19th century American tracker organs have an historic importance and deserve respect for their unique quality and craftsmanship, and are worth of preservation and continued maintenance. Centuries old instruments of this type were often built together with the churches they occupy, and today remain playable despite dramatic changes of climate, without air conditioning, over many years.
When these old instruments are in good working condition the sound will be pleasing and furnish an excellent accompaniment for hymn singing. I am competent to evaluate such instruments as to their authenticity and originality, if possible, in comparison with existing organs by the same builder, and can provide estimates on needed repairs, or complete restoration. Organs that are still playable in part may require on overall restoration rather then just cleaning, in order to restore full sound quality, to improve the action of the keys, and prevent further damage.
My aim is always to restore each instrument as closely as possible to its original condition. Any necessary changes to the instrument are made with no potential damage to the original construction, and can be later eliminated, if desired. Each restoration includes, first, an examination of the major organ parts, starting from the blower and its location. Ideally, the blower should take the ambient ( air-conditioned ) air with no change in temperature, and should operate quietly. Next, the functioning of the windchest, the keyboard, and the tracker mechanisms will be checked, and mechanical parts that are not working will be repaired, or corrected with materials authentic to the instrument. It is normal that all the leather employed in windchests and wooden pipes will have deteriorated over the years, and will often have to be replaced with new. For all restoration work I use hot glue in order to facilitate later maintenance.
All organ pipes will be restored to original condition. Bent or dented pipes will be hammered out, and resoldered, if necessary. Such pipe repair is essential so that the tuning will remain stable in the future. Once restored and re-installed in the church, the organ pipes will be voiced in accordance with their character, and each rank will be adjusted to sound harmoniously with its counterparts. I pay great attention to this process so as to make the dynamics of the instrument appropriate to the space of the church, while respecting the historical character of the instrument.