While of no interest to most chapter members in itself, I'd like to present my restoration of this 150 year-old S.D. & H.W. Smith melodeon because first of all I'm damn proud of it, and secondly because it illustrates some facets of restoration and repair techniques.
When first presented this little organ was a bushel basket of kindling wood, and pretty unprepossessing kindling at that. My opinion is that it spent 50 years in a leaky barn somewhere. This appeared to be such a hopeless case that I wanted nothing to do with it and gave the owner an estimate calculated to put her off the project altogether. As happens, this backfired and she immediately accepted the estimate. So I was fated to do my best to rescue this unfortunate instrument from the ravages of time. - Tom Harr
A brief summary of repairs includes: replication of about 30 % of one leg; welding one broken leg hinge; making replacements for eight missing keys; re-veneering the edges of the lid and case; flattening buckled lid and case veneer; making a new box-bellows starting from the top-board and a couple of scraps of the cardboard ribs to indicate the span; making new brass hinges; and refelting and leathering all the pallet valves. Rather late in the day I figured out that I could have turned over the worst damaged leaf of the lid, plugged the screw holes and saved a lot of trouble since it had waves in the veneer about ¾ in. high. That part of the lid would never show. However, I injected some diluted hide glue solution under it and steam-ironed it flat. The worst was the finish since the old french polish is hard to remove and had to be picked out of the bead molding with a knife point. Refinishing rosewood is a bit dodgy, besides, since if it is not sealed you may find sticky patches where the oil in the wood has interfered with the finish properly curing. Regrettably, the photos of the process of drafting, cutting out, and mortising the replacement sections of the keyboard are not to be found. Leveling the keyboard was an endless fiddling business since the pitmans which support the keys rest on leather and felt on the valve and a cloth cushion on the bottom of the key. The valves can shift on their seats and the pitmans can rotate, so things may not return to their original positions when a key is pressed and released.