Introduction: Reed Organ/Harmonium Restoration

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In this instructable i will walk you through what i did to make my reed organ look good externally.

I fixed it inside as well but since i did not take pictures along the way, and because its an old Norwegian harmonium it differs quite a bit from other types of harmonium around the world, i will not go through the process of fixing the mechanics internally.

About the Harmonium: This is and old Norwegian Harmonium from Vestres organ and piano factory from Haramsøy in Norway, the factory opened in 1888 and closed in 1970, I got this for free by showing i could play it. It was in really nice condition when i got it, it was being stored inside so the damage done to it was minimal.

Step 1: Taking It Apart

This step can be quite challenging, not because its particularly hard but because all the screws are different shapes and sizes,so what i did was to have small glasses with a note to where the screws would go. For example you can see the plate in front of the bellows is removed in the second picture, i would store those particular screws in a separate glass. It makes the re-assembling a whole lot easier.

In the 3rd picture i had removed the plate in front of the bellows, the lid, the back-plate and the cover for the reeds.

Step 2: Cleaning

After the previous step i cleaned everything inside, the organ probably contained 100 generations of dead spiders so this was definitely the worst step.

What is really important when cleaning old wood like this is to use a mild soap designed for wood.

I also fixed the mechanics inside and the reeds, but that will maybe become a tutorial for another time.

Step 3: Painting

I didn't bother to paint it traditionally, instead i used CRC spray paint, its industrial for outdoor use. I always use this spray, i chose black matte paint as i prefer it over shiny. Painted the sides of the organ as you can see, i was going for a boxy kind of chest appearance and decided to remove the cover for the bellows as i thought i looked much cooler.

Always use a mask when you use spray paint!!!

Step 4: Wood Finish

I used a mahogany wood finish as i just love the warmth of it and the color, i bought a lot of it so i oiled everything but the sides, even the bellows!

As you can see in the picture it is quite the contrast before and after i used the mahogany oil.

Step 5: Details

I bought some really nice corner protectors online in antique, used these on all the corners.

I bought 2 belts from eBay, distressed them by painting them bronze and then lightly spray a tiny tiny coat of black over it making them look old, i was actually quite impressed with the result myself. I used upholstery tacks with antique finish along the belt to give it a vintage look.

I also bought a simple latch since the original lock was broken.

The stops names were missing, it took quite some research to find them, i printed them out, stained them with tea and laminated them for protection, the staining really gives it a nice old look.

And Voilà my treasure chest/vintage organ was done. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions be sure to let me know in the comments.

Before and After Contest 2017

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Before and After Contest 2017

Untouchable Challenge

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Untouchable Challenge