodica.

This music instrument uses about the same air pressure as the organ and the demounting of the tongues of this instrument was quick to be done. Just fifty screws...

First I have made an own version but the results were dissapointing. I got a description of Walter and according to him they play perfect. For me the reason to drive to Rulzheim to convince myself. His pips sounded great! On below standing photo Walter and his trumpet pipes.

I still got the goblet of my first experiment and they were usable for the concept of Walter. On belw standing photo the location of the trumpet pipes and above the quints and behind the hoses to enlarge the conducts and behind that the bellows.

The organ is ready now, only a cart was missing. I used concrete plywood, which has a very smooth surface. The organ is fitted with two screws on the cart. With this construction I can shove my organ easily into my car.

The organ has made several performances now ans plays very well!!

Finally music has to be made for the 31 note organ. Although there are midi files available for the 31 note organ, making them yourself has more fun. With the help of the free program Noteur ans a self written translation module it was easy for me to make midi files for a 31 note organ from an other one. bestaande draaiorgelmidi's nog altijd leuker. Met behulp van Noteur en een zelf geschreven vertaalmodule is het vrij eenvoudig This work fills my free time now and I have over the 1000 files already. Contact me if you are interested in these midi files.

The below standing record has been made on 4th of october 2019 in the church of Hattingen (Germany) accompanied by a church organ.