Woodworking on a Grand Scale
Pipe-organ builders combine 500-year-old designs with modern materials
Originally published Aug 1, 1996
Fine Woodworking’s Aimé Fraser visits pipe-organ builders, who say that their work is pretty straightforward woodworking. It’s just that there’s a lot of it. Building a pipe organ is a nearly two-year job with multiple woods that will weigh, when finished, more than 19,000 lb. and contain more than 3,800 pipes. Old, European styles of craftsmanship won’t work in the United States, because seasonal movement is three times greater in the U.S. Builders study the old pieces, but merely as guides. Fraser explains tracker keyboards and why they’re sought after, and she details the tools the builders use to create such magnificent pieces.
From Fine Woodworking #119