Antique Organs
America's Best Known Restorer of Antique Organs

Antique Organs
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Eliminating Musty Antique Smells

One of the first things I do in restoring a pump organ is completely dismantle the organ. I take everything apart. The bellows, the sound board, all the keys, the brass reeds, all the various organ parts.

Then I use a two gallon pump-up sprayer filled with denatured alcohol and I spray everything -- sometimes I even do this twice.

Of course, you don’t need to use a two gallon sprayer, you can simply use a spray bottle - it works just fine. And you also don’t necessarily need to use denatured alcohol, you can use any kind of anti microbial spray agent.

What you’re trying to do is kill any mold spores that are present. It’s the mold spoors that are casing the odor. Sometimes I’ll let everything dry out for a couple of days.

If this doesn’t work, I then seal the raw, untreated wood with any type of paint finish which will seal in the odor. There are other steps that you can try, like renting an ozone generator, but in most cases the denatured alcohol does the job.

By the way, there are any number of new products on the market that do a good job removing odors like Febreeze. Although it’s designed to be used on fabric, it does a reasonably good job on wood.

Hide Light Scratches

One of the best way's I’ve found to get rid of light scratches is with something called "padding lacquer." Just remember to apply the padding lacquer to the pad and not to the wood. And when working on any type of wood you always rub the surface in the direction of the wood grain.

I sometimes let it dry for a couple minutes, then reapply it a second time if I feel it needs it. Generally, in most cases, one pass is all it takes. This should leave a nice high gloss finish.

Warning: Potpourri

This is an important item. Just about any kind of potpourri will eat the finish right off almost any piece of furniture, even if it's still in a plastic bag! So don’t think about leaving it on any wood finish, even if it's in a cloth or plastic bag.

Warning: Sunlight

Over the years many pump organs have had their finishes damaged because of exposure to sunlight. Try and avoid placing your pump organ directly in the path of sunlight. Sunlight can fade the color of the finish; it can dry out the wood, cause cracks, loose joints, and cause laminated wood veneers to peel off.

 

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