Saturday, 18 February 2017

Starting the disassembly - Estey Artist

I am very thankful that the entire one side of my house is a covered garage.
Plenty of room to spread out and work.

Hi Folks

With my enthusiasm running high I have started disassembling the Estey Artist.

I need to constantly and  mindfully remind myself to SLOW DOWN and OBSERVE as I am dismantling.
Rushing through a first-time dismantle is a mistake I have made too many times to repeat.

Based on the external condition of this organ I expected the worst when opening it up. It is early days yet, but what I am seeing is in better condition than I imagined it would be.  The bellows are not holding air, but every reed works, nothing appears to be missing and there is zero evidence of mice, felt weevil (or whatever it is that eats felt), wood worm etc - that is a real bonus.

Anyway - here are some pictures thus far.

The upper action - very dusty
but in very good order really

I confess - I'm not looking forward to pulling the couplers apart
and cleaning these. I have to be in just the right mood.
Both couplers couple up an octave in this model - eminently
useful when playing 4' Flute or 4' Harp Aeoline down an octave.

The action off.

That dodgy mustard cabbage leaf carpet is gonna go - yuk!

Lining up the panels - all have splits and cracks.
The horizontal swell shades can be see on the panel
second to the right.

I have posed the question on FB page "Reed Organ Tech"
why the air entry hole to the bellows is so small.
Really interesting discussion happening there now.

New feeder straps?
At least they seem to have been done using the correct strap material.

Has this organ been dropped off a truck?
So many panels with splitting and cracks.

The splits in this side panel is
something I have never tackled before.
When the time comes I am going to
need some advice.

The manual is in really good condition - none of the keys are split, warped
or chipped - but they are very dirty.
I'm also thankful all the stop knobs are in one piece and the
labels are original.

Thus the long process begins!

Your advice, expertise, questions and comments are all encouraged.

Take care folks



  1. looks to be a big , slow job ahead of you, as you said before, take it slow & enjoy the process
    i saw i piano dropped off a truck, not a pretty site, they are sturdy & tough one drop didn't do much to this piano that i could see, she wasn't a small one either. so maybe your poor organ has been dropped more than once?
    have put this blog on my side bar too so i can keep up with your progress too
    have fun
    thanx for sharing

    1. Thanks Selina - the writing style here will be a bit more technical and a tad dryer than my other blog....but I'm sure you'll cope :-)

  2. Looking forward to watching your restoration on this beautiful organ.

    1. It'll be a slow road Marlene, but hopefully a steady one.

  3. Looks like heaps of fun and pondering ahead for you.
    The splits and cracks could quite easily be caused by extreme weather, the heat in some places does awful damage as it dries out timber and ruins glue joints.

    A tip that you may find useful, is to put rusty pieces in a soak of Molasses, it does work but not sure how long it takes....the vintage car restorers use this method.

    Enjoy the process, this could be a new career if word gets out...."do what you love " etc.

    1. Hi MargaretP - that molasses trick looks amazing...I have been researching since seeing this comment - thanks for the idea.

  4. So happy to see this new blog and be able to watch the restoration process! Awesome! Thanks.

    Like I said in the last post comment - my husband has had a lot of experience with restoring old pianos, so when it comes the time to repair those cracks you talked about, he may have some tips for you.

    Meanwhile, where can I sign up to have your new posts from here delivered to my e-mail address like I did for your other blog? I don't want to miss anything.:)

    1. Hi Sue - I have added the email function to the blog now. I definitely might look you up when I get to those cracks for advice - thanks for the offer.