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Restoration of the ex-Irvin's Marenghi

9 Installing violin chest

The violin chest straddles the saxophone chests, with its puff-rail "hanging" below. The rail was mounted first, and tubed-up to the nipples sitting just in front of the trombone boots. There are guide pegs mounted on the saxophone chests to aid positioning. The advantage of this method is it allows the violin chest to be removed without the need to disconnect any action tubing.

Now came the task of positioning the violin chest over the puff-rail in exactly the right position in relation to the back ends of the levers. Not an easy job as it was impossible to see. So I decided to fit wooden dowels at each end, carefully calculated to locate into holes drilled in the underside of the chest itself. I couldn't rely on the original holes for the mounting screws, as these had been plugged during the restoration process.

Once the chest was in position and its trunking connected, it was thoroughly tested on the wind, tweaking the lower springs as necessary. Risers and veneers (blocks to take the pipe feet) were added in readiness for the pipes themselves which were still being restored in London.

At this point the trombone resonators were re-installed. Working in the reverse order of removal, the pipes were installed one by one, fitting them into position and using brackets to hold them in place. As they wouldn't be fully accessible later each was checked on the wind and tuned once in position, to make sure all was well. Having done this the fretwork panel could be installed. This panel is decorated with palms, and suspended from the roof. It separates the front pipework from the back. However, subsequent to fitting, a couple of splits appeared. Fortunately, they were not easily visible after all pipes and fa├žade had been installed, but it was a clear indication that my fears about the lorry's condition were well-founded.

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