Archive for August 1st, 2008

Wonderful Workmanship

August 1, 2008

Bear waved a newspaper cutting under my nose.

“I want you to telephone this man and ask if I can go and see his organ.”

(Hastily put in photo in case anyone gets the wrong idea!)

It seems this gentleman has built an organ from scratch and assembled it in his living room beside  a grand piano.

Fortunately he welcomed visitors and was on holiday, so we were warmly invited to go over on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the fact that I don’t share Bear’s fascination with organs I couldn’t help but be impressed with the wonderful workmanship and loving care which had gone into creating this little masterpiece.

Everything made from wood was his own handiwork. The bulk of the case was made from oak and he had used applewood, pearwood and lime for the decorations.

The metal pipes were bought, of course, and so were some of the other metal parts inside but he had made all the wooden pipes himself.

They were made from oak but the ‘mouthpieces’ were of applewood.


He had browsed the internet for design ideas (it had taken three months to plan) and inside the organ everything looked neat and perfect.

He had made the ‘white’ keys from applewood but the black ones came from a piano. He explained that they were just a fraction smaller than the standard size.

So, it looked perfect but what did it sound like?

Well, we can’t be sure yet because it is not  voiced and tuned. These jobs will need to be undertaken by a professional. However, we were allowed to play it, and despite the rather obvious intonation faults, it does have a potentially sweet sound – not too loud for a living room thank goodness.

The odd thing is that no-one in his family is an organist. He claims not to be able to read music but he did give a pretty good rendering of some Bach. His wife started to learn the piano but gave up after a few years and his son plays the guitar.

I was going to ask if the organ and piano would be tuned to the same pitch so that they could play duets but obviously that won’t be the case.

The piano was old and also out of tune but I couldn’t resist havng a little tinkle.

It made me realise just how rusty I’m getting.

We enjoyed a cool drink before leaving and were assured that we would be more than welcome to revisit when the organ was completely finished.