"Boot" is the name given to the cover for the "works" of a reed pipe. It is also used for the whole assembly within the cover, which includes a block into which is mounted a shallot and tongue anchored by a wedge, and a tuning spring fitted through a hole in the block. This spring is moved up or down to vary the vibrating length of the tongue to tune the pipe (the resonator serves to help shape the tone and stabilise tuning). All the springs in this organ were original, and in good condition so I decided to retain them. They just needed a smooth-over with a fine paper, and a light greasing where they run through the blocks.
It was interesting to note the method used for ensuring the blocks were tight in the boots. The picture (left) shows how untidily it had been done.This was cleaned up and fresh packing paper applied where necessary. Some boots had loose feet, so they had to be carefully knocked out and re-glued.
This organ contains only three ranks of reeds - the saxophone and trumpet on counter-melody, and the bass trombone. All shallots are leathered and were quite tatty, so all the leather was removed and new leather glued on. The original clarinet rank had been removed to make room for violins in the modification carried out in 1921.
The resonators were all in reasonably good condition, with no splits, so they only needed a rub down and fresh varnish applied. The trumpet tops had been covered with a cloth mesh to prevent dust and flies entering and spoiling the speech. These needed a good blowing-out.
The saxophone resonators needed their metal regulating slides cleaning and making sure they moved smoothly in their slots. In general all reed pipes were in good condition, and none needed any special treatment. They were soon ready to be re-fitted into the organ, and carefully stored.
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© 2018, John Page