Making an organ pipe.

Frank Sinatra sung "I did it my way" and and in that way you should see the following story. Is this the right way of making organ pipes? Ask 10 bakers how to make bread and you will hear 10 different stories. And that happens also when you ask experienced organ pipe makers how to make pipes. When you want to make pipes for a small barrel organ keep always in mind that de first people who made these organs were clock makers so your goal should be to work so precise as possible as they do. In the folowing picture story i will describe step by step the way that I do. The dimensions of this pipe slightly differ from the organ pipes described in the book of Walter Höffle but the making of it is the same.

In the photo above you see a pipe sawn in length so that you have an idea how it looks. The best way to make an organ pipe is to make the wooden parts first. Saw the side slats with the same sawing machine adjustments for making the inner core of the pipe because they have the same dimensions. Always clean every piece of wood from splinters. I use a bar with sandpaper for this. Always use smooth planed wood with the right thickness.

Make the length of the slaths a few centimeters longer than the dimension given in the measure table. At the end you can give the pipe the exact length. For the front slath I use use beech wood, which looks more decorative and makes the pipe stronger.

Make from beech wood with a length of about 10 cm the core of the pipe. First draw the lines for cutting the pieces and saw the core. The second part will be used later for the stopper of the pipe.

File all walls where the air flows nicely smooth.

The upper lip of the pipe made in the front slath is made with a special mold, described in the book of Walter Höffle.

When the mold is right adjusted, the upper lip will get the right dimensions.

File the lip smooth and make the border rectangular.

Now we have made all the parts, it is time to glue them together.

First glue the side slaths parallel to the core and use the rest piece which will be used for the stopper to keep the slaths parallel. Glue now everything to hold the bottom slath.

The glue residue is spread along the walls with a narrow stick, so that the pipe becomes airtight. This is important! Let the pipe dry now.

Sand the upper side of the pipe so that every part becomes equal. Especially the upper part of the core with the side walls(see photo below).

On the right photo the check of the upper part of the core with the side walls. This is important for making a good pipe mouth!

Now set your caliper to the uppercut dimension and lock it. Glue now the upper slath and use the caliper to glue the slath on the right place.

Let it dry for ten minutes, not longer because you still have to remove a part of it.

Cut with a fine teeth saw the two beards exactly to the end of the core.

Adjust the beards evetually with a file.

You can make the lower lip black with a pencil. This increases the air flow.

Make the adjust cardboard fill and the thinner cap. The thinner cap should be placed equal or up to 0,5 mm upwards according the core. WIth this margin you can correct the wind flow.

I use my wood lathe for making the hole for the pipe foot. An alternative can be a drill mounted horizontally.

I have developed a simple way to make the stopper. Use the rest piece of the core making and sand/file the ends a bit oblique. In this way the leather wil clamp against the side walls and you will always have an airtight end. Before doing this check the piece of wood if it can move in the pipe end.

Make a piece of leather octagonal according the image and glue the smooth side on the end of the stopper.

Place the stopper at the end of the pipe and cut off eventually blocking pieces of leather. The pipe should play now. If it doesn't remove the stopper and check the pipe by holding your palm against the end of the pipe. Does it play now than the stopper does not close well. Use thicker leather or place some cardboard between the leather and the oblique ends.

The pipe is ready now. You can finally adjust the length of the stopper after tuning the pipe so that all the stoppers of the register have almost an equal length. When the pipe is placed at the front of the organ, varnish the pipe so that it is protected against moisture. Be careful not varnishing the mouth opening.