Church Organ Grill Repair

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Project by jack1 posted 09-02-2012 10:53 PM 975 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


13409 posts in 2380 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


2008 posts in 3066 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

14012 posts in 2144 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 Eric in Florida.'s profile

Eric in Florida.

3750 posts in 2614 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.

-- Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs ~ Henry Ford

View MonteCristo's profile


2098 posts in 1227 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


1983 posts in 2503 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 1349 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


13347 posts in 2711 days

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

Nice work, Jack!

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