Category Archives: AmusmentPark

General musings on the amusement park of Delectra-jouets & cie. The blogs and pages of Julie S. Porter

Day 5, build an organ in a week

All the major parts are completed.

No photographs as I forgot to take the camera out to the workshop.

Harold made the spools and the drive wheel for the take up.

The plastic tubing was acquired.

To save time the top of the pressure box will be a single sheet of plastic.

Optimistically I wanted the bellows and pressure box connected by the end of the day. This did not happen. A few bearing blocks need to be made along with the pump sticks. Having everything else ready to assemble should make for an interesting day tomorrow. It will probably be another long day.

Day 4, Pressure box assembly

Progress at the end of the day.

The sides of the pressure box have been accurately drilled by first cutting the boards oversize, then gluing the edges together with hot glue. This glue strip is cut away after the holes are drilled.

When using Foresner bits, the large hole is drilled first. The the small hole. The cut-out for the tubes was cut with a hole saw. The waste for this will be used for the idler wheel.


The sides of the pressure box were cut using an inexpensive laser line level on a radial arm saw. This makes a precisely true cut. Shown in the second photograph is one of the case sides after planing in preparation for cutting square.

The pressure box was joined using what I think are called dado groves. This is the way Wurlitzer makes wind tight boxes. The internal frame of the bellows were also joined in this style. The laser line was also used to set these groves true.

Once all the sides are cut, they have been clamped against the small square I use for layout.

The next stage of the project will be completing the outside case and connecting the bellows and reservoir for pressure testing.

Day 3 – Make a busker organ in a week.

As Sunday was a bit of a holiday, I did not have time to update the blog. There was time to drill the valve holes then cut and fit the valve leather.

Day 3, Monday was busy covering the bellows with leather.  An alternative method of covering the bellows is shown in the gallery of today’s images.  A click on the image below should display the steps I used to cover the bellows.

While I was working on the bellows.  My friend, who made the tracker bar, made a crankshaft for this organ.

The next step will be to construct the pressure box.  The wood for the pressure box  and the case sides is made from scraps of cherry, which are glued with carpenters glue and under clamps for the night.   The next goal is to get this assembled and the bellows installed for testing.

One week busker organ is green, with wood grown in garden

Green busker

Green busker

Having completed my part in wiring a 15 rank Wurlitzer theater organ,  I wanted to make something small.  In addition to wiring the Theater organ, I also leathered most of the primary valves and much of the percussion.  This project has occupied the bulk of my time three days a week for six months.

A new goal is to have a small busker  organ playing in one week, by May 16 2009.  This was prompted by a friend making me the tracker bar out of an aluminum block as per the design of John Smith, of England.

Since I had to make some replacement pneumatics for the Wurlizer xylophone, I decided to start the busker with the bellows assembly.   Compared to covering the percussion pnuematics and the swell shade pnuematics and bumpers, the bellows are not much different.  With only three units to cover, most of the time is spent on the preparation work

When I made the Caliola,  The pipes were constructed with extra thick walls which were sawed down then planed true.  This left me with a number of 6.35mm to impossibly thin 2mm sheets of pine.  The thicker sheets were joined using a router table,  glued up and planed to 1/4 inch (6.35mm) these are now the bellows feeders and pressure box.

More importantly some time ago, a small pear tree was cut down.  This tree was an off shoot sapling from a parent tree, which did not produce tasty fruit.  It did make pears which were a bit tough.   This tree was split in half for quarter sawing while still green.  The wood has been aged some time.  The tree was somewhere around 20 to 30 years old  about 2 inches (50mm) across.  These fruit trees grow slowly and are quite dense, which makes pear a premium wood.    The languids and the caps of the pipes will be made from this wood.

A Monterrey pine tree was also trimmed a few years ago.  Some of this wood was milled for later use.  This wood will now be used for the fronts of the smaller pipes visible on the front of the instrument.

I also have a large collection of short  2 inch thick blocks of cherry wood. This has been re-sawed for gluing up to make the sides of the case and the pressure box.   By making the bellows, pressure box and case first, The pipes can be set to wind as they are constructed.

There is an estimate online that it should take 52 hours to build one of these organs.  So far about 16 hours have been spent  on the setup.


Point of infinity …

A blog has to start somewhere.  Delectra in one form or other has been online since 1995, then under the name webo.  This was mostly to document the amazing Jaquet-Droz automatons.   The ultimate goal will be to duplicate the Musician doll.   A complex task which is progressing slowly.

My interest in the automatons was an attempt to combine my interest of historical costuming and music, with puppet making.  I found I was attracted to the asthetic of Brass and Steel.  This was in the mid 1970s, when I started this project.

Since that time,  I have had to master many disciplines.   Not all directly related to automata.  This blog will detail some of these interests.   My current focus at this point of infinity, is building and working on pipe organs.  The doll plays a pipe organ after all.

Another focus of interest is early computing.  The Babbage engines, and the Antikythera device.   Most of the focus on this blog is intended to detail and document the progress, making working models of these using rapid prototyping.

Since the show must go on, plans are afoot, to re-create a 19th century marionette puppet show of Tale of Two Cities.  Progress on this will be documented here as well.

The remainder will relate to philosophy.