For the DEMAJO RESIDENCE ORGAN, Hammond, Louisiana

This is a special visual documentary detailing the construction of direct electric action pipe chests, produced in my home workshop. The tutorial details the construction of a 61-note chest designed to hold the metal tibia rank, however, all chests on the organ follow the same basic design. The chests are constructed of 1 X 8 and 2 X 8 Poplar lumber, because I have determined through experience that Poplar has ideal grain and cellular construction to prevent wind-leaks through the cellular matrix of the lumber itself. Peterson electric valves were chosen for use throughout the project because I also determined, through experimentation, that Peterson's valves are more reliable as far as opening and closing against pressure, than were the other brands of valves I tested. These single-rank unit chests can be used in a chamber where appearance is not important, or they can be finished as furniture and installed exposed in a room where they will be seen,.
DISCLAIMER: The author of this site wants you to know that he is 100% in favor of the preservation and correct restoration of historic pipe organs and their related components. These projects are not intended as a guide for the repair of an existing theatre organ toy counter. They were developed for the use of persons who wish to add a toy counter to an organ that either was not originally equipped with one, or in the case of virtual organs, where an owner desires to have a mechanical "moving parts" devide that is visible or usable on an electronic organ. Under no circumstances do we advocate the use of these devices, or the application of this technology as a means of retrofitting an otherwise working or repairable theatre organ original component.
Click images to see enlarged photos
First step in the process is to prepare the toe board. Pipe placement is drawn up from an actual placement fitting of pipes to the area of the toeboard. Next, holes are drilled under the location of each pipe. A heated stone is used to bore the "V" shaped pipe toe holes
The wind box is constructed next. 1x6 Poplar is used for construction. Toe board is then fitted to chest body. A plane is used to clear any irregularities from the surfaces, and then the board is cut on the sides and ends to fit the wind box. One of the common mistakes made in chest construction is failure to insure a smooth and well sealed underside to the toe board. If there are irregularities in the toe board under-surface, the valves will not seat correctly and ciphers will result.
Once the toe board is cut and sanded to fit the wind box, holes in toe board are used as a guide to drill and insert the special threaded brass inserts into the chest.
Drilled toe board reflecting pipe placement. This sixty-one note rank is built side-by-side on a dual section chest. This is done to produce a more aesthetically appealing layout in the event that the chest is used for exposed pipe work.
Two-section chest showing inside construction and air passages in wind box.
Detail of gasket installation. A cork gasket is used on both the toe board and bottom board mounting surfaces.
Another view of chest interior construction
Wiring is brought to chest exterior through air-tight compression fittings. Flange at top right is for the air supply line. Since these chests are for church organ application, there is only a wind connection on one side. For theatre organ use, a second flange would be installed on the opposite side to accommodate the tremulant line.
Basic design of the toe board (shown inverted) has Peterson magnet pallets installed over 3/8" and 1/4" drilled ports.
Special tool, purchased from Peterson Electro-Musical, permits perfect fit of valve on toe board underside. The Device marks screw hole locations and even punches indentations for drilling.
The special Peterson tool for placing electric valves on chest. Tool marks and punches screw hole and also produces indentation for locking tab
Here, the magnets are secured to the toe board underside by means of 7/8" wood screws. Note copper braid used to provide frame ground to magnets. Each magnet has negative side of coil bonded to the frame.
Another view of magnets being installed.
Completion of magnet placement. Next step will be to wire the components. In these views, the toe board and rack board are pre-drilled, test fitted to the chest box and pipe work, and varnished. material on surface above is a light coat of talcum powder intended for keeping the pallets from sticking to the newly varnished wood.
Close-up view of the Peterson magnet assembly installed on the toe board underside.
Method of wiring positive connections to chest magnets. By coiling the wires, there is less chance of a wiring getting broken from the turbulencee or air in the chest.
Wiring completed. Toe board is now ready for gasket installation.
On the second chest section, the valve placement is different, and this requires a different method of wiring. An overhead wiring trestle was constructed to support the conductors and keep them clear of moving valve parts.
Spotting and drilling rack board holes has always been an issue for me. This home-made tool has drastically simplified that task     This is how the tool is used to spot a pilot hole for fostner drilling of a pipe hole in the rack board.
Finished view of pipe chest from two different angles. Note specially constructed frame designed so that chest can be dropped into frame during assembly