The Karn Organ Restoration (2010)
Back in mid-August, 2010, I was contacted by a gentleman who did not live very far from me, to see if I was interested in taking one of his reed organs off his hands, it was a piano style case. I was not interested in it, or anything for that matter, and I explained to him that if I were to be looking for anything it would need more stops on it for versatility, and something that required restoration.
As we talked on the phone he mentioned he had two other reed organs, in a shed in his back yard, but he was still hoping to keep them to restore himself one day. He said that if he changed his mind he would let me know in a few weeks.
On August 31 he called me again, and asked if I was willing to take a look at one of the organs in the shed. He didn't want anything for it, other than the condition that he would be allowed to see and hear it at least once, if I were to restore the instrument.
The organ was a D.W. Karn & Co suction reed organ, pulled out of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Stratford, Ontario, Canada over 20 years ago. It was completely disassembled when it was removed, and has been stored in an outdoor shed ever since.
So on September 2, I took a little drive to take a look. It was in better condition than I first imagined, although the finish was shot from the harsh dryness of winter and heat/humidity of the summer through the years.
Three hours later I had a pile of reed organ parts in my garage... and so the reed organ bug has bitten again.
Since this restoration, this organ was sold to a community history group that maintains the Melville White Church near Belfountain, Ontario, and it is now a permant instrument in this building.
Restoring and playing a reed organ is a wonderful hobby that can be done by almost anyone. Before you decide to restore that old organ, be sure to research the "do's and don'ts". Follow the links button on this site for more info.
The links below will take you to the story of this restoration, from the time it was brought to my garage from the garden shed to the time it was restored and brought into my house, 673 pictures total.