The restoration of very early organs allows us to see clearly
which materials have managed to withstand the
ravages of time.
In restorations the choice of materials is adapted to the existing materials. When building a new organ, however, we make our own choices, based on the same principles of durability.
These days there is also the question of sustainability. Ivory from elephants' tusks is no longer used for the white keys in new keyboards. Fortunately bone is a good alternative. For restoration purposes, legally available mammoth ivory is sometimes employed.
Most of the wood we use is of European origin and meets the demands of the FSC certificate. The oak trees are selected on the spot before felling and stored for us in the form of planks.
A long period of natural drying follows. Before the wood is used, all bark and sapwood is removed because it could be prone to woodworm in the long run. Left-over wood is used in the workshops for heating the melting pot for metal organ parts.
The metal used for organ pipes, lead and pewter, are nowadays only obtainable in refined form. In order to achieve the effect of natural impurity again, traces of other metals such as pewter, antimony, bismuth, copper and silver are added during smelting, so that the casting will have the same durability as in the past.
Until 2008 uw usually cast metal for organs on cloth. For the project in Hamburg we started casting on sand, and the large surplus value showed during the voicing. Another working that is important for the structure of the metal is the hammering of the organ metal.
There is another mechanism that plays a part in the last steps to top quality.
When the pipe makers and organ builders have lovingly attended to all the details, have used the best materials and have been passionate about their work, the voicers acquire wings allowing them to excel themselves.
We intend that the love that has gone into the exercise of our profession should inspire the organist who ultimately has to bring the instrument to life.