Church Organ Grill Repair

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Project by jack1 posted 09-02-2012 10:53 PM 1231 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We have an old wooden church that was moved to the current church grounds that dates from the 1860’s. We now use it for a wedding chapel and morning mass. Inside is this very old walnut case foot-pump organ that is still used for services. I was asked to repair the sound grill if possible.

The problem was that it was not only old, dry, slightly warped walnut but also very thin. As you can see, it was cut with I assume was a hand fret saw when it was made. The pieces had been lying around for a few years so I wasn’t sure they would come together.

Fortunately 99% of the wood was there and fit for the most part like a puzzle. I did it in two sittings on the same day and had it back on the organ that night.

Both sides of the grill had been broken out so that there was about a dozen pieces altogether. I used Tite Bond III and a bunch of little clamps (can’t have to many or different kinds of clamps…) to line up the bits as well as hold them together for the recommended 30 minutes. Great stuff with a nice long open time to shift the bits till they were flush. Not that anyone is supposed to have liquid near this instrument but the glue is water proof too.

All the joints came together and only if you do a really close inspection can you see a few of the cracks.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

8 comments so far

View patron's profile


13630 posts in 3489 days

#1 posted 09-02-2012 10:59 PM

looks real nice jack

outside of a few glue lines
it is new

maybe some brown shoe polish
would hide them

good work

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View jack1's profile


2111 posts in 4176 days

#2 posted 09-02-2012 11:05 PM

If there had been no varnish on the piece, the lines would look like the grain of the wood. Only one chip is evident and I will try your idea. THanks.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21321 posts in 3254 days

#3 posted 09-03-2012 12:38 AM

Great job, Jack. It looks like back to the original !

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4191 posts in 3724 days

#4 posted 09-03-2012 04:09 AM

Nice work Jack. You gave that old organ some new life.
That is a beautiful old piece.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2337 days

#5 posted 09-03-2012 04:53 AM

Big improvement ! Must have been a test of patience !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3613 days

#6 posted 09-03-2012 06:09 PM

Great SAVE! I too like the shoe polish idea.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Willardz's profile


59 posts in 2458 days

#7 posted 09-05-2012 12:47 AM

Nice job!

-- I have Carrie, food, shelter, and wood to turn. What else do I need?

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3821 days

#8 posted 09-05-2012 12:58 PM

Nice work, Jack!

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